Lead training your puppy takes time and patience for both you
and your puppy so do your best to avoid scolding them. It's not
fair to correct puppies for something they don't understand.
The secret to getting a collar is to buy one that fits your
puppy now, so just choose a small lightweight one that he will
hardly feel. Don't get one he's going to grow into eventually,
because that's just going to be too big, heavy and
You can buy one with clips on it to start with, just because
it's going to be a lot easier to introduce it to him. You can just
put it on and clip it together, rather than fiddling with buckles
which can be scary when he's wearing a collar for the first
Introducing the collar: think positive rewards!
The first thing is to put on the collar and immediately after
give him a treat so that he realises that the collar means good
stuff. Don't put the collar on then take it off and give him a
treat, otherwise all you're rewarding him for is having the collar
off. You put it on nice and quietly and this is where you'll find
the real advantage of the clips because you don't have to mess
around with the buckles and the minute the clip's on… he gets a
Then you can build up the length of time that he's wearing the
collar for, until he's wearing it for longer and longer periods of
time. But just leave it off when he's in the house, just in case he
gets caught up on things (e.g.furniture) which can also cause him
to panic and get hurt. However he'll have to wear it when he's out
and about with his ID details on, like a grown up dog !
Introducing the lead: training tips
Once your puppy is happy wearing the collar you can introduce
the lead and just start off in the house, don't try to go straight
away out and about. You should think about the lead as a safety
device so that he doesn't run off anywhere. Not something that you
pull him around by. You want a dog that doesn't pull on the lead,
so you don't start by pulling first.
First of all, clip on the lead and give him a treat while you
put it on if need be. The minute the lead is on, just use the
treats (instead of pulling on the lead) to lure him beside you so
that he gets used to walking with the lead and with the collar
As well as using treats you can also make good use of toys -
especially if your dog has a favourite one - to do exactly the same
thing: walk around the house with the lead on and lure him with the
toy. That way your puppy will build a positive connection with
wearing the collar and lead without making any fuss whatsoever.
The most important thing is to never pull on the lead. If it is
ever tight just lure him beside you with a treat or a toy while
walking. All you're doing is getting him to moving around beside
you with the lead and collar on. Remember to keep your hand down
(the one holding the treat or toy) so your puppy doesn't get the
habit of jumping up at you. That helps your puppy learn that he can
move around with a collar and lead on and that the lead is never
something that he's going to pull on.
If you feel that your puppy is getting stressed when walking
with a lead outside try putting treats along the route you'll be
taking to turn this into a rewarding game: good times are ahead.
That way he learns to focus on what's ahead of him with curiosity
and not fear.
For more information and advice, you can find a
puppy foundation course with the Good Citizen Dog Training