One of the most effective ways to prevent bad puppy behaviors from happening and help with overall training strategies is to have your puppy wear a leash inside and trail it behind him wherever he goes. You should always either watch your puppy or manage his behavior by putting him safely in a crate or other puppy-proofed area. If you are feeling guilty about using the crate, read this post about getting over the guilt of crate training.
Reasons for Trailing a Leash
- Prevent destruction. The more often your puppy learns that "the couch tastes yummy" or it is fun to chew on shoes, the behavior will become stronger over time. It is so much easier to prevent your puppy from learning bad habits rather than changing strong behavior patterns.
- Prevent counter surfing. This is another name for stealing food or objects off of tables or counter tops. If your puppy is already doing this, see my Counter Surfing video for step-by-step instructions for correcting this problem.
- Housetraining. For puppies that tend to go frequently, you can attach the leash to your belt to keep your puppy with you until you learn his patterns and signals.
- Prevent rushing guests and jumping. Whenever you have guests or family members enter the home, gently pick up the leash and prevent your puppy from charging the door. Then, ask for a simple behavior such as “Watch me” or “Sit” and then allow him to say hello. If he jumps, gently move away until he stops jumping and then allow him to say “Hello” again.
- Prevent barking out of the window. Barrier frustration is a problem that starts slowly and can build over time. Gently move your dog away from the window or call him to you if he barks. Learn more about Barrier Frustration.
- Periodic training. Whenever your puppy is away from you, you will have an opportunity to work on “Come”, when he is looking away you can say, “Leave it” or “Watch me”. You can also work on “Stop” or occasionally pick up the leash and work on leash walking. The more training you do, the more your puppy will learn! The leash can be used as a “helper” to gently guide your puppy into position for any of these behaviors.