Taking your puppy for walks is a great way to provide exercise not only for your four-legged friend, but for yourself, too. Your new pup won’t know how to walk nicely on a leash when you first bring him home, but time and training will have you two going for leisurely strolls in no time. The American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Canine Good Citizen Director Mary Burch offers these tips for teaching your puppy how to walk on a leash:
• Determine what side you want your puppy to walk on and stay with that side. Consistency is key! Identify a toy or treat that your puppy loves. Before you start walking, you can use the food or toy to get your pup’s attention.
• Put on the leash and start with your puppy at your preferred side. Hold the toy or treat at the center of your waist.
• Give your puppy a verbal command to walk such as “Let’s walk” or “Heel.” As you walk forward and your puppy walks along with you, praise him by saying “Good boy, walk!”
• For every few feet your puppy appropriately walks beside you, stop and give him a little piece of the treat or let him play with the toy. Start with five steps, then build up to 10, then 15. Make sure you’re walking in a straight line. Eventually you'll be able to reduce or eliminate the use of a treat or toy.
For more tips on dog ownership, visit the AKC at www.akc.org.