Any ideas for leash training? Every time I try to walk my puppy she just lays down. The first walk was great, it was with me and my husband. She was running and doing really great. But when I try to walk her by myself she won't walk.
If she won't walk, then pick her up and carry her about half-mile from home, where she won't recognize her surroundings. Just stand there while she looks around, and when she starts to move, follow her. Soon you'll guide her some, but the joy of adventure is what motivates her to keep moving. If you know of any fenced area where you could have her off-leash, just toss a ball around, then that would help her understand that being outside with her is a special time to play and go places fun! (04/06/2008)
A harness is best for training and safer for a puppy. A short leash which you hold at a point only long enough between your waist and the puppy with one hand (hand on side puppy is walking) and the other hand holds the handle of the leash. In this manner the puppy simply cannot roll over or lie down because you hold the leash firmly with no slack.
It helps to wrap the leash once around the hand closest to the puppy for complete control. Firm low-tone commands, kindly spoken, but without ending on a high note (like when someone asks a question). You are in control. Keep small treats in your pocket on the side away from the puppy, you can give them periodically with that hand while keeping the leash snug, while saying "good walk" once calmly and then immediately start walking again. With puppies, one-word commands work best...good sit, good potty, etc.
If puppy is struggling, whining, barking and such keep walking. If puppy is good for a few steps - treat and praise. After 3 treats in a row give puppy free range to sniff, pee, trot ahead of you for 30-60 seconds, then start the controlled walk again. After a few walks like this you should have a fairly obedient puppy.
As a side note, never hit, yell at, or scold a puppy. You want a puppy to feel safety, love, and self-control from you at all times. If puppy misbehaves, one sharp sound is sufficient (the sound people make when they wag a finger at a child, enh, enh, enh - but only one and firmly but not with anger or a questioning tone). And more often than not, simply redirecting the puppy to a good behavior is better - such as biting, give the puppy an approved toy with no scolding.
Teach a puppy to sit and you have the ultimate in redirection: jumping, tell puppy to sit and give love; barking, tell puppy to sit and give love, and so on. It's surprising how easily they are tamed in this manner - really they only want to love and please you. Let them. (10/11/2008)
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