A puppy can start to learn to walk on a leash as early as 10 weeks of age. They are beginning the stage of development where they are more curious about the world around them, they want to be near you, and they instinctively will follow you. Younger than 10 weeks you can practice talking to your puppy whenever it follows you around the house while not having any collar or leash on. To introduce a collar, harness, or leash to your puppy, take small steps. Use an appropriately sized collar and leash that is not too heavy or uncomfortable for your puppy to move in. Don’t be surprised if the puppy looks frozen in its tracks when you first put these things on it. Feed the puppy a few small treats while it is wearing the new collar, harness, and leash. Remove the new gear after only 15 seconds. Repeat this “on and off” process 4-5 times. End your training session and play this game again 4-5 hours later. Tell your puppy “Let’s get dressed” with a happy enthusiastic voice. This can all be done in the safety of your own home or backyard. Wait to take a young puppy out to public areas after it has completed the necessary rounds of vaccinations according to your veterinarians’ recommendations.
Begin the walking on a leash process with the puppy near your side. While facing the direction you want to walk you enthusiastically get your puppy’s attention and begin walking. Exaggerate your stepping movements but be slow to initiate going forward. Allow your puppy to engage in moving forward before continuing. Never tug on the leash. That will cause the puppy to freeze and appear to be refusing to move. Every 2-3 steps the puppy walks you will give a happy “good puppy” praise. Occasionally associate a verbal walking command such as “let’s go”. Use this command more frequently each time you practice. Don’t go far and don’t walk in a complicated pattern. A straight line with 90-degree turns is a simple option.