Training a Puppy to Walk on a Leash – Practical Tips, Suggestions, and Hacks

By Jay

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Regular walks are part of a dog’s life. It keeps them in shape, allows them to socialize, and lets them eliminate properly. However, before you can take the pup to smooth walks, you have to dedicate some time for leash training. Training a puppy to walk on a leash isn’t a walk in the park. You have to be patient and consistent to achieve results.

But before we dive deep to the training, you should get the right equipment first:

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For this post, we will discuss in detail everything you need to know on how to get your puppy to walk on a leash.  We will give tips, practical steps, leash recommendations, and alternatives should your efforts don’t come to fruition.

Introduction to puppy leash training

Every puppy needs to learn the leash etiquette before introducing other skill training processes. It’s one of the necessary skills that a dog needs to learn. It instills the basic notion of discipline, respect, and patient on both the dog and its owner.

You should know that not all puppies will be born polite enough or obedient enough to walk on a leash, let alone wear one. As much as it can test your patience, leash training is essential to keep your dog safe outdoors. It also gives you – the dog owner – full control of your pooch’s access to the outside world.

In this video, dog expert Zak George tells us more about leash training for puppies:

Importance of puppy leash training

Not convinced about training puppy to walk on leash? Here are some of the advantages of subjecting your doggo to this essential skill training:

🐕It’s a matter of discipline

If you want to raise a disciplined puppy, you have to start with the basic rules. It involves getting on a leash, following your lead, and responding to commands. All of these will be covered on the leash training.

Also, further and advanced training will be easier if your dog deals with leash walking properly. For owners who are planning to get their dog certified for the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program, leash walking is a basic necessity.

🐕It keeps your pet safe

Your pup will get distracted by almost every outdoor element it will come across with. With a leash on, it will be easier for you to divert them off and to regain their focus on the walk.

Take note that it’s quite normal for pups to sniff, pull, lunge, and exhibit negative behavior during their first walk on a leash. Below, we will correct these issues.

Remember this: leashes save lives. It’s what connects you to your dog physically and which allows you to retrieve them quickly during imminent danger.

🐕It’s easier to break dog fights when your dog is on a leash

If you’re taking your dog in a dog park, leashing the pooch will make it easier to break possible dog fights. Again, leash walking will keep your puppy safe.

🐕It makes vet visits more bearable

It’s a fact that dogs hate vet visits. You can make things easier by training them to walk on a leash. Leashing also makes them at ease with the environment while the owner still has full control.

🐕It’s a necessity for dog walking

Most communities require dogs to be leashed if taken for walks, regardless of the breed. It’s a matter of ensuring that the dog won’t harm anybody and that no one or anything will harm them.

When is the right age to start leash training?

Many newbie pup owners are asking us about when the right age is to introduce collar and leash training.

Basically, you can put on a collar on your puppy the moment you get it from a breeder or a shelter. That’s about 8 weeks old based on common practices of responsible breeders. Also, you can put on the leash to secure the pup.

However, don’t expect a very young pup to jump right into walks. You may want to wait until their bodies are strong enough to handle mild tugging.

When it comes to walking, veterinarians recommend that you start the training once your puppy gets all the basic vaccinations.

These include shots for Parvovirus, hepatitis, rabies, and more. Usually, puppies will get all these vaccinations between the age of 3 and 6 months.

Our recommendation is to get your puppy used to wearing a collar as soon as possible. However, you should remove the collar after a few hours to prevent matting and injuries on the neck area.

Choosing the right collar and leash

Before you move forward on how to walk your puppy on a leash, make sure that you choose the right tool for the job. Each dog breed will require a specific collar and leash.

In this video, dog training expert Zak George gives his take about the different types of dog collars:

🐕Neck collars vs. harness

If you have a flat-nosed (brachycephalic) puppy breed, you should consider getting a harness instead of a collar. These pups may have thick necks, but their airway can easily get choked on the tugging and pulling. Putting them on collars is fine for the purpose of identification. But as much as possible, connect the leash on a harness.

For other dog breeds, collars should be fine as long as it’s used correctly. Take note that your dog isn’t supposed to wear the collar all day long. You have to take it off after the walk or at least before their bedtime.

Also, if your pup starts to form rashes or irritations on the neck area while wearing a collar, you should consult a vet and switch to a harness instead.

🐕Retractable vs. classic leash

For puppies that are just learning to walk on a leash, a classic leash will never fail. You have control over its length and your pup can’t go too far.

Take note that retractable leashes are made for dogs to walk freely from their owners. For pups, this shouldn’t be the case, especially when walking on the side of a busy road.

Classic leashes let you retrieve your pup quickly. For training, this should be your only choice. Besides, getting a puppy used to free-ish leashing will make things worse for your training efforts.

🐕Are head halters necessary?

For small puppies, head halters aren’t necessary. It could be counterproductive since the halters may trigger negative behavior.

For young pups, you can quickly correct bad behavior, so head halters aren’t necessary. As much as possible, you’d want to be gentle with your approach. Unless the pup is highly aggressive, we don’t see the need to use this equipment.

🐕Size and length

The size and length of the collar, leash, and harness should match your pup. We always go for adjustable versions since puppies – especially large breeds – grow at a fast pace. They can outgrow a fixed collar in a matter of months.

For the collar, measure the neck circumference of your pooch and consider it as the minimum sizing rather than the maximum option. It’s best if the collar can be adjusted on several inches in between your dogs’ size.

The same goes for harnesses. Always measure the broadest part of your pup’s shoulder and chest circumference. You should use your dog’s weight and measurements to choose the right harness.

As for the leash, you should never use one that’s longer than 6 feet long. Six feet is already enough to give your pup too much freedom. If you have a long one, make sure that you wound it on your palm. In addition, vets recommend that you keep your pet close by your side when walking a puppy on a leash.


Most leashes and collars nowadays are made of nylon since these are durable, easy to dry, and comfy to wear. You can also opt for softer fabric, depending on what the vet recommends for your pup.

For leashes, the classic nylon type will work when teaching puppy to walk on leash. You can also purchase thicker ropes if you have a large breed dog.


To save you from the hassle of scouting for the best collar, harness, and leash, we’ve picked the bestsellers for you:


training a puppy to walk on a leash

If you prefer a dog collar for your pooch, we recommend the GoTags Personalized Collar. It’s made of durable nylon that comes with personalized embroidery of your pup’s name and your phone number. So if ever the doggo wonders around, you can be contacted to get it back.

Aside from its durable material, it also comes with a reliable buckle and a D-ring where you can attach the leash. Also, this collar is adjustable in 4 different sizes.

You don’t have to worry since this collar has tapered edges which are added comfort for your doggo. It also comes in 5 different colors and 16 embroidery color options.


✔️Personalized embroidery of your dog’s name

✔️Adjustable size

✔️Made of strong nylon with tapered edges



❌For very small pups, adjusting the collar will make the buckle cover the first letter of the name



training a puppy to walk on a leash

For pups that need a trusty harness, the Rabbitgoo Dog Harness is an ideal choice. It comes in extra small to large sizes that fit a variety of breeds including Dachshunds, Bulldogs, Pugs, German Shepherds, Boxers, and more.

This is a non-pulling harness with two metal D-rings, one in front and one at the back. Also, it has two fast-release buckles, which makes it easy to put on and off.

Overall, this harness is made from Oxford nylon with soft padding for your pup’s comfort. Take note that pups will take some time to get used to harnesses. Putting the harness weeks before the training starts will help the dog get familiar with the equipment.

Aside from its adjustability, the Rabbitgoo harness also comes in a variety of colors to match your leash color. To get the right size, measure your dog’s chest girth, neck girth, and weight. After that, refer to the product’s exclusive sizing chart.


✔️Made from Oxford nylon

✔️D-rings in front and at back

✔️Comes with breathable mesh padding

✔️Fits all breeds (given the right size)



❌None so far




training a puppy to walk on a leash

For a classic leash, you’ll never go wrong with the PetSafe Nylon Dog Leash. It’s made from durable nylon and it comes in varying lengths and widths. You can choose between 3/8 inch to 1 inch-thick leash and a length of between 4 and 6 feet.

This leash fits on all collars and harnesses with D-rings. It’s a straightforward leash and very affordable too for dog owners on a budget.

Aside from that, it comes with a durable metal clasp that can endure the tugging and pulling that may happen during the training.

The bonus part is it comes in six different colors.


✔️Comes in different lengths and widths

✔️Fits on all leashes and harnesses

✔️Very affordable



❌The clip catches a bit, but not a big issue


How to train puppy to walk on leash

Now that you have the right equipment, it’s time to go down to business. The following are the steps in training your puppy to walk on a leash:

Step 1. Let the puppy get used to the leash and collar

Before taking your pooch to an actual walk, you have to get your dog used to wear a collar or harness. If you had a puppy before, you’d know how reluctant it can be in wearing a collar or harness. They will chew on it and try to get off the equipment.

The key here is to introduce the collar or harness as early as possible. Put it on your dog for a few hours a day and take it off. Do this until they are no longer struggling to remove the equipment.

Let the dog sniff and lick the collar or harness until it becomes fully acquainted on it. After some time, you can put it on.

Also, it will help to attach the leash on the collar/harness and let the pooch drag it around the house. The only issue here is if you have a chewer.

Step 2. Start with the “follow game”

For this step, we will train your dog to tread on your side. Hold a bag of tasty and stinky treat and get your pup’s attention. Once the pooch is interested, walk a few steps away and see if the doggo will follow. If it does, give your pup a low-value treat (kibble or small treat) to encourage it to follow you.

Perform this a few times until your dog gets used to walking beside you. However, you’d want to keep the fun, so stop the drill while your doggo is still into it. Through this, the pup will look forward once you initiate the “follow game” again.

Step 3. Practice short leash walks indoors

Once your pup follows you on command, you can now put the collar/harness and leash on. Take a short walk around the house, ensuring that the pooch doesn’t pull or goes the other way. You can set a starting point and an endpoint, say the door and the couch.

Pro tip: remove any distraction at this point. Hide any toys or items that will catch your dog’s attention.

Treats will do wonders here. If your pooch finishes the short path, give it a treat and praise. Repeat the same drill and in different parts of your home.

If the pup tries to pull, stop on your tracks. Say a firm “no!” and don’t proceed until the pup calms down and settles.

Step 4. Used the reward system

In any dog training drill, the reward system is a commonly used technique. It’s a form of positive reinforcement that uses treats and praises to encourage the dog to learn or perform a certain skill.

Whenever the dog shows progress or responds to a command correctly, give it a low-value treat. Even little progress should be rewarded here.

Take note that the use of rewards can be tricky, too. You’d want to prevent it from becoming a bribe for the pup to walk on a leash.

Over time, you should reduce the amounts of treat until you finally ditch it. If your pup walks on a leash without pulling, you can use praises and petting as an alternative reward. The technique here is to reduce the treat slowly.

Step 5. Increase leash walk duration outdoors

Once your puppy is comfortable walking on a leash indoors, you can take it out on your yard. Again, remove any possible distractions. Also, set a starting and endpoint for the drill.

Get your dog familiar with the outdoor world first. It’s normal for the pup to sniff, mark the territory, and get scared. Give the pup some time to get used to it and always be patient.

Start with short walks then quit it while your dog is still onboard. This will keep the excitement of walking outdoors.

After a few days, you can now exit the gate. Take a brief walk (2 or 3 minutes) around the neighborhood. It’s best not to go too far from home since your pup will likely get scared. It will try to pull the leash in an effort to head back home.

Again, increase the duration and distance as slow as possible. Take note that some dogs learn fast while others need to take more time.

Step 6. Practice walking at different times of the day

There are times when you’ll need to walk your dog during the night. So to prepare the pup, make sure that you schedule the walk at different times of the day. However, avoid the hottest hours to prevent the dog from overheating.

Remember that pups shouldn’t take very long walks per day. For puppies, the rule of thumb is five minutes of exercise per month of age. So if you have a 6-month old pup, the maximum walk duration should be 30 minutes or less. You can divide this into two sessions on a single day.

Once your pup reaches adulthood, you can now increase the walk for up to an hour.

Step 7. Slowly introduce distractions

After a few weeks or months, you can now introduce some distractions on your pup’s tracks. It could be a toy or another dog. If the puppy tries to pull, say a firm “no!” and try to get its attention. You can use some treat rewards here to encourage your dog to keep going.

Tips on how to walk your puppy on a leash

To make the leash training easier and more effective, you can utilize these tips:

🐕Keep the leash short at first

When you’re starting to train the pup, keep the leash short. Don’t give the pup too much freedom, or it will begin to be imposing.

If it’s your first time to take the dog outdoors, keep the leash short. Don’t go longer than 4 feet.

🐕Remove distractions first

Whenever you’re starting a new phase of training, always start with a distraction-free environment. This will make the first steps easier.

🐕Patience goes a long way

Training a puppy isn’t easy. In comparison, it’s like asking a two-year-old kid to pay attention. You have to be patient and consistent with your approach to succeed.

Never punish or hurt your pup if it declines to follow you. Hurting your pet will only result in behavioral issues which you’ll have to fix later on.

🐕Training duration varies per breed

Each dog breed has varying trainability and intelligence level. Smart breeds are easier to train while others would take time to learn. Again, patience is the key.

🐕Make leash training feel like playtime

You’d want your pup to associate walking on a leash with something positive. If the pooch feels tension and fear when you train puppy to walk on a leash, it will hate going for walks. Learning will also become slower.

It’s best to let the pup romp after putting the leash on. Remember that it’s quite normal for pups to be playful and it’s best to fulfill this need before going for walks.

Once the pup settles, call it and take it for a short walk. You can also bring some treats during the first days. It will also be fun for the pup if there are other dogs that your pet can play with. Soon enough, your doggo will be excited every time you’re going to touch the leash.

🐕Always start with baby steps

When it comes to puppies, you have to start with baby steps. Rushing in will only cause your pup to be scared and reluctant to walking on a leash.

Teaching puppies to walk on leash doesn’t happen overnight. It may take weeks or months depending on the age, behavior, and breed of the dog.

Problems to address

The truth is that knowing how to get a puppy to walk on a leash doesn’t always come smoothly. Puppies are inclined to explore and are naturally curious. Here are some of the issues that may arise during the training and how you should deal with it.


Almost every pup will pull the leash the first time you put them on it. Your doggo will surely try to do it his own way.

Whenever your pup pulls, stop dead and don’t continue walking unless it ceased pulling. A no-pull leash or harness will help here.


Pups, and even adult dogs, love to chase moving objects. Dogs with hard-wired hunting instincts will also try to run over a squirrel or anything that catches their attention.

When this happens, distract your dog with a toy or a treat. Soon enough, you’ll learn what makes your dog lunge. This will help you avoid distractions in the future.

🐕Leash chewing and biting

This happens, especially if the pup is teething. Take note that chewing and nibbling are dogs’ ways of exploring their environment. It will help to give the pup a chew toy so it won’t vent its daggers on the leash.

You should also teach your pup that it’s okay to chew, but there’s a right thing for it.


Puppy barks may seem cute at first, but it can become annoying over time. If your pup barks while on a leash, it can be a sign of excitement, agitation, or the pet trying to get your attention.

A little barking is fine, especially if you have a breed that loves to vocalize (take that from a Beagle owner!). If the barking is too much, there’s a chance that you’re not giving the pooch enough mental and physical stimulation.

To fix this, give your pooch a short playtime that will keep the dog physically and mentally active. After draining the extra energy, you can go for a short walk. However, make sure that you let your doggo drink some water first before heading out.

🐕Constant sniffing

One thing that you should watch out for is constant sniffing. The likes of Bloodhounds, Beagles, and Basset Hounds are known for their strong sense of smell. They will follow a scent once they get hooked on it.

Also, pups will try to mark their territory if you let them walk loosely on a long leash. It’s best to keep the line short so that they won’t explore too much. Too much slack on the leash gives unnecessary freedom to the dog.

Take note that sniffing is fine, but like chewing, you have to teach your dog that there are a right time and place for it.

When your dog gets stuck on sniffing, make a distracting sound like a whistle or calling its name. The moment that the dog lifts its head from the ground move along and keep walking.

🐕Puppy refuses to walk on leash

My puppy won’t walk on a leash! This is a common problem, which can be due to various reasons. Your pooch probably needs a little more nudge from a tasty treat. You can also make things more fun by taking the pooch to a new dog park.

Also, your puppy probably associated walking with something negative. Did the pooch get in a fight on your last walk? Did you scold the pup during the walk? As much as possible, you’d want to limit any negative actions so the dog won’t hate taking walks.

If all else fails: try The Online Dog Trainer Leash Training Program

If your pup proves to be a tough nut to crack, you can avail the Online Dog Trainer Leash Training Program. Here, you’ll know how to walk a puppy on a leash properly with the right methods and techniques.

The program is divided by age: under 8 months old and over 8 months old.

Doggy Dan came up with a specific approach for every life stage of the dog. This way, you can address problems accordingly. The program is also very affordable that you can access a trial for just $1 of the Online Dog Trainer Complete Pack for three days.

This program works for all breeds and all ages. If you’ve just gotten an adult dog from the shelter, you can tap Doggy Dan’s help to teach the dog on how to walk on a leash.

Why Trust the Online Dog Trainer?

Over 37,000 dog owners have already witnessed the wonders of Doggy Dan’s training methods. Even if your pup has behavioral problems, the program will also help in correcting the issues.

The following are the inclusions of the program:

✔️Pulling on the leash

✔️Leading from the front

✔️Going crazy whenever you pick up the leash

✔️Lunging while on the leash

✔️Choking due to pulling

✔️Overexcitement when going for a walk

✔️Chasing people, dogs, and other things

✔️Other bad leash manners

If you love the program after the trial, you can sign up for the $37 a month contract. You can cancel anytime once your dog learns the skill or if you’re not happy with the results. If you want to save money, sign up to a 6-month contract for just $147. This will save you about $12.50 per month!

Final words

Training a puppy to walk on a leash isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. You just have to be patient and to use the right method. If all else fails, Doggy Dan is always there to help.

I am Jay, I am a pet lover. Have few Pitbulls with me. So love to write about pitbulls.

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