If you want to take your pet outdoors, you’ll need a dog leash to guide them. Many young pups don’t naturally take to walking on a leash, so you must train them to stay obedient when their collar is on. If you recently adopted a new family member and want to teach them to wear their leash, here are some steps you can take to prepare them for walks.

How to Teach Your Pet to Wear a Leash

1. Use Dog Leashes Indoors

Since they go around an animal’s sensitive neck, wearing a collar or harness with a leash attached takes some getting used to. To keep from overwhelming your pup by taking them outside with all this new gear, let them get used to it in the comfortable environment of their home. Once they forget it’s there, attach a leash and have them practice walking indoors before taking them outside.

2. Reward Them for Good Behavior

Giving your dog a reward when they do something right will encourage positive behavior. When they sit to allow you to put on their harness and leash, give them a treat or throw them their favorite toy. You can also continue this reward system when you go out for walks by bringing treats with you. Reward them when they listen to your commands, which will teach them to stay well-behaved.

3. Calmly Address Bad Habits

There will be times when your puppy gets overexcited or fails to listen to you. Instead of panicking or tugging on their leash, which could cause them pain, halt and stand still until they settle down. Call them over to you and reward them for listening. This teaches them that the walk stops if they try to tug on the leash or if they don’t listen to you.

4. Upgrade to a Harness

If your dog is a strong puller and needs time to learn restraint, switch to a harness to avoid trachea laceration from pulling on a collar. A “bungee” style leash will help train them not to pull. Best of all the “Freedom No-Pull Harness” (shown below, available in all sizes and colors at AK Bark) which will instantly give you better control and quickly train your dog with not to pull on the leash.