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   Puppy leash training

First get a long leash. I used a 15 foot cotton webbing lead. Then carry most of it looped up in your hands when the pup starts to tug on it let out a lot of leash (enough so she can't tug on it) then make a high pitched fun sound, bounce around a little and encourage her to follow. Pick up the loose lead and if she tries to "catch" and tug let it loose again. Deprive her of that particular game by removing her ability to tug, but not by "correcting" her. Then substitute something she MAY tug on.

Be patient. If you haven't spent some time following her around on leash that is where you need to start. The leash is there to make sure she can't run out into traffic. Use it to physically restrict her movement only to protect her. To get her to go your way use your voice, bouncy movements, squeek, tease with a tug toy. For my puppy I did something that looks like the cartoon of the guy holding the carrot on a stick in front of the donkey. I held Tsuki's tug toy out and got him chasing it - my way. After a couple weeks I didn't need it anymore. In my case my puppy was allowed to tug on the leash, he liked to carry it. I don't mean I always let him tug, but sometimes I'd use a game of tug to get his attention, and sometimes I'd just let him carry it. I thought that I might regret that decision later, but it made him happy and that made me happy. As it turns out I don't regret it. We put the tugging under control, he can't unless he is invited. He can hold the leash in his mouth for casual walks but not for formal obedience.

If you are new to training you might find it easier just to have a "no leash in mouth rule" If you don't want him to tug on the leash try substituting something he can carry or tug on. (He often drops the leash in favor of scooping up some grass, a stick, a leaf, or something else to carry) Mostly at that age I don't have any big goals for going anywhere in particular. Sometimes I followed him, sometimes I encouraged him to follow me. My goal is to avoid leash walking becoming a battle.

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The Truth About Dogs Series

Copyright © 1998-2003, Diane Blackman
Created: May 11, 1998     Updated January 1, 2008

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