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How to lead train a dog

What’s the best way to teach your new puppy to walk on a lead? We’ve got it covered with our top tips for how to lead train a dog.

What’s the best way to teach your new puppy to walk on a lead? We’ve got it covered with our top tips for how to lead train a dog.

Written by
Mubina Pirmohamed
Insurance expert
4 min read
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Training a puppy to walk on a lead

Training your new puppy to walk on a lead can be one of the biggest challenges of dog ownership. Worry not, though. With these handy tips, your dog will be doing it right in no time:

  • Practise first
    Before you go out in public, get your puppy used to wearing a lead inside your house.
  • Use lots of treats
    Give your dog a treat when you first pop the lead on. Then keep the treats with you and use them to reward your puppy for good behaviour when you’re out and about.
  • Don’t lose your temper
    If your puppy isn’t doing as they’re told, remember that they’re just a baby. Telling them off doesn’t work as they won’t understand why you’re angry and it will only make them anxious.
  • Never pull on the lead
    If your puppy is tugging away from you, coax them towards you with a treat or toy. Don’t pull the lead as this could hurt your dog’s neck. 
  • Be kind
    Remember that a dog’s normal pace is twice as quick as yours, so reward your puppy for walking slowly – it doesn’t come naturally to them. 

How to stop your puppy pulling on the lead

Puppies are naturally excitable and, when you’re out and about, your dog’s likely to want to rush off and explore. Here are some pointers to help you stop your dog pulling on the lead: 

  • If they start pulling, stop walking - your dog needs to learn that if they want to carry on walking, the lead must be loose.  
  • Be patient - it will take a while to teach your dog to slow down (you’ll need to allow a lot more time for walks). But stick with it and you’ll get there. Give your puppy lots of praise when they don’t pull. 
  • Don’t punish pulling - just be consistent and reward your puppy with treats when they walk by your side. 

How to choose the right dog collar

Before your puppy takes to the streets, they’ll need to have a lead and collar. Here are a few things to think about when buying these: 

  • Buy a collar that fits your puppy now - rather than one they’ll grow into.
  • Give them a treat when you first put the collar on - so they’ll associate it with good things.  
  • To begin with, limit the amount of time your puppy wears the collar – build up gradually.  
  • Take your puppy’s collar off when you’re at home initially - so it doesn’t get caught on the furniture. 

Buying the right dog lead

Is a lead or a harness better for a dog? There are advantages to both, so it often comes down to personal preference.  

The main advantage of a harness is that it’s easier on your dog’s neck. Harnesses can also give you more control over your puppy – making them easier to lift, if that’s an issue.  

Traditional leads tend to give you more control over pulling or jumping up.  

Whether a lead or harness is best will depend on your dog. Some hate putting their head through the harness, others aren’t so bothered by it.

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