How to Train Your Puppy to Walk on a Leash

Your puppy is full of energy, but teaching them to walk on a leash is difficult. You should train your puppy to walk on a leash for their protection, others’ safety, and public behavior. Here are some tips on how you can train your puppy to walk on a leash. It will enhance your puppy safety on public walks and makes them more fun.

How to train your puppy to walk on a leash

Prepare for Leash Training

Before training your puppy to walk on a leash, make sure they like their collar or harness. Make sure your puppy’s collar or harness fits well and is comfortable. Choose a light, comfortable collar or harness for your puppy and a short, lightweight leash. Allow your puppy to wear their new collar or harness about the house for brief periods, gradually increasing the time. For a good association, give them treats while wearing the collar or harness. Treats are also important for training. Choose easy-to-carry goodies your puppy loves. This rewards good leash training behavior.

How to Leash Train Your Puppy

Successful leash training involves patience, persistence, and proven methods to teach puppies to follow your directions. Basic leash training methods:

Start early

Early leash training is beneficial. Young puppies are more responsive to learning new abilities, making them excellent for leash training. Start with brief, positive sessions to get your puppy used to the collar and harness. Starting early makes training easier and instills discipline and routine in your puppy, creating the groundwork for a well-behaved adult dog. In the beginning, patience and persistence are crucial.

Learning Your Puppy’s Leash Training Equipment

Before leash training, make sure your puppy likes the gear. Let your puppy try the collar, leash, and harness stress-free. Put these items near their feeding or sleeping area for them to sniff and play with. Wear the collar and leash briefly during playtime to associate them with joyful events. Attach the leash to the collar without holding it and watch your puppy drag it. This makes leash walking easier as they adjust to it. Your puppy should see leash training equipment as non-threatening to start well.

Start Indoors

Starting leash training in a comfortable indoor area will help your puppy focus on learning. Find a quiet room to train your puppy without interruptions. Hold the leash and use treats or their favorite toy to get your puppy to walk with you. Training sessions should last 5-10 minutes to keep your puppy’s attention. Walk them around the room and gradually add commands like “come” and “stay”. Positive support, such as praise or rewards, for good leash behavior or command obedience strengthens these good habits early in training. Indoor learning builds confidence in you and your puppy before moving to more challenging outdoor conditions.

Practice Walking

After learning to walk on a leash indoors, take your puppy outside. Start with a few distractions and raise the task as they develop. Practice consistently and carefully introducing your puppy to new situations. When your puppy walks calmly beside you without pulling or getting distracted, reward him with treats. Increase walk length and distance as attention improves. To preserve your puppy’s attention and energy, keep training sessions short, especially at first. Consistency and patience will teach your puppy to follow your leash, making outside outings fun for both of you.

Incorporate Cue Words

After learning how to walk your puppy on a leash, use cue words to improve communication and responsiveness. Simple cue words guide your pet on leash. Guide their motions with “stop,” “go,” “left,” and “right” commands. Encourage your puppy to follow these commands with a happy, pleasant voice and treats or praise when they do. Use the same terms for each activity to help your puppy comprehend, making walks more fun and less chaotic. Introduce cue words to improve leash etiquette and strengthen your bond with your puppy through conversation.

Pull Stop

Leash training is difficult for many pet owners because their pets pull. Stop your puppy’s pulling early to avoid a habit. Stop walking and remain motionless when your pet pulls. Do not pull the leash or drag your puppy back. Instead, wait until your puppy stops pulling and the leash relaxes. Praise your puppy and stroll after loosening the leash. This method teaches your puppy that pulling won’t speed them up. The opposite—it will halt their advancement. The concept that walking calmly by your side is preferred is reinforced. Repetition will teach your puppy how to walk on a leash.

Reward Good Behavior

Rewarding good behavior during leash training helps your puppy stay on track. When your puppy walks beautifully beside you, follows a cue word, or ceases pulling on the leash, reward them with a treat, praise, or pat. Your puppy should receive the incentive immediately after exhibiting the desired behavior to help them associate their activity with the favorable outcome. Changing rewards might also keep your puppy interested in training. After successful training, playtime or a favorite toy can be as helpful as treats. Remember, regular positive reinforcement builds a polite and understanding relationship between you and your puppy, making every walk a learning and bonding opportunity.

Choose a Peaceful Place

Choose a peaceful place to walk your puppy outside when you first start. With fewer distractions, your puppy can focus on obeying your directions and walking without pulling. A calm residential street, a hidden park corner, or even your backyard if it’s large enough are good locations. The less people, dogs, and loud noises, the better your puppy can focus on training. As your puppy gets better at leash walking and following orders, you can introduce more exciting areas to help them adapt. The goal is to develop a firm foundation in a learning-focused environment.

Handling Outdoor Distractions

After your puppy is comfortable walking calmly in quiet, less distracting areas, gradually introduce them to more challenging outdoor situations. Start with moderately distracting areas like a park with a few people or dogs away. Treats and favorite toys encourage your puppy for keeping calm and attentive despite distractions. Use your cue words to direct them through new sights and noises, rewarding their obedience with praise. This time must be handled slowly, as each puppy adjusts at their own rate. By progressively increasing distraction, you’re helping your puppy adapt to diverse situations while retaining good leash manners, making future outings fun for both of you.

Have Patience and Persist

Time, patience, and effort are needed for leash training. Your puppy may have good and bad days, so be consistent and don’t get frustrated. Maintain brief training sessions and terminate them positively, regardless of results. Your puppy will learn to walk gently on a leash with practice and repetition, making outdoor activities more fun for both of you. Don’t give up if your puppy takes longer to learn—every puppy learns differently. Be optimistic and encourage them as they improve.

For comprehensive insights on the process of puppy teething, including recognizing the signs and what to expect when their teeth begin to fall out, explore our detailed guide at What Do Puppy Teeth Look Like When They Fall Out?.

Troubleshooting or Common Leash Training Challenges

Your patience may be tested during leash training despite your best efforts. If your puppy keeps pulling on the leash after halting and waiting, switch directions quickly. This can surprise your puppy and get them to focus on you, teaching them to follow your moves. When puppies get aroused or disturbed by outdoor distractions, desensitization may help. By gradually increasing distraction time while maintaining control and comfort, you can assist your puppy adjust to other settings without overreacting.

Encourage your puppy to move during walks with food or their favorite toy. Do not tug or drag them, as this might cause leash and walking issues. Use positivity to get them to walk with you. As each puppy is unique, what works for one may not work for another. Try numerous methods and be patient. The key is consistency, positive reward, and accepting that troubleshooting is part of training.


Leash training your puppy deepens your bond and assures safe, fun walks. Train your puppy to walk on a leash is crucial for safety and fun outdoors. Consistency, patience, and adapting to your puppy’s learning style are key to leash training success. Celebrate minor victories and approach training sessions with joy and encouragement. By doing so, you’re training your puppy to walk well on a leash and building lifelong trust and respect. Remember that every puppy learns at their own rate, and the time and effort you put into these early stages will lead to many joyful adventures together.


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