Attaching a leash to a dog is a way to control the dog by restraining it. Dogs also recognize this instinctively, and will try to resist your attempts. You may find it extremely difficult to leash-train your dog if it happens to be one of the very active breeds. But you will have success if you follow the ‘slow and steady’ method.
Leash-training should be undertaken as early as possible because it is easier with a puppy than with a grown dog. Make sure the puppy is in good spirits when the leash is introduced for the first time. It shouldn’t perceive it as a bad thing. It shouldn’t come to associate it with punishment. Feeding time is a good time. Just attach the leash quickly and leave it on.
The puppy will be surprised by this new development if it is his first experience. It will try to get rid of it by biting and pulling at the leash or it may show its displeasure by whining and jumping about. If the puppy has had previous experience with leashing, and if it had been a bad experience, it may even react violently. Give some treat to pacify it.
Do not handle the leash after you attach it. Just make sure the collar is sufficiently loose and the leash is light enough for a puppy. After a while, if the puppy is comfortable with walking around with the leash, you can let it out in the yard. Reward him with a treat whenever he comes to you at your command, but do not attempt to take hold of the leash. Even when the puppy is going towards a forbidden area, you should only try to distract him by picking him up and putting him elsewhere. This can continue for a few days.
Once the puppy is comfortable with walking around in the yard with the leash attached, you can take hold of the other end and follow the puppy wherever it goes. There should not be any tension on the leash. If the puppy tries to lead you in an undesirable direction, you can gently tug at the leash. The pup will be confused initially, but when you do it repeatedly, it will get the message. It may show some defiance by pulling at the leash, but you have to be firm with him. Do not scold him or use undue force to pull him. Be gentle, but do not give in to the dog’s will.
Once you establish some control over the dog and his leash, you can try taking short walks with him outside the property. Keep some treats handy to let him know when he is walking at the right pace. You should not be pulling the dog unnecessarily and he should not pull at the leash too hard. When a proper rhythm is achieved, you can take longer walks. In the beginning, avoid routes that offer too much excitement such as meeting with other dogs.
Soon you will achieve a fair amount of control over the dog, while the dog learns to recognize your intentions from the way you handle the leash. This new understanding between you two will be a great boost to your companionship.