Leash Training Puppies

Leash training puppies is pretty simple.

I always buy a couple of lightweight leashes so I can snap them together and extend the length many feet without putting any added weight on my pup.

Using this simple trick allows your Golden Retriever more room to navigate and get use to being on it.

©Photo Courtesy of Andrew Gibki and "Monty"

Golden Retriever sitting while on a leash

It will also be extremely useful for beginning housebreaking.

Take a day or two of practicing leash training your puppy inside the house before you attempt it outdoors.  And do practice this several times a day.

When you first introduce her to the lead, simply snap a lightweight one on her and allow her to roam around her area of the house with it.

Some puppies will go about their business and never even seem to notice that they are dragging it.

Other puppies will immediately act as if they are being tortured and will freeze in their tracks and scream bloody murder!

©Photo Courtesy of Zenia Johnsen
Golden Retriever puppy howling

If she does this, just ignore her.  Do not baby her, or try to comfort her as that will only serve to ingrain her nervousness.

Within a few minutes, she will start to move around and probably decide it. 

Divert her attention from chewing on it, but other than that, do not acknowledge it.

After she has played for awhile, loosely pick up the end of it and "walk" with her, but allowing her full reach of the rope.

Chances are, she will do one of two things.  Either she will immediately sit down and refuse to move, or she will jerk, jump, and wiggle like a fish on the end of a hook!

In the case of her sitting down and refusing to move, squat down, while still holding the leash and call to her, but do not touch her. 

Keep your hand several inches from her so that she has to move towards you to be petted.

Then keep repeating this process.  After a few times, she will walk to you without freezing in fear.

"Brooke" One of ours!
Golden Retriever puppy in grass laying with her leash

As for the screaming, fighting puppy, do not drop the leash

If you drop it, she will believe that her wrestling got her what she wanted. 

Instead, just stay still.  Do not even speak to her, just wait her out.

When she eventually settles down, and she will, proceed in the same manner as you would for the sitting pup scenario.

Always end your training on a good note.  After you have successfully walked her, even if just for a few feet, drop the lead and allow her to pull it on her own before you take it off.

If she doesn't take easily to this within the first day, make sure that when you are getting ready to try leash training your  puppy again, that you hide the leash before your next session.

The last thing you want is for your Golden Retriever to see it and run and hide from you.

Instead loosely ball it up in your hand and while you are petting her, quickly snap her on it before she knows what you are up to.

Generally, a puppy will quickly grow accustom to her leash and looks forward to it within 2 or 3 days.

©Photo Courtesy of Scott Beckner

As soon as she stops fighting you, make sure you walk her to a new and exciting place, such as outside or an area of your house that she has not investigated yet. 

This way she learns to quickly love being on it and associates it with fun.

As she becomes more accustomed to her lead, she will try to pull you along.  Do not allow that.  Simply stay still and when she has gone her full reach, let her whine and complain, but do not allow her to pull you.

If she is extremely persistent, a simple "no" and a gentle tug on the lead, backwards towards you, will work.

This is the simplest way of leash training puppies, while they are still young. 

Eventually you can shorten the length.  If you have been using two leashes hooked together, go to using only one.  Continue shortening her leash until she walks right beside you.

After that, you may start teaching her not to walk back and forth in front of you, and the command to "heel".

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