The season for knitted layers is here and many of us are tempted to stay indoors with a steaming cuppa! But if you’ve recently welcomed a new pup into the family, it’s important to stay active and start instilling the right behaviours in your new pet. And after all, winter is a fantastic season to strap on your boots and take your new pup on strolls across crisp, sometimes misty wintery fields.
Whilst a puppy’s company can be great fun, their energetic behaviour can be a real challenge when taking them on walks – especially in these colder months. To help you on the journey of training your new dog, leading dog training and behaviour expert, Company of Animals has pulled together some useful top tips - available in an engaging video format as well – to help with puppy walking.
Pulling on the lead
A lot of younger dogs can pull on the lead when being walked - they just can’t wait to get out and explore the world! But depending on the strength of the dog, this could pull you or somebody else over. So, be sure to only walk when there is slack on the lead and remember to stop if your dog pulls at any time. The reality that you work 9-5, will often mean that you are stepping out with your pup in less daylight during the winter months, so make sure you have your dog on a reflective lead to stay visible in the dark.
If your dog carries on pulling, try to change the direction of your walk and reinforce that they need to follow you and not vice versa. Using a front control harness such as the Halti Walking Harness will help teach your puppy that they shouldn’t pull the lead whilst giving you maximum control. Rewarding good walking with a little treat is a great way to reinforce this behaviour for the future.
It’s fun to chew
If your dog is a chewer and enjoys a cheeky bite on the lead whilst out walking, try distracting them with a toy and encourage them to chew that instead. If he does chew the lead, then make sure you don’t pull as this could be perceived as an invitation to a game of ‘Tug of War’. Instead stop walking and hold on to your dog’s collar until he is relaxed. Again, rewarding positive behaviour teaches your puppy to see the lead as a cue for relaxation, rather than as a trigger for excitable mouthing.
Perfect your pups’ manners
Some puppies can struggle with their manners and understandably so - they haven’t had chance to learn any yet! Getting good manners in early will keep your puppy safe, and aid other training.
Remember to not let your dog charge ahead of you when walking out. The sudden pull on your arm can cause damage and even result in you slipping on wet leaves or ice. What’s more, you don’t know what’s around the corner so it’s best to be safe. Have your puppy stay still and reward him when waiting for you to lead him out.
Moreover, our four-legged friends - especially the young ones - can get very excited when meeting new people. A Halti Walking harness will help deter them from charging ahead or jumping all without restricting their movements - making it easier to encourage better manners when out walking. Or using the Halti Double Ended Lead will allow for your dog to have freedom to explore the (possibly!) snowy ground, whilst you also maintain control and ensure they don’t hurt themselves while doing so.
Take all the necessary precautions to ensure that you and your dog are safe when walking outside during these colder, darker months. Carry a torch with you and make sure your dog is wearing a harness and lead made with reflective fabric to make sure traffic can see you and your pup in the dark!
For those days when it’s too cold for a long walk outdoors make sure you stimulate your puppy with some fun indoor training games. You can hide some toys/treats around the house and have them look for it. Make sure you use commands such as stay which will help reinforce those words when you come to use them whilst walking. Whether it’s sit, stay, or lie down – being indoors provides an easy and stress free location to learn some new tricks.