Our next task is to go for a walk with our dog. There are all sorts of reasons that this is a good skill to teach but most of all we want our pup to be well behaved on a leash. Pulling you down the street isn’t a fun way to go for a walk for you. This also reinforces the need for your charge to stay with you verses bolting off to check out the neighborhood.
To start this training you need a supply of treats. You will be rewarding the dog for focusing on you. Put the pup on a 6 foot (cotton leash is best) leash and walk out to your training area. When the pup reaches the end of the leash and it is tight, stop. Wait until the pup looks at you and with an animated voice say “good pup” and offer a reward. Take a few steps backward to get the pup coming toward you. A quick snap of the leash will get the pups attention but don’t overdo the correction. Use the treats to keep the pup’s interest. Keep this up as long as necessary until the pup stops pulling on the leash. You should spend a lot of time walking backwards with this training. Eventually the pup will start to focus on you as soon as the leash goes tight.
Now you can start to move along with the pup at your side. When the pup comes to you for a tid-bit, step out (start with your left foot)and start to walk in a straight line. Hold your treat down next to your left leg(with your left hand) and when the pup is in the right position, he gets the treat. Keep moving as you offer the treat and reload your hand as you move forward. If the pup looses track of what is going on, when the leash gets tight, revert to the previous work. You can also stop and move in the other direction. If the pup starts to move after something and you move away, eventually he gets the idea that he will only get what he wants by keeping the leash loose.
If you only get to the end of your driveway the first time this is fine. Better to get a good attempt than to push things too far. Make it right the first time and you will have a much shorter path to a well-healed pet. Should the pup revert to pulling, drop back to your previous work and keep at it until you are successful. Eventually, all of your work will pay off and you will have a well mannered pup out for a walk.
One note. Puppies mature faster than people but there are changes in their joints and growing plates. Walking along the road or sidewalk is hard on your growing pet. You should keep this rule in mind when out for a walk with your pet. Keep your distances short with a little pup, at 3 months the longest distance you should walk is 1/4 mile. A 6 month pup should not exceed 1/2 mile and your 1 year old should be limited to 1 mile. Dogs are fairly mature at year 2 so all distance restrictions can be removed at this point. This is not to say that a dog can’t run and exercise off of the pavement. This should be encouraged to keep your dog fit, but limit your on road work to the above distances.
Now we have covered the basics. I hope you are able to get a good start on training your pup. Feel free to ask questions in the comments, I’d love to help.