How to Train your Puppy to Walk on a Leash Without Pulling

Vero Beach Puppy Trainer, Gerry-Anna’s Top Tips

Teaching your puppy to walk calmly beside you on their leash is a skill that you’ll be so glad you took the time to teach.  

If your dog pulls on the leash, it can make walks stressful and make you dread going out for walks together. 

However, when your puppy can walk nicely on their leash without pulling or lunging, you will enjoy your walks and look forward to all the adventures you can have together.  

So, let’s explore how you can teach your puppy this important life skill. 

Where to start your puppy’s leash walking training

Whenever we start teaching a puppy or dog anything new, we need to make it as easy as possible for them. 

If your puppy finds the training too hard or frustrating, you’ll quickly lose their attention – and you’ll also probably quickly lose the desire to keep going too. 

Instead, we break everything down into small steps, so you both have plenty to celebrate as you progress through your training together.  

So, start your training in your yard or on a quiet street before progressing to more distracting environments.

It’s important that your puppy doesn’t learn that pulling on the leash gets you to move forwards. So even on potty walks, I recommend that you stop moving forward when your puppy pulls. Use a long leash of 6-8 feet which will give your puppy enough freedom to explore without the need to pull and get used to creating tension in the leash.  

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How to train a puppy to walk on a leash without pulling Very Beach Puppy Trainer training Sebastian Florida Treasure Coast Dog Training

Tips to Train your Puppy to Walk on a Leash Without Pulling

Step 1 – Reward your puppy for being at your side

The first step is to teach your puppy that being beside your leg is an awesome place to be!

We’re often teaching our dogs to sit in front of us to perform tasks, so we now need to build value in being at your side. 

  • Begin with your puppy in the backyard with your puppy dragging the leash. If your yard isn’t fenced then use a long leash and keep hold of it – but don’t allow the leash to get tight with tension.  
  • Begin walking in a big circle or oval and say your puppy’s name to get their attention. 
  • When your puppy catches up to you on your left side, say ‘yes’ and deliver a treat to their mouth right beside your left leg.  
  • ​​Keep walking at a brisk pace and mark with a yes, and treat when they follow along on your left side. Always reward with your left hand and keep food in your left pocket. 
  • Repeat, gradually increasing the steps you take between marking and rewarding.

Use the word “yes” to mark the behavior of walking on your left side. Pretty soon your puppy will learn that the word “yes” means a treat is coming!

Your puppy will soon realize that when they’re at your side, great things happen!

Step 2 – Put your puppy on the leash

Now your puppy thinks being beside you is a pretty good idea, we want to introduce having only a light touch on the leash. 

Repeat the training steps above, but this time hold the leash with just your pinky finger! The goal here is to practice walking with no tension on the leash. You want the leash to remain loose at all times. 

Keep these sessions short to start with and away from any interesting distractions. 

As your puppy gets the hang of this, you can increase the number of steps you take before rewarding your dog. 

Step 3 – Take your leash walking training on the road

Once your puppy understands that walking at your side is rewarding, you are ready to begin practising this new skill in new environments. 

Choose the places you progress your training to carefully, we don’t want to make it too hard for your puppy, too fast. 

A great idea is to head somewhere new, but begin your walk with a sniffari. A sniffari is a nature walk where your dog is encouraged to mooch around and have a sniff – which is a naturally calming activity. 

Once your puppy has had around 10 minutes to explore, you’re ready to practice your leash walking skills. 

Repeat the training steps you tried at home, rewarding your puppy frequently for being at your side. 

I hope you find these tips helpful. Start slow, and keep your sessions short but frequent. 

Puppy Training Vero Beach, Florida

A note from Gerry-Anna expert puppy trainer at Goldstar Puppy Academy.

 Vero Beach, Treasure Coast Puppy Training

Investing time in your puppy’s leash walking skills is a worthy decision. You have many years of adventures ahead, and they’ll be much more enjoyable if your dog can happily walk at your side when on their leash. 

If you’d like some more puppy training tips, you can download my free ultimate puppy training guide , you’ll find the link in the footer of this page. . 

Inside you’ll find easy to follow training advice to help you understand how your puppy learns, plus crate training, potty training, puppy biting and a socialization checklist.