Loose Lead Walking




Teaching your puppy to walk nicely on a loose lead is really useful, whether you live in a busy city environment, or the rural countryside. Walks are so much more enjoyable when your puppy is relaxed and focused and you’re not being pulled down the street.

Before you get started, decide which side you would like your puppy to walk on, and which hand feels the most natural to hold the lead. Set yourself up with treats on the same side as your puppy, so that you can deliver them with the hand closest to them.

Whenever you reward your puppy, make sure it’s in the zone right beside your leg, where you want your puppy to be the most.

Creating a zone where you reward every time will make your puppy more likely to remain in this place right beside you.

To start with, you’re going to turn away from your puppy, and take a step. As your puppy turns and steps with you mark for a loose lead and reward beside your leg.

Be generous with your rewards so that your puppy loves playing this game.

Next you’re going to start moving forward together, reward for every step to begin with, and gradually increase the distance you walked together before rewarding. When your puppy is doing really well with this, they will start to hang out next to you more. They will anticipate rewards being delivered and this will cause them to look up at you.

Mark and reward for eye contact, every time your puppy offers it.

Now that they’re doing really well with their loose lead walking, you can start to add in turns. Practice first turning away from your puppy, as you’re moving and reward them in position.

Next up, you’re going to introduce turns towards your puppy too. These are harder as your puppy has to really watch where you’re going.

When your puppy is doing really well with this, you can add the next stage. You’re going to teach them to stop and sit, when you stop moving.

Practice asking your puppy to sit as soon as you come to a halt. Mark and reward every time they do it right. After a few repetitions, see if your puppy offer a sit when you stop. When they get really good at offering a sit as soon as you stop moving you can start to practice in more distracting environments. Reward them for remaining focused on you throughout.

You can start to practice in different locations, with more and more going on around them.

As always, training at your puppy’s pace is really important. Make sure to drop it back to an easier level, if they’re finding it hard.

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