When your puppy arrives home from your breeder it is very possible that it doesn’t know how to walk on a leash, as they are raised in an open space where their kennels are. Here is how we teach our puppies to walk on a leash, a very simple and general approach with basic principles that apply to any learning process.
Prepare yourself mentally and know your dog
You should be prepared at the arrival of your new family member, with lots of patience, time to spend together and understanding that any accommodation process lasts for a while. It is essential that you know how to approach your puppy step by step, gradually gaining his trust. This is important especially for a Caucasian Shepherd, as they grow up to be strong and defensive dogs and you want to have the best relationship as possible with them.
We trained puppies of different ages to walk on a leash and it takes them usually a few days of time spent with you to feel totally comfortable with the leash. We must say that each dog has a different temperament and the duration of the training can take less or more. It is important that your breeder described the temperament of your dog when you buy it so that you know best how to approach him or her. So for shy dogs it will take a few days with 10-15 minutes of leash training per day, for the more bold type of guys it can take only a few hours in one day.
It is important to spend some time with your dog when he or she arrives so that he gets accustomed to your presence and energy and feels safe around you. This is to be done prior to trying to teach him anything.
Get the dog accustomed with the accessories
Your dog has to understand that everything you propose to him is for his own good and has to feel safe whenever learning something new. So what we do is put a collar to the pup as a first stage and only leave the collar on for a couple of days for the puppy to become familiar with the feeling. Then you can add the leash and start with your first training step, also after allowing your dog to sniff the leash and just keeping it in his presence for a while. The leash is his friend and by no means should you make him associate it with any kind of stress, forced behavior or punishment.
Reward him for each progress
So after you put the leash on and he feels safe, all that you have to do is to spend some time with your dog and walk by his side with the leash on. Ideally the dog will do his own movement and exploring and you just stand by his side and walk with him. Use treats that he likes to reward him for walking with the leash on by your side. If the dog refuses to move for a long time, use some delicious incentives to catalyze his movement. It is very very important to be patient and follow the rhythm of your dog. By no means you should force him or pull him on the leash, as he will get very stressed in the process. The leash has to be something he forgets about quite quickly and just considers it a natural part of his relationship with you.
Keep rewarding him in the learning process until you feel that it all comes natural for him to walk on a leash. You can gradually pass from food rewards to vocal and touch rewards as he gets better.
Start in his familiar space and gradually move outside
You should start walking on the leash with the puppy in his place of rest in the garden or in the house. Spend the first couple of days making him feel safe with the leash at home and only afterwards go out for a short walk with him. It is important to take each step gradually and not to strain your dog for long distances from the first try.
Another dog can help
In case you have more dogs, the older ones can help with training your new Caucasian Shepherd puppy to walk on a leash. After doing the first steps of accustoming the pup with the accessories and reward him for walking with you, the other dog can step in. You can walk them together on two leashes and so the small one will just follow along and gain trust faster.
This is all that we have to say on the topic of training your pup on a leash. Remember, the connection between you two and the dog’s trust is essential from the first moment. You should pay attention at your dog, get to know him very well and be very patient and committed to his rhythm of learning.
Wishing you all the best!