Walking

german_shepherd_puppy_2You can’t get a rabies shot until your pup is at least three months old, and he won’t receive his final booster until 16 weeks — or longer, depending on when you start the process. Already you’re looking at four months or more, which is a lot of time for a growing dog to have pent-up energy and pick up bad habits.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are things you can do to start training your dog for the walk while you’re still stuck inside.

As early as a few weeks old, you can introduce your pup to her collar and leash. Wait until she’s doing something positive such as feeding, playing, or getting affection from you and slip on the collar and leash. The idea is both to get her used to wearing them and to have her associate them with positive feelings. If your dog fights against the leash or collar, try using treats or toys to get her more comfortable.

Go for a walk — inside
Just because you don’t want to risk taking your pup around the neighborhood doesn’t mean you can’t walk. Attach his leash and guide him around your living space so he gets used to you leading him around. If you have a backyard, you should use bathroom time as another opportunity for leash training by walking your pup out to the spot where you want him to go, instead of letting him have the run of the yard.

Help him learn to follow
Ideally, you want to be leading your dog when you’re on the walk — not the other way around. But this is a lot harder to do with a large adult dog than a tiny pup, so there’s no better time for training than now. All you have to do is put on his leash and walk a few steps. When he inevitably starts to pull, you should turn and walk in the opposite direction. You’ll stop-and-start a lot at first, but eventually she’ll get it. You can reinforce this learning by rewarding him with praise or treats when he does follow.

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