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How To Lead Train Your Puppy

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It’s never too early to begin lead-training a puppy, even if this starts off as a game using a light-weight collar to get the puppy used to having something controlling around its neck. Some puppies walk naturally on a lead, others will require a lot of coaxing and rewarding before they will trip along quite happily beside you – patience is the key word.
What you'll need: 
A lightweight collar and lead
Begin by using a light-weight canvass/fabric collar and lead. Don’t fasten the collar too tight; as a guide, you should be able to insert no more than two fingers underneath a walking-out collar when it is fully fastened.
Start lead-training in the garden or secure area. Puppies are notoriously quick to learn that if they walk backwards, it is easy to slip their head through a collar, particularly if it’s a narrow-headed breed of dog. So don’t try pulling the puppy along by the lead at full stretch because one flick of the head and he’ll be off.
There will be a lot of rolling over and lead-biting to start with but once the game is over, encourage the puppy to walk along by your side even if only for a few steps. Talk and encourage constantly but don’t rely on treats to achieve a result.
Keep the lead taut rather than allowing the puppy to bounce around like a yoyo at the end of a lead at full stretch. Lead-training is a means of keeping your dog under control and also letting the puppy know who’s boss. No matter how hard the puppy tries to put away, keep gently pulling it back to your side and start walking slowly, keeping the lead taut at all times.
Breeds of a docile nature will demand much less patience during training than the more self-willed variety. For example: working dogs such as sheepdogs, will generally respond more easily than hounds (see How To Choose The Right Dog For The Family).
Do not take a puppy out of the home environment until it has been given all the vaccinations required. Many puppy diseases are fatal so make sure all the boosters have been administered by the vet and the medical card stamped showing the date of renewal
Once the puppy gets used to walking on the lead, choose a quiet street and begin the outside training that means confronting traffic, strangers and other dogs – all of which can be extremely confusing for a small puppy. Keep talking to give reassurance and encouragement.
When out and about, always walk facing the on-coming traffic, especially where there is no footpath. Keeping the lead taut, stop for heavy traffic (lorries, buses, etc.,) by saying ‘Stand’ - make the puppy stand and wait for the vehicle to pass before saying ‘Walk on’. Do the same with horses and riders, who will appreciate the gesture. This exercise will give the puppy confidence to be out and about in traffic.
At this stage of a puppy’s training do not use an extending lead, as you will have no control over the dog should a crisis occur when the lead is at full stretch. You can also land up with some painful rope-burns if you have to reel the dog in quickly.
Never drag a puppy along and force it to walk as it will always associate the lead with discomfort – and choke-chains are a no-no, too!
All dogs respond to socialising. Once your puppy is used to walking on the lead and learnt to respond to basic commands, it might be a good idea to join a local puppy training class. These are usually advertised in local newspapers and as doggy people are extremely gregarious, you will make friends with other dog owners. Dogs also learn from each other and it is often a good idea to walk your puppy with an older dog that knows the ropes. Remember there is no such thing as a bad dog: only bad owners.
If you go out in the car it can be very useful if the puppy can be taken with you, but make sure it is secure and safe in the back seat when travelling.
Make sure your puppy is micro-chipped in case of loss or theft
Clean up your dog's mess as you could incur a heavy fine if you don’t.


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