Having a well-trained dog on the leash starts with training at a young age. When the pup learns the skill of focusing on you, rather than surging ahead on the leash, then things really start to swing. The best time to start teaching these skills is with a young pup, as his brain is geared to learning and he will pick things up quickly, establishing good habits from a tender age.
However, old-fashioned training methods relied on harsh correction and jerking the puppy roughly on the neck to get him to walk to heel. Happily, these harsh methods are discredited, as teaching through fear and discomfort. Altogether more appropriate methods using rewards are the way ahead.
A well-trained Labrador should walk by your side on a loose leash, without pulling or tugging. Of course, a puppy is easily distracted by a big and exciting world of sounds, scents, and sights, so harsh correction is not appropriate and you should work using reward-based methods to make training exciting.
I've been trying to get my puppy to follow me off-leash, but she wanders around, (not running away) She doesn't stay with me or close to me. How do I fix this?
Hello Anika, Purchase a light-weight (but strong) 30-foot training leash. Go to an open area like a park, cul-de-sac, or field. Walk away from puppy and let the leash gently tug her if she doesn't catch up on her own when she hits the end of it as you get further away. When she catches up with you, praise her and reward with a treat from your pocket. Randomly walk around and periodically change directions. Whenever she comes over to you or stays next to you by choice while you walk her on the long leash, praise and give a treat - without commanding her to follow or come. Also, practice Come on a long leash using the Reel In method from the article I have linked below. Take her places where you can safely practice Come and the following, and randomly interchange practicing the following and the Come command to keep her attentive and interested. Practice all of this in a variety of locations. As she improves, transition to a 50 foot super-light weight training leash, then transition to no leash in a fenced in area when she will reliably come and follow all the time on the long leash in a variety of locations. Reel in method for teaching come: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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