How to use a collar, leash and harness correctly with your puppy.

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Once our puppy has been vaccinated, he must go for a walk with us and therefore we will have to put a collar, a harness and use a leash. In this article we explain how to correctly use the collar, leash and harness with your puppy.

1. Get him used to wearing a collar, harness and leash from the moment he arrives at your home, even though he still can’t go for a walk.
2. DO NOT use the leash attached to the collar, always to the harness.
3. To prevent your puppy from pulling, you should leave the house quietly and his attention should always be on you. To do this, you can make “false starts” and give them their favorite prize from the entrance of the house until they return.
4.Choose the right harness and size correctly considering the physical and behavioral characteristics of your puppy.

It is recommended that, from the time your puppy comes home, he gets used to wearing his collar with an identifying plate, since it is always better to prevent accidents. Remember that puppies are usually restless, curious and very small, so it can happen that, without you noticing, they escape to explore a small space and become disoriented.

The collar should be comfortable and adjustable, and when you put it on for the first time, reward it with food and/or petting. Never force him because this will generate fear or rejection. A good technique is to choose a pleasant moment for your puppy to put it on, such as eating or playing. It is possible that at first he wants to remove it with his paws, before this distract him and, when he stops trying, reward him. After a while, distract him with something nice and remove the collar to put it back on at another time. Repeat this as many times as necessary until he starts ignoring it and you can leave it permanently. It is normal for it to take several days to get used to the collar so be patient.

You must also do this same procedure so that he gets used to the harness and leash.
Harness and leash.

Although walks are not possible until 2 weeks after the last vaccination, we recommend that you begin to accustom him to the use of the harness and leash from the beginning. This will have 2 benefits:

1. It will be easy to put on his harness and leash when he is older and stronger.

2. It will not automatically associate it to the walk so you will avoid getting too excited when trying to put it on. This is the basis to prevent it from pulling when walking.

Some experts in animal behavior recommend that, during this period, you get him used to noises and stimuli from the street through audio or by taking him for a walk in your arms, always with the authorization of the veterinarian who sees your puppy.

It is very important to mention that it is NOT good for you to use the leash attached to the collar to take it for a walk since multiple studies affirm that they cause both physical and emotional damage. For example, deterioration in some senses such as vision and/or smell, damage to the bond we have with our puppy, damage to the respiratory and circulatory systems (lower heart rate due to the pressure generated by the collar), nervous system (hernias, muscular contractures), among others.

Since your pup will grow quickly, it’s best to start with an inexpensive harness that’s comfortable and not too tight, just to get him used to it. But, when the walks begin, then you will have to select a suitable harness for it and you will have to pay attention to different variables, not only the design and the price.

How to teach him to walk without pulling.

When the vet authorizes you to start walking, you must train your puppy to behave well, turning the walk into a pleasant experience for both him and you.

There are two key principles to prevent your puppy from pulling: Let him go out calmly, without anxiety and that his attention is always on you. To achieve this we give you the following tips:

One technique to achieve the first point is to make false starts with treats: You put on the harness, you take the keys, you treat it, but you do not go out. In this way, you will not associate these elements with going out and the anxiety that is usually generated just before going out will decrease. Even better if, as a child, as we mentioned before, you got him used to the harness and leash inside your home.

To achieve the second point, it is important that the first outings are short and that you start the walk at the door of your house giving him his favorite prize, something that he really loves. Then he walks quietly, and every time he loses his attention on you, you give him the treat again. Repeat this action as many times as necessary; at first it will be very often, but over time you can postpone it.

You have to teach him that if he pulls, instead of going where he wants, he will get the opposite, so he just does it, stops abruptly for a moment or even walks to the opposite side.

repeat this action as many times as necessary until you understand it.

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By Lee Chun Hei