|Barked: Sat Jan 5, '13 12:29pm PST |
|It's true it's better to start training sooner than later, but 9 weeks is very young to expect a puppy to have good leash manners. At 9 weeks, the leash is still a complete novelty. You certainly can and should start training at this age, but I wouldn't make it your main focus. Like I said, do short, fun, 2-3 minute training sessions a few times a day. As he gets older, gradually increase the length of your sessions. You want to end a session before he gets bored and checks out.
For loose lead walking, have you tried the "tree method"? Anytime he puts any tension on the leash, you stop moving completely. When he comes back toward you and makes the lead slack again, reward with praise/food, and keep walking. This does take time, and he won't get it right away, but as with any training, consistency is key. If you aren't already, I'd recommend clicker/marker training, as it will make it much clearer to him what you're rewarding him for, and your training will progress more quickly. Start in a low distraction area, like in the house. Set him up for success by making yourself the most interesting thing available, then gradually add distractions. But again, walks at his age should mostly be about exploring, not perfect loose lead walking.
Just remember that while training is important, and it is good to start young, before he hits his bratty adolescent phase, you don't want to burn him out on obedience. Make sure all training at this age is fun, fun, fun, with no corrections. When teaching anything new, he doesn't know what you want yet, so it's unfair to correct him for getting it wrong. Clicker training is great for teaching new behaviors because it doesn't punish mistakes, and it encourages the dog to think and figure out what you're asking for.
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