Toby the Labradoodle came to visit us at our Sharnbrook Surgery on his first ever walk.
He had even taken a trip on a bus to Sharnbrook with his owners!
What a gorgeous puppy!
We offer all new puppy owners some top tips on getting your puppy used to lead walking:
To get your puppy comfortable with his lead, clip the lead onto the collar or harness. Once attached, take a few steps in front of him while holding the lead in your hand.
Say the words “Let’s go.” If your puppy starts pulling away or freezes, offer him a treat just in front of his nose.
Keep the food just far enough away that he will have to take one step forward to get to it.
The second the first step is taken, mark the forward movement with verbal praise and excitement and give him the treat for his attempt.
Repeat the exercise, but this time place the treat far enough away that he will need to take two or three steps to reach the delicious treat you are offering.
Coax and encourage him to move forward. Never pull or force him to move forward with the lead.
Once he does take those steps, mark and reward the forward movement quickly.
Repeat the exercise many times until your puppy is excitedly waiting for the next treat and willing to take more and more steps to reach it.
Once your puppy realises the lead is something exciting, then it is time for a real walk. Always have some treats ready to use as rewards in case he gets a little distracted along the way.
If you do not want him to pull you when on a lead, never pull him.
If he starts biting on the lead, ignore the lead biting and keep on walking. It is better to replace a lead or two while he is a puppy and teething; than many leads later in his life.
When your puppy receives attention from acting out when biting on the lead, then this encourages the behaviour.
If the lead biting is ignored, it will reduce in intensity and duration and it will stop. Offer forms of distraction with treats and always lots of praise.
Enjoy those many happy walks now with your puppy as he/she grows up!