Understand Why Your Puppy is Pulling
Whenever your puppy is doing a behavior you dislike, it's a good idea to find out why they're doing that behavior first. In the case of pulling, there's a variety of reasons your dog may pull but we can boil them down to a few common ones. Most of the time you'll see pulling on leash when a puppy is first learning how to walk with you, they may also pull when they see something that excites them, or they may just be pulling because naturally with them having four legs and us only having two, they have a faster pace. Understanding why your puppy pulls will give you an advantage with your training methods.
Get the Proper Gear
Having the right training gear is crucial to the training process. We recommend using flat collars, harnesses, or gentle leaders if needed. We never recommend using any type of painful collar like shock collars, prong collars, or choke chains. These collars were used in the past few decades as training tools until it was brought to light how many negative side effects they can have. Unfortunately even though we have better tools these days, some trainers rely on using the old painful tools so its important to check with your trainer which tools they recommend.
Use Correct Methods
Using the correct training methods is second most important after having the proper tools to train. We always train using positive reinforcement training methods that have been recommended by the leading animal associations of the world like the ASPCA. This means that training your puppy to walk on leash will look like a lot of positive feedback with both food and verbal reinforcement to get the nice leash walking behavior you desire. We start this off by rewarding your pup for walking nicely on leash in very short increments. In the beginning this may be only a few steps at a time and that's completely normal.
Set & Keep Expectation for Your Puppy
It's easy for us to get wrapped up in our lives and forget about the training process with our dogs. But when you're teaching something new, you must set and keep expectations with your puppy. This is because if you're inconsistent with your expectations, then your dog will be inconsistent with their behavior on leash. This means if you don't want them to pull, you must never allow them to pull. Set this as your expectation and remain firm about your expectation so that they can learn that there's certain rules they have to follow during their walks. If you allow pulling at any time, keep in mind that they are being rewarded for that behavior with every step they take forward and that will set back your training.
Practice, Practice, & More Practice
Having a puppy who walks nicely on leash doesn't happen overnight, or even over weeks. It can sometimes take months for dog's to learn and master this skill, and thats completely normal. Training a puppy to walk at the same pace you're walking is no easy task. However, as with most things in life, practice makes perfect! If you prioritize your leash training then you will see results faster. Make sure that you're using the proper gear, using the correct teaching methods, and maintaining your expectations. These are the golden rules to training your puppy to stop pulling on leash.