Behaviorist shares a simple but effective solution for teaching your puppy to behave better on the leash

Puppy sitting down while attached to a leash
(Image credit: Getty)

Learning how to train a puppy to walk on a leash isn’t as simple as it sounds but we ought to cut the little ones some slack. They're new to the world and understandably excited to sniff out and explore their surroundings. However, the sooner you’re able to show them how to behave well on a leash the better you will set them up for good leash walking when they grow up.

While the best puppy toys provide a great form of stimulation for your puppy, they can distract your dog from focusing on you on walks. Instead, Andrew Lang, owner and trainer of Paws in Nature training recommends having a pocket full of treats when teaching your pup to walk nicely.

Lang illustrates in a video shared with Tiktok exactly how puppy owners can create a training structure that will teach their puppy to stay right by their heel while walking on a leash. 


♬ Smoked out Phonk - TREVASPURA

Rather than use food as a means to bribe your pooch into doing as you say, you are going to use the treats as a way to show them that good behavior gets a reward. 

The easiest way to first practice this training solution is in your home or somewhere where there are no distractions. There is no use in throwing your puppy into the deep end where outdoor noises, people and other dogs can overstimulate them.

Then you will essentially walk a very short distance, place food at your shoe, move again, place food at your shoe and so on and so on. Lang says, “I want it to be very very structured in the sense that she catches my foot up and a piece of food gets handed to her. We turn and then we feed. We turn away and feed.”

The idea is that the puppy is getting attached to being at your heel and this should help to deter them from always pulling ahead. You can gradually extend the distance to take the training further. Teaching your puppy this lesson shows them the value of being next to you and it also means you don't have to apply lots of pressure to the lead.

One dog owner shared in the comments section of Lang's video that they managed to nail this training solution indoors but it's a whole other story when they try to practice it outside with their puppy. This will most likely be the most challenging part for many other puppy owners. Try and find quieter areas outside to practice this training and don't get frustrated if it doesn't go to plan. Your puppy is young and still adjusting to the outside world.

Want to learn more about raising a new pup? Stick around and learn how to train a puppy not to bite or read up on this vet's guide to puppy shots.

Jessica Downey
Staff Writer

 Jessica is Staff Writer at PetsRadar who joined the team after spending over a year writing for the brand’s sister site, Fit&Well. She is an avid dog spotter whilst out for her weekly runs and brings to the team a passion for creating informative and helpful digital content, which she has been putting to practice since graduating with a degree in Magazine Journalism in 2021.