Collars, Leashes & Walking – Oh My!

So you’ve brought your puppy home, you’ve survived your first night, you’ve cuddled and played and cleaned up the roll of toilet paper that you’re new addition thought was a toy….But you’ve yet to venture outside.

{Cheengoo Leashes & Harnesses modeled by Truffles}

Fitting your new puppy with a collar and leash, and them training them to walk with one is one of the most important things you can do as a new owner. A dog who can walk safely and confidently is a happy dog, which makes for a happy owner. And believe me it will save you years of hearing the joke, “Looks like its the dog taking YOU for a walk!”

The first port of call is getting a snazzy new collar for your puppy. I’ve always found the best choices are adjustable fabric collars – they are durable, easily cleaned, soft on your dog’s skin and also come in a whole range of pretty colours and designs! The golden rule for fitting a collar is once the collar is on you should be able to fit two fingers in between the collar and your dog’s neck. This means the collar is not too tight as to choke your pupster, but also not too loose that it may fall off. A great little extra feature to look for in a collar is a breakaway snap-lock. This means that whilst your dog’s collar will stay firmly attached for walks, should they find themselves caught on a fence or other such object the collar will give away preventing injury, allowing the little fella to safely walk away.

So now that we have your pooch rocking a brand new collar, the next choice to make is harness or leash? To be completely honest it really comes down to a matter of preference. If your dog if comfortable with a leash and collar it’s perfectly fine, if he prefers a harness that’s good too. Leads are quick and easy to attach, whilst harnesses are super convenient for walks and car trips alike. Don’t be afraid to trial them both and let your new pup guide you as to what they prefer.

{Polka Passion Collar, Cherry Stitch Collar & Manhattan in Spring Lead from Cheengoo}

What ever you choose the main thing is to get your new puppy used to wearing his collar and lead at home before you take him out for his first walk. After your little bundle of fluff gets used to wearing the collar and/or harness start to attach the lead and take him for gentle walks around the home. Positive reinforcement is always the best way to go, praising your puppy when they walk calmly by your side and merely stopping if your pup starts to roll around, pull or bite at the leash. At times it can seem like you’re walking for 2 steps and stopping every 5 seconds, but that’s a puppy for you! (I secretly think that’s why they were made so cute!) Keep your in house walking sessions short and end with some playtime each time as a reward.

When it comes to the big day of taking your pup out for their first walk the first thing to do is check with your vet to make sure your little boy or girl is fully vaccinated so it’s safe for them to face the big, wide world. As a rule of thumb it is usually one week after their last vaccination that they can visit the local park and socialise with other dogs. That said, choose a day and time when your local street and park is fairly quiet and go for a short walk around your neighbourhood ultilising the heeling technique you have been using at home. That way your fluffy can enjoy their first walk and then slowly build up to longer, more interactive outings.

There is nothing more exciting for your puppy than going for a walk. I think everytime I say ‘walk’ to Soda it’s like I’ve just screamed ‘You’ve won the Lottery!’ I believe a good dog walk involves a nice amount of exercise and lots of new smells for your puppy to check out. A walk for a dog is just like a shopping spree, just like you wouldn’t want to be dragged away from a half price Louboutins sale, let your dog stop and smell the roses every once in a while. You’ll love the time you get to spend with them every day and they’ll love you just for taking them – there’s no better way to start your day.

How did you train your dog to walk on a lead?
Do you prefer a harness or lead?

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Comments (2)

2 responses to “Collars, Leashes & Walking – Oh My!”

  1. Bakes says:

    I will definitely stick to cloth/fabric collars if that’s what’s best for my Max! But I am desperate for a stylish (but simple) dog name tag that’s good quality. Any suggestions?

  2. Serena Faber Nelson says:

    Hi Bakes,
    My favourites are the stainless steel designs over at Pet Tags – (they deliver worldwide)
    Or if you’re after something with a bit of colour but not too over the top try Pets Palace – (Australia based)
    Hope this helps!

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