How to Teach Your Puppy to Walk on a Leash

Many people believe that dogs are born with the ability to walk on a leash, but this skill is acquired. It’s an essential skill to teach, and you’ll appreciate it whenever you take your dog for a walk.

Introduce the collar or harness and leash to your puppy. Allow your puppy to wear his collar and leash in the house for short periods while you play with him and give him treats. Because collar-leash time represents food and fun, your puppy should enjoy it.

Make a Cue

Introduce your puppy to a sound cue that indicates “food is on the way.” Some people like to click and treat, while others use words like “yes” or cluck their tongues. The method is the same regardless of which you use: Make the sound while your puppy is on a leash and collar in a quiet, distraction-free area. Reward your puppy with a treat when he turns toward you and looks at you. After a few repetitions, your puppy will look at you and come to you for the treat.

Bring Your Puppy to You

Back up a few paces while he’s on his way to you, still wearing the leash and collar, and then reward him when he arrives. Continue the progression until your puppy comes to you and walks a few paces with you after hearing the cue noise. Keep in mind that puppies have a short attention span, so keep your sessions brief and end them when your puppy is still eager to do more rather than when he is mentally exhausted.

Practice Indoors

Now that your puppy understands how to approach you take a few steps in a room with little distraction. Feeling and seeing the leash around him will be difficult enough. As your puppy becomes accustomed to coming to you while wearing a leash, reward him with treats and praise.

Take it Outside

Finally, you’re ready to test your puppy’s abilities in the great outdoors. This step will present new challenges because all of the sounds, smells, and sights your puppy encounters will be intriguing and novel to him. Be patient and take short walks at first. While on a walk, if your puppy appears to be about to lunge toward something or to become distracted (you’ll notice this because you’ll be keeping your eyes on him at all times), make your cue sound and move a few steps away. Then give him a treat for following you.

Troubleshooting with Leashes

Even if your puppy is learning to walk nicely on a leash, you’re bound to run into issues as he grows older, visits new places, and encounters new distractions. You should teach him loose-leash walking because it is more comfortable for both of you!

If your dog starts pulling in the opposite direction:

Transform yourself into “a tree.” Hold your breath and refuse to move until your dog returns to you. You should not yank or jerk the leash, and you should not drag your dog along with you. Alternative training tools for pulling dogs include front-hook harnesses and head halters.

If your dog lunges:

Be proactive if your dog is chasing something on a walk. Try to redirect your attention with a treat and increase the distance between your dog and the target. Stay alert and prepare as your dog’s target comes closer. This behavior is common in herding breeds, but any dog can be startled by something new.

If your dog barks at other dogs while out for a walk:

Some dogs have a habit of barking at other dogs while out for a walk, typically due to a lack of exercise. Ensure your dog receives the appropriate mental and physical stimulation for his age and breed. If this is still an issue, follow the same steps as if your dog was lunging, as described above: create distance and offer treats before he begins to bark so that every time he sees another dog, he becomes accustomed to turning his attention to you.

You’ll gradually reduce the number of treats and troubleshooting that your puppy requires during a walk, but it’s a good idea to keep some on hand at all times so you can reinforce good leash-walking behavior when needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What age should a dog be able to walk on a leash?

Leash training a puppy at ten weeks is ideal, but you can begin as a few weeks after you get your puppy accustomed to their new home. Your puppy should be aware of when they need to go outside to urinate or defecate by this point.

How long does it take to leash train a dog?

Puppies are easy and can probably be fully leash-trained in a month, but dogs in the “teenage” stage or older usually require a more extended training period.

Which side should a dog walk on?

When it comes to which side the dog goes on, show and hunting dogs are trained to stay on their human’s left side, but it doesn’t matter for most dogs. However, experts recommend that you choose a side — left or right — and stick to it so that the dog doesn’t trip you going back and forth.

Is it OK to let your dog walk in front of you?

If your dog needs extra management and supervision during walks, he will do his best walking directly next to you at all times. In this case, the dog should be given time to explore either before or after the walk.

Tips for Potty Training Your New Puppy

Bringing a new puppy home presents new challenges of teaching where and when to use the restroom. Until the pups are old enough to follow their mother outside to relieve themselves, mother dogs keep the den area clean of urine and feces. Because this is a natural part of a dog’s early training, you can teach the basics of potty training to a puppy as young as two months old and have success!

Here are a few tips to consider during the first week of potty training:

Plan ahead of time

Your dog requires consistency throughout their house training, so you or someone who is committed to the process should always be present. Make a plan for where you will take your dog to relieve themself. If an outdoor area is not easily accessible from the house, they will become distracted on their way to the potty spot. If you live in an apartment and want your dog to use training pads, choose a surface such as tile where any misses will not damage the flooring. Invest in cleaning products that will remove odors if an accident occurs so that they are aware not to return to the same location. Never leave your puppy unattended for long periods of time. Create a schedule; reinforce crate training to potty training so they always feel confident when they have to go. 

It’s time to go potty.

Set an alarm every 2 hours for the first part of the day for potty training. Take them to their potty spot, point to it, and tell them to go. Use the same command and gesture every time, so they know what to expect. Praise them when they produce results or encourage good behavior with a treat. Time your outings so that you take them out five to thirty minutes after eating or drinking a substantial amount of water. Take them out the last thing before bedtime. When your puppy needs to go out at night, he will whine or move around restlessly. Be sure to be attentive to their call. They won’t be able to hold their potty all night, so be prepared to take the dog out if they cry in the middle of the night. Reward your puppy for pottying outside and they’ll be back in the playpen ready to sleep in no time.  

Look for the Signs

By the end of the day, you will have a good idea of how long your pup can go without going to the potty. The rest of the week entails being consistent so that the routine becomes second nature by the end of seven days. When your dog is with you, keep an eye out for signs that he needs to relieve themself. Actions such as whining, circling, or pacing are good indicators. Other than leaving the room or going over to a corner, some puppies give little indication that they need to relieve themselves. Keeping the pup in a confined space, such as a crate or play pen, usually results in whining or a sharp bark once the pup realizes you’ll respond by taking them outside to their favorite spot.

When Mishaps Occur

They would have enough control of their bodily functions by six months to adjust gradually to longer periods. The more frequently the dog needs to relieve themself, the younger he is. Don’t yell, poke their nose, or swat at them if there is an accident between outings. Creating negative associations can cause them to become confused and hide bodily waste around the house. If you notice squatting while you’re watching, firmly say “no” and hurry them to an outside spot. To help reduce odors, clean up immediately after each accident with an enzymatic cleaner. 

Reinforce good behavior with lots of praise and treats, but don’t punish the puppy for misbehaving. Once the puppy has had an accident and moved on, they will not understand the reason behind the punishment- this is an ineffective training method.

Our utmost responsibility to both puppy and new puppy parents at Furry Babies is that you go home prepared to care for the new life you bring into your family and potty training is no exception. We walk with you through the fundamentals of housebreaking and are always available to assist with any issues or questions about training. We want to ensure everyone has a positive experience with their new puppy!

Fun Games to Play with Your Puppy

Having a good selection of puppy games on hand is a lifesaver for those times when all your little one wants to do is play, play, play! While having a variety of the best puppy toys on hand will go down well with your puppy, it’s also nice to mix things up and add some variety to your dog’s day.

One of the most important things for a pet parent is learning to play with their puppy. Playtime is essential because it gives your growing dog the physical and mental stimulation it needs to be happy and healthy.

Playing with your puppy daily is fun for them, but it also burns calories, makes them stronger and more resilient, and sharpens their young minds. Playtime is also a great way to keep your puppy entertained and out of mischief.

But what games should you play? We’ve compiled a list of our favorite puppy games. Let the games begin!

The Name Game

Your puppy’s name will be one of the first things they must learn. That may seem simple enough, but learning generalized behaviors is difficult for young puppies. In this case, “generalized behavior” refers to your puppy responding to his name in the same way at home or at a dog park with you. In general, you want your puppy’s behaviors to be generalizable. You don’t want him jumping up on your guests at home, and you certainly don’t want him jumping on strangers at the park. He should never “jump up,” no matter where he goes.

However, where puppies learn to do or not do certain behaviors can become associated with where they learn the rule. When you call your puppy’s name at home, for example, he will readily respond, but when you go to the park, he will ignore you.

This is why we recommend you make it a habit to play the name game with your puppy. Start slow and warm up to your puppy. Make this an experience to remember. Use your puppy’s kibble during feeding. Sit on the ground with the puppy and say their name. When they look at you, give them a piece of their kibble. This makes dinner time fun and filled with training. Play the same name game outside on walks. Don’t forget the treats! Call your puppy’s name and give them a treat the second they look at you and continue that throughout your walk. These sweet experiences will bring a closer bond between you and your puppy.

The Shadow Game

Nothing beats taking your dog for an off-leash walk on a hike or in a dog park. This is a great long-term goal to work toward, and if you start now while your puppy is young, you have a good chance of having an obedient dog who will heel when necessary later in life. The key is to teach your puppy the rules and benefits of walking next to you when he is off-leash. The best way to do this is to reward him with the shadow game.

Begin at home in a quiet area with your puppy on a leash. Prepare some treats to reward him and begin walking around in any direction. Give your puppy a treat whenever he catches up to you. If your puppy gets ahead, turn around and throw a treat on the ground. Walk ahead a few paces while your puppy eats the treat, but be prepared for him to catch up to you and give you another treat when he does. Go forward, backward, sideways, fast, slow, and in any direction you want. Your puppy should be following you like a shadow the entire time.

If you play this game at home regularly, you will eventually be able to remove your puppy’s leash and see how he does. You will notice they would show more interest in following you like a shadow than sprinting away, but this will take time, so be patient. As they get more comfortable, they will also gain a greater deal of self-control. It’s now time to enjoy the outdoors. Be aware, when you try it in public the dog must be on leash so you set them up for success. There are many distractions outdoors and safety always comes first.

Play Hide and Seek

Hide and seek is a fun game for your puppy that allows him to practice using his senses of smell, hearing, and logic to find you. This could come in handy if you get separated on a hike later in life.

We recommend starting the game inside first, then moving it outside if you have a large backyard with hiding places. You’ll eventually be able to play this game in a larger outdoor area, but you may find that the interior of your home offers the best hiding spots.

Make sure to have treats on hand for the first game. When you start walking away from your puppy to hide, keep your puppy in sight and don’t go too far. If you “hide” the first time, it’s clear where you are. You can hide once he understands the game by going to a different floor of your house and tucking yourself out of sight.


Having a friend “play” with your puppy can be beneficial while you hide. Call your puppy when you’re out of sight, and reward him when he finds you. When your dog understands the game’s concept, expand the hiding places to include the entire family so he can find each of you individually.

We wish you a wonderful new year bonding with your pet! 


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