How to Get a Stubborn Puppy to Walk on a Leash

A little encouragement and perhaps a small treat will help your stubborn puppy learn to walk on a leash.
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A leash may look like a cue for tug-of-war to your puppy, who is still learning all about the world. That leash thing just might not make much sense yet—so while your puppy may be stubborn, with a mind of his own, he may also need a little patience to understand that a leash means time for wonderful walks.

Choose a Collar and Leash

Select an appropriate collar and leash to get your pup moving in the right direction. Although this may seem like a no-brainer, a vast variety of leashes are available on the market. Selecting the right one is important for helping your puppy to adjust to this new feeling of a strange contraption around his neck. He also needs to feel comfortable. A flat canvas collar that is lightweight, along with a lightweight leash, are best for a pup, according to Cesar's Way.

Help Puppy Adjust to the Collar

Place the collar on your puppy when he is busy being distracted by something else such as food or fun toys. The collar may feel funny at first, but a distraction will help him to forget that it's there. Plan to stay with your puppy for the next few hours while he adjusts to the collar. The collar should be a snug fit, but not too tight. A good rule of thumb is that you should easily be able to slip two fingers in between the collar and your puppy.

Leash Time

Place the leash on the collar. At first, many puppies may object. Squirming and generally doing anything to avoid being walked on the leash is normal. Some puppies may decide to bite the leash and pull it along beside them. Let them do this, but supervise so your puppy doesn't get into trouble. In a few minutes, pick up the leash and gently encourage your puppy to follow you. Never pull or yank on the leash. Your puppy is still learning and this is all very new to him.


Encourage your puppy to walk on the leash with small treats. Don't expect him to heel as he walks next to you. Some puppies may be hesitant to walk on the leash and decide to take a seat, looking around in bewilderment. This is normal—puppies are still figuring out what a leash does. If your puppy does this, kneel and call him to you. Encourage him to come over. Give him a small treat and then encourage him to walk next to you again.