How to Scold a Puppy for Bad Leash Behavior

Rewarding good leash behavior reinforces it.

Rewarding good leash behavior reinforces it.

If your puppy is taking you for a walk each time you take him outside, it's essential to correct his bad leash behavior to avoid dealing with it when he's an adult. Instead of yelling and punishing your pet companion, consistently reinforce good behavior to motivate him to repeat it.

Arm yourself with dog treats each time you walk your puppy. Just like petting and verbal praise, dog treats are rewards for you puppy and tell him that you're pleased with his behavior. He'll be eager to repeat the good behavior in anticipation of the treats.

Stand still each time your puppy gets excited and pulls on the leash. Firmly hold the leash in your hands close to your body, avoid eye contact with your puppy and don't say anything -- let him figure out what you want him to do.

Expect your puppy to keep pulling for a while. When he notices that his straining isn't getting him anywhere, he'll stop pulling and might sit or stand while waiting for you. Say "good boy," and give him a treat to reinforce his behavior. Repeat this tactic each time your puppy pulls on the leash -- never give in.

Say "let's go," and take one or two steps with your shoulders pulled back and your head held high. Your body language tells your dog that you're the leader of the pack.

Stop walking and wait to see what your dog does. If he walks with you and sits down on his own when you stop, say "good boy," and praise him for not straining the leash. If your pup refuses to move, entice him with a treat and wait for him to come to you before giving it to him. Repeat this consistently and gradually increase the number of steps you take.

Demand your puppy's undivided attention each time you walk him. When you notice his attention wandering off, quickly get his attention by calling his name to get him to concentrate and focus on you.

Items you will need

  • Dog treats


  • Practice walking your puppy on a leash in different locations, so he doesn't associate your corrections to just one location. Start indoors or in the backyard and gradually move the training further away from home.
  • Use a short leash to walk your puppy -- dogs on long leashes are harder to control and communicate with.
  • Spray a chew deterrent product such as Bitter Apple on your puppy's leash if he bites it while you're trying to walk him. The bad taste will stop him from attacking the leash.
  • Be consistent and patient and never allow your pet companion to get away with bad behavior while you're walking him. Letting him misbehave just once tells him it's alright and that he gets what he wants, so he'll continue doing it.

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About the Author

Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.

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