You likely had visions of walking your puppy. And it being a fun and rewarding one.
It’s not proving that way so far, is it.
If your puppy insists on pulling, walks do certainly turn into a frustrating (and somewhat painful) ordeal.
That’s why I’m here to share my personal experience on how to train a puppy to walk on the leash without pulling.
I’ve been there myself, ever so recently with my young Cockapoo, Bailey.
Thankfully we are on the other side of it now, but I would like to share with you the things I learned along the way.
Hopefully that can set some expectations, and give you a practical approach to take to finally stop the unwanted pulling, for good.
The Basics of Leash Training
To tackle the issue of pulling, your first need to understand the basics of leash training.
Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are all essential components that you will need to implement, along with the following set out below.
Choose The Right Equipment
The first step in leash training is selecting the appropriate gear.
I decided on this high-quality, versatile leash and a comfortable, well-fitting harness for Bailey.
This setup allowed me to maintain control during our walks while minimizing my pup’s risk of injury or discomfort.
Learn more: Best Leash For Puppy Training
One of the most important aspects of training is using positive reinforcement to reward good behavior.
For Bailey, this meant praising her and giving her treats whenever she walked nicely on the leash without pulling.
This approach helped her associate walking without pulling with positive experiences and rewards.
Patience and Consistency
Training a puppy takes time, so patience and consistency are crucial.
I practiced walking with Bailey daily, ensuring that our training sessions were short, fun, and engaging.
I gradually saw progress in Bailey’s leash manners by remaining consistent in my approach.
How To Train A Puppy To Walk On The Leash Without Pulling: Step by Step
With the basics in mind, it was time to start training Bailey to walk on the leash without pulling.
Here’s the step-by-step process we followed:
Introduce The Leash and Harness
I allowed Bailey to get used to her new harness and leash before our first walk.
I let her sniff and investigate the gear and rewarded her with treats and praise for showing interest in the equipment.
Begin In A Familiar Environment
We started our training sessions indoors, where Bailey was more comfortable and less likely to be distracted.
This helped her focus on learning the new behavior without any added stress.
Teach Your Puppy To Give You Attention
One of the most important aspects of leash training is teaching your puppy to pay attention to you.
I accomplished this by using a clicker to mark the moment Bailey looked at me, followed by a treat as a reward.
This encouraged her to focus on me during our walks.
Practice Walking Without Pulling
With Bailey’s attention on me, we began practicing walking on the leash.
I used a “Let’s go!” cue to start walking and rewarded her whenever she walked without pulling.
If she began to pull, I would stop and wait for her to return to my sidebefore continuing.
This method taught Bailey that pulling would not get her where she wanted to go.
Gradually Increase Distractions
Once Bailey reliably walked without pulling into a familiar environment, we introduced distractions like toys and other people.
We started with small distractions and gradually increased the difficulty as she improved.
This helped her learn to maintain focus on me even in more challenging situations.
Practice In Various Locations
To ensure Bailey’s new leash manners would translate to different environments, we practiced walking without pulling in various locations, including parks, neighborhoods, and busy streets.
This exposure helped her generalize the skill and maintain proper leash etiquette regardless of the setting.
Reward Progress and Remain Patient
Throughout the training process, I rewarded Bailey’s progress and remain patient.
Some days were better than others, but we saw improvement over time by staying consistent and positive.
How Long Does It Takes To Train A Puppy To Not Pull On The Leash While Walking?
It typically takes between 1-4 months to train a puppy to walk on the leash without pulling.
It’s certainly a range. That’s because factors like breed, temperament, and prior training experience can all have an impact on how fast they take to it.
In Bailey’s case, it took about three months of consistent, daily training before she was reliably walking without pulling.
It’s important to remember that every dog is unique, and some may take longer to learn than others.
The key is to stay patient, consistent, and positive throughout the process.
Celebrate your puppy’s progress, no matter how small, and keep working together to achieve your leash-walking goals.
Training a puppy to walk on the leash without pulling is a challenging but rewarding experience.
By following the steps outlined above and staying committed to the process, you will be able to transform your walks from frustrating to enjoyable.
Related guides you may want to read:
- How Long Does It Takes To Leash Train A Puppy?
- What Age Should You Start Leash Training A Puppy?
- Should A Puppy Be On The Leash All The Time?
- How To Get Puppy To Stop Biting On The Leash
- Do Dogs Naturally Stop Pulling On The Leash?
- Why Does My Dog Pull On The Leash?
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.