¨… So suddenly I hear a very weird noise, like a tornado galloping on four legs in my living room. I walk in and ¨Simba¨ is going crazy. She is running like a maniac and possessed like a poltergeist. What’s going on?! At first I thought my puppy was going crazy and I didn´t know what to do. She was going to destroy my house and probably injured herself. As soon as I could I put the leash on her to manage her behavior … but then she started bitting and chewing the leash and even jumping and going after me!. Gabriel I need help!¨
This is a story that I get quite often. And no, don´t worry your puppy is not crazy or possessed . It´s just pent up energy that your pup needs to release. By the way, cats do it too! Just in case you have a kitty and you´re wondering.
In any case, there are different ways to deal with this behavior. One of them is using a leash, but not if you haven’t introduced the leash to your puppy first. This blog is about how to do this.
If you wait to put a leash on your pup until he or she misbehaves or goes crazy, good chances are that you are either going to dial Pawmos 911 for help or start singing the Hakuna Matata while your pup is driving you nuts. Btw, Hakuna Matata works, I sing it all the time, and it´s cheaper than Pawmos 911;)
Anyways, your new puppy has no idea what a leash is. So how you handle the introduction might save you some time and headaches.
There are two ways I recommend on how to introduce the leash to your puppy.
The first is very easy and extremely simple. Wait until your puppy is tired or even half a sleep and put the leash on. While your puppy is still calm take it off. This is a very effective way to tell your little cutie that the leash means absolutely nothing. Do this several times during the day for several days. It’ll take you no more than 1 minute each time.
The second is to put the leash on your puppy when you are going to train him or her. For example: Go and get a treat or a toy. Put the leash on and tell your pup to come to you while holding the leash. Don’t pull the leash or drag him or her around. Just hold the leash ,show the treat and start moving away from him or her. Let your puppy follow you or even chase you a little bit while holding the leash. Give a treat here and there when she or he comes to you.
When you do this kind of training be gentle and don’t put to much excitement. Excitement and Leash are like oil and water. It´s a bad mix! Remember this for the rest of your doggy life:
Take a moment to think about it. It really doesn’t make sense to get your puppy all excited and then restrain him or her with a 3 foot leash. This is like telling a 6 year old kid that he or she is going to Disney World before going to sleep. It´s just bad timing.
This is why you want your pup to associate the leash with calmness and not with excitement right from the beginning.
As your puppy grows bigger and cuter you will want to start learning how to communicate with the leash. To learn more about this click on this link: Leash communication
But for now just make sure you start with the right foot instead of singing the Hakuna Matata later.
© Gabriel Riesco, Fairfield CT, March 5th, 2018