Like everything in a puppy’s life there are many firsts. New skills such as walking on lead takes time and many repetitions to learn so start as soon as you can!
First things first is to introduce your puppy to their collar, lead and harness. I recommend all puppies wear a harness as their necks are very delicate and can become damaged if they pull on the lead against a collar.
*ID Tags– All dogs must wear an ID tag as required by law when walking. A microchip is not enough. Their tag should have your contact number on and any other information you would like to include. I don’t like adding their name, as in the event of a theft, if the thief knows your dog’s name they are more likely to go willingly with them. You can attach their ID tag directly to their harness or they can wear a collar and tag and still wear a harness for walks.
Before your puppy is old enough to go out for walks you can still get them used to wearing a collar, lead and harness.
How? Go at your puppy’s pace.
Some puppies are nervous of new things so go slowly.
1. Place the equipment on the floor and let them check it out.
2. Hold it up and let them come and investigate.
3. Give them a treat when they are calm and confident. Pair praise and treats with the equipment so they learn a positive association.
4. Let them wear their equipment around the house for short periods initially.
5. Praise when the collar or harness goes on.
6. Praise when it comes off.
7. If you use a harness that goes over the head hold a treat on the other side, so they put their head through willingly and receive a treat on the other side.
8. Repeat this all many times and slowly extend the time they wear their equipment.
9. Attach the lead. Praise. Take it off. Praise.
10. Let them walk around the house trailing it on the ground. Praise.
11. Walk around the house holding the lead and then the garden in short bursts. Praise.
12. Let all members of your family try this and all give your puppy praise and reward with treats.
13. A lot of puppies jump up and bite the lead. This is normal. When they do, stop still.
14. When your puppy lets go of the lead give them a treat and praise.
15. Start walking again.
One of the main reasons puppies don’t like to walk is that they don’t like their equipment. It feels unfamiliar and awkward. Get them used to it as soon as you can and make it a fun experience so they can get on with the real business of exploring the world and socialising with other dogs. With all these steps your puppy will be ready to go out into the world for walks as soon as they have had their vaccinations and the real fun can begin!
For more help with your puppy’s socialisation call us on 01603 927272 to find out about our socialisation group walks and puppy play groups.