When to Start Leash Training a Puppy: Tips and Techniques

Leash training is crucial for a well-behaved, confident dog. When to start leash training a puppy is vital for early good walking skills. Start training a puppy to use a leash, collar, or harness at 8 to 10 weeks old. Teaching your puppy to walk by your side, accept orders, and behave appropriately on walks begins with this stage. Starting early builds a deep bond with your puppy and establishes basic behavioral skills, making future training sessions easier. This blog post will discuss leash training to help you and your dog enjoy walking.

When to start leash training a puppy

What Is Leash Training

Teaching your puppy to walk on a leash without dragging is called leash training. It is an essential part of dog training because it makes them walk beside their owner without pulling, jumping, or distracting. Leash training improves dog and person safety, decreases accidents, and improves walking. This is not just a physical restraint but also establishing a communication channel between the puppy and its owner. That way, the puppies are taught to recognize and respond to signals so that walks become secure around them. It is from such kind of training that one can be able to have a dog that behaves well in public places.

Why Is Leash Training Important?

 For various reasons, leash training is an essential part of responsible pet ownership:

  1. Safety: A well-trained dog on a leash will avoid traffic, stay away from other animals, and not get lost. Moreover, it ensures public safety and adherence to local ordinances, which often require leashed dogs in public.
  2. Control: By leash training your dog or puppy, you can control its movement easily, guide it away from possible dangers, and discourage undesirable behaviors. This will be beneficial during walks in crowded or unknown areas with distractions or dangers.
  3. Exercise: Regular walking is necessary for their physical and mental health; this is why you need to leash train your puppy. This is especially true since most puppies are high-energy creatures whose energy must be directed towards something meaningful.
  4. Socialization: Training your puppy on a leash, he/she is also exposed to new situations, people, and other animals in a controlled environment, which might prevent problems of fear and aggression later on.
  5. Relationship Bond: Leash training improves your walks together by reducing tension. Communicating and setting boundaries with your dog strengthens and respects your relationship.

Reminder: Before commencing leash training, vaccinate your dog to prevent outdoor infections. Introducing the collar and leash gradually with goodies and praise is also important.

Factors to consider before starting leash training

Before starting leash training, consider a few elements that may affect its success. This includes:

1. Breed and Size: Your puppy’s breed can greatly affect leash training. Larger breeds may need stronger leashes and handling, whereas smaller dogs may be more sensitive to collar pressure. Understanding your puppy’s breed helps make training more effective and comfortable.
2. Age of Puppy: Although 8 weeks is the best age to start leash training, individual willingness can vary. Early or late preparation may occur in some puppies. Be sure your dog is relaxed with the collar and leash before starting rigorous exercise. Additionally, keep training sessions brief and frequent.

3. Temperament: Each puppy’s temperament affects leash training. Some love to explore, while others are afraid of it. Be patient and shape your puppy’s training to its needs.
4. Medical and Vaccination Status: Your puppy must be healthy and vaccinated before leash training. Leash training involves outdoor walks when your puppy may encounter diseases and other animals. Always check with your vet before outdoor training. Furthermore, puppies with physical or health difficulties may need a harness instead of a collar for leash training.
5. Environment and Living Conditions: Where you walk, your puppy can affect leash training. Busy urban settings may demand more noise and crowd desensitization, whereas quieter environments may allow for slower training. Leash training frequency and location can also depend on your living situation, such as a spacious yard or an apartment.

For those pondering the optimal moment to commence leash training their puppy, detailed guidance is available at RealPetInfo’s insightful article on the subject.

When to Start Leash Training a Puppy?

It should begin as soon as you take your puppy home. Starting a leash training at eight weeks is the perfect time. Puppies are more likely to learn and accept new things at this stage. Training them early with leashes makes it easier when they age because it becomes part of their life. Start with brief, constructive sessions to lay the groundwork for future training. However, you should be patient and positive in your training approach. Early training paves the way for a well-mannered adult dog, creating pleasurable walks for both of you. A big tip is to keep puppy training short, enjoyable, and rewarding.

What age to leash train a puppy?

  • 8–10 Weeks Old: Get your puppy used to wearing a collar at this point. Indoor workouts of 5-10 minutes work well. Let them walk around the house on the leash under supervision.
  • 10–12 Weeks Old: Start with brief outdoor walks to make sure your dog is secure and not overwhelmed. Keep training sessions brief, about 10 minutes, to maintain their attention and prevent them from getting tired.
  • 3–6 Months Old: As your puppy matures and gets used to the leash, increase the length of your walks and teach basic obedience commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come” to improve control and focus.
  • Older than 6 months: Your puppy should be used to longer walks by now. You can practice advanced leash skills like heel training, walking in busy areas, and ignoring distractions. Always make puppy training interesting and rewarding.

Keep in mind that leash training requires persistence, patience, and positive reinforcement. Each puppy is different, and some may take longer to learn leash walking.

Equipment Needed to Leash Train a Puppy

Choosing the correct equipment for leash training a puppy is essential for a successful training session. These elements are essential for puppy success:

  1. Collar: This should be a well-fitting collar which is comfortable. Lightweight adjustable collars are ideal for puppies. It should be tight enough not to go over their heads but loose enough to comfortably put two fingers between it and your dog’s neck.
  2. Leash: A standard leash of 4-6 feet offers your puppy some freedom and also keeps you in control. For initial training, a flat, non-retractable nylon or leather leash provides constant handling.
  3. Harness: Pulling puppies or those with sensitive necks may assistance from a harness. It reduces neck and back discomfort by distributing pressure evenly.
  4. Identification Tags: First things first—your pup needs an identification tag hanging on their collar bearing your contact information in case they get missing while outdoor training sessions are taking place.
  5. Training Treats: The small, low-calorie treats used as rewards during training exercises are quite effective. They should be nutritious ones so that you do not overfeed them in the process.
  6. Clicker: This little gadget could come in handy for anyone who wants to practice clicker training with their pets. The sound of the click lets them know immediately when they do something right, followed by a treat.
  7. Puppy Pads: Puppy pads may be used inside your home to create a simulation of an outside environment when young puppies cannot yet go out there safely. Thus can help them learn about leash walking while still confined thus controlled environment.

How do you leash train a puppy?

Before starting leash training, get the necessary gear to make it fun and productive. Being flexible is vital because every puppy is different and what works for one may not work for another.

  1. Start Indoors: Train your puppy on a leash in your house, which is less distracting. This lets your dog practice wearing a collar and leash without the outdoors’ excitement or stress.
  2. Practice walking: Get your dog to follow you on the leash. Reward their loyalty with treats and praise. Keep sessions brief to keep their focus.
  3. Incorporate Cue Words: Use “Come” or “Let’s go” to tell your puppy to move. Verbal consistency helps your puppy correlate orders with actions.
  4. Stop Walking: If your puppy pulls on the leash, stop. Wait until the leash is loose before commanding “No pull” in a firm yet gentle voice. This educates your puppy that pulling won’t speed them up.
  5. Reward Good Behavior: Keep snacks on hand to reward your puppy for good leash conduct. Positive reinforcement builds your puppy-you link and encourages excellent habits.
  6. Gradual Introduction to Outdoor Distractions: After learning basic leash walking indoors, gradually introduce your puppy to outdoor distractions. Start in peaceful places and advance to busier ones as they get better at focusing.

Common Problems with Leash Training

Leash training a dog can be difficult even with planning. Knowing typical issues can help you streamline training.

  • Pulling on the Leash: One of the most collective difficulties is a puppy yanking on the leash, sometimes out of curiosity or enthusiasm. If not corrected early, this behavior can become habitual and troublesome as the puppy matures.
  • Fear: Outdoors can startle or overwhelm some puppies. This can include refusing to walk, freezing, or running home. Fear can result from poor early socialization or unpleasant experiences.
  • Leash Biting: A lively or teething puppy may bite and tug at the leash. This disrupts training and can ruin the leash or cause control issues.
  • Poor Focus: Other animals, people, and moving items can easily distract a young puppy. This hinders their training and command compliance.
  • Overexcitement: Some puppies get thrilled when they see other dogs or people, making it hard to train them.

Understanding these frequent issues is the first step to solving them and making leash training fun and beneficial for you and your puppy.


To start leash training a puppy effectively, it takes time, persistence, and the appropriate strategy for your puppy. You may have a good leash training experience by understanding breed, age, and temperament and preparing with the right gear. Pulling on the leash or being distracted are natural, but effort and good reinforcement can overcome them. Remember that leash training is about bonding with your dog as much as teaching him to walk politely on a leash. Time and devotion can make leash training fun and rewarding for you and your puppy, assuring safe and pleasant outings for years to come.


The following resources may help with leash training. They provide in-depth knowledge, expert advice, and practical ideas to help you and your dog succeed:

  1. The Puppy Training Handbook: How To Raise The Dog of Your Dreams, by Kaelin Munkelwitz.
  2. Before and After Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog” by Dr. Ian Dunbar.
  3. American Kennel Club (AKC) Website:

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