Lead Training of a New Puppy

August 3, 2012 by  
Filed under New Puppy Training

training a new puppy
by Todd Barnard

Lead Training of a New Puppy

The method used to teach lead manners depends on the dog and on you, but the basics remain the same. There are several theories out there on the best way to teach but I simply incorporate a variety of techniques for each puppy.

First for the pup that instantly digs his/her feet in when you attach a lead, refuses to walk or fights the lead. I start by placing a very short lead on the puppy while in the house. I let the pup carry the lead around in its mouth or drag it around the house for a few minutes each day, making it just another normal part of its collar and as always under close supervision. After a few minutes of this, I will pick up the lead and allow the pup to lead me around by throwing his favorite toy and joining him in going after the toy.

Once the pup sees that being attached to you is fun, begin by teaching the dog to be aware of your body.

Let the pup wander, then change direction before the leash tightens. Don’t say a word – the idea is for the pup to figure out he/she has to watch you, not continue to ignore your voice. Have the pup sit, give treat, show the toy and throw it but instead of allowing the pup to instantly go for toy, take a slow walk with the pup on a very short lead so he is walking with you.

When you feel comfortable that you have made progress inside, move the training outside. You may have to start from square one a few times since now you have the whole world as a distraction. Giving praise for walking appropriately and healing when pup tries to pull away from you. This stop and go will over time become less as the pup learns that the toy is the final reward for the appropriate behavior.

If your pup is the only one in the home,teaching lead manners is really as simple as being consistent with command and praise.

Put toys or treats in your pocket, and coax the pup to remain near your side as you walk. When the pup loses concentration as when a butterfly flits by or a new sound needs investigating, change direction, coax pup with a treat, and get his/her attention back to you.

What you mustn’t do is to force or startle with sounds behind him as this will just frighten pup and you will be making the problem much worse. Keep things bright and cheery – remember you want to teach the little dickens that being by your side is fun.

If the pup tightens the leash by getting too far ahead, stop walking. The pup will get confused and probably turn towards you, loosening the grip of the collar. When the collar loosens, start walking again, but in the opposite direction before the pup gets to the end of the leash. Walk around trees or cars, go back the way you came, etc., and keep it up so he/she cannot anticipate your next move.

The key is to make it enjoyable so don’t stress out and don’t stress the pup either. Patience and repetition are the key to success.

Now lead training the new pup with existing household pack, in my opinion is an easier task. By now, you may have noticed the pup is showing a favoritism to one of the other pack members. Utilize this attraction by taking that member out on lead with your puppy.

Remember the basics, put this pack member through the process of sitting, walking and healing. Let the Pup see how the other pack member responds to your commands. The pup will most likely begin to imitate the member they have become attached to and make this process move more easily. The pup will want the same attention you are giving to its pack mate. Work the two together for 15 minute sessions to start and slowly increase the session as the pup’s attention span improves.

After a few sessions of the pup and pack buddy, take the pup out alone and go through the same exercise you did with both. Always reward the pup with the special training treat for each behavior demonstrated appropriately. Being consistent with commands and rewards is key to a successful outcome.

A topic that needs to be addressed, if your pup is the lone dog, be careful not to put him/her in a situation where it will have a very bad experience and become phobic (i.e. too many dogs approaching him/her, an aggressive adult dog, anything at all where he/she looks frightened). Puppies are very vulnerable and impressionable at this age and a bad experience can cause long term problems. Its your role as Pack Alpha to protect him/her from these situations and gradually expose him/her to them, so that he/she is able to cope.

Bringing a pup into an existing pack, they learn from the other pack members important dog language so it is easier to introduce them to the outside world more easily.

I hope these simple lessons help other new pups and forever humans start their life together fun and as stress free as possible. Remember patience, praise and love are the best training assets.

LB Richards, Larry has also been a owner/breeder of Poodles over the last 30 years and works with others on simple training issues with new pups. Larry has joined with EnergyPet.com as a consultant on web design and pet care. watch for EnergyPet.net in 2010. Larry is also co-owner of Valmarich, LLC. Larry’s career in the medical field, for the last 25+ years, has assisted him and his partner in developing a company that takes pride in providing the best in gift giving and special recognition in traditional and Unique ways.

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