Most puppies have greater difficulty adjusting to a leash more than they do to their collar as they still have complete control of where they can go while wearing a collar but not when they are on a leash. Before you first attach the leash to puppy’s collar, make sure to have plenty of treats available for your puppy to help make the first time they experience a leash it is as positive an experience as possible. Give your puppy a treat and while he or she is eating this, attach the lead to their collar. Let your puppy drag the lead around the house for a little bit while you are there to supervise. After a couple of minutes of this, pick up the end of the leash and place some resistance on your end while the puppy walks about and explores being sure to let the puppy feel light resistance.
This is the point when the individual temperament of the puppy will come into effect and different puppies will express a range of behaviours from mild whining and crying for more placid puppies to your puppy acting as though they are a rodeo bull and twisting, bucking, pawing at the lead and even biting and chewing the lead in an effort to free themselves of the lead. Some puppies may actually urinate or even defecate if they work themselves up enough. It is important to remain calm and hold the leash while your puppy is doing this so that your puppy does not get even more worked up if they see you distressed. When the pup has calmed down, give your puppy some treats and plenty of vocal encouragement so reassure them that all is well. You can finish this session on this positive note and continue to train the following day if it has been a bit too stressful on you or your puppy but it is best to continue.
Try to get your puppy to follow you with gentle tugs of the lead and again using treats and plenty of vocal encouragement. Try to be positive and happy while training your puppy and remember to pile on the praise for any correct behaviours such as walking along near you while they are on the leash. Repeat this on at least a daily basis until your puppy is comfortable on the leash. Groodles, Labradoodles and Cavoodles tend to be comfortable with the lead quite quickly and can often be comfortable within a week or so but breeds such as Poodles or Puggles may need a little more time before they are really comfortable with walking on the lead.
Some puppies will chew their leashes every time you try to walk them and most of these will stop this habit once they are old enough to walk on the street as the sights, smells and sounds of the new world around them will distract them from doing this. For puppies that persist at this behaviour, try spraying the lower end of the leash with a bitter tasting spray designed to stop puppies chewing or change the lead to a metal chain type that will taste awful to your puppy.