What! Your dog does not want to walk on a leash?

As much as we want to think puppies are born to understand what a collar and leash is…the truth is they won’t get it. Most of the time, your new puppy has never even seen a leash or a collar.  Dog training 101: you need a marker word that indicates to your puppy they have done something right. My marker words is YES!  It is quick, easy and it rolls right off the tongue. You can choose any word like such as “nice” or “wow,” it’s up to you, just make sure you use it every time they succeed! Once you have your marker word you will then always want to follow it up with what the puppy has done right. If ask my puppy to sit (and he did) I would say “yes” “good sit”.

Collar & Leash Training

Start SLOW! The first step is ensuring they get used to their collar first. This should be done by putting it on for short periods at a time. I start by saying “collar” and then rewarding with a “yes” good collar and treat as the collar is put on. This makes the collar fun and you reaching for his neck to grab or put a collar on fun. 380636_921687948259_8594444_n

Getting used to the leash can be tough so start off in a place with very few distractions. I like to start by putting the leash on inside where distractions are fewer and your puppy is familiar with the environment. Start by just putting the leash on your puppy and let him drag it around. Ensure the environment is clear of anything the puppy could get caught up in with his leash. When your puppy drags it around without having any issues reward by saying “yes” good leash and treat.  Let your puppy drag the leash around a few days in small increments and ensure you are marking the behavior.

After your puppy can handle that, pick up the end of the leash and apply a bit of pressure against his collar. If he responds well, reward the behavior. Do this several times a day and then let him wander around outside wherever he wants to go. You, of course, are watching him to ensure he is in a safe area. Do this often and your pup should have no issues with the leash.

Puppy Checklist- Must Haves

I recently had a client send me photos (see photo below) of the things her family purchased for the arrival of their new puppy. Boy were they excited! Two hours and $300 later, they had more than enough for puppy! She asked me how they did and I said that puppy is going to be so incredibly spoiled! All of these items are great and the best part is they won’t have to purchase toys and treats for along time:)  As new puppy owners, it is often hard to know what to purchase so here is a list of my top ten most important items to purchase as you prepare for puppy.


Choose a kennel that fits your puppy properly – he/she should be able to stand up and turn around.  If you purchase an oversized kennel ensure that it comes with a divider as an oversize kennel can make house training difficult. Kennels should be a place your puppy identifies as a safe place to be.

Puppy Bed:

Great beds for puppies are stain-repellent, durable, tear resistant, and washable. It will be worth the investment as a typical puppy will have accidents and can be destructive by nature.

Puppy Food:

Pick up some of the food your puppy is currently eating. Regardless whether your puppy stays on this food or not, you should feed your puppy food that it is used to for at least a week before switching. A new home is stressful enough on a puppy. Staying on the same food can decrease the likelihood of digestive upset. If you want to change your puppy’s food, gradually mix with and replace your puppy’s current diet over the course of a  week.


Treats can make training easier and faster for your puppy. It’s good to have a variety of low-value and high-value treats. What is the difference? Low value treats are not meant low value as in quality. Low-value treats are something he gets all the time and is not really going to go out of his way to do exactly what you want when you want for that treat. This is typically your regular dog training treats you get from a bag. High-value treats are something the puppy doesn’t get often. Special treats and only used for exercises that are harder to teach. This could be anything freeze dried, cooked hot dogs, string cheese, etc. Because it’s easy to overdo, make sure treats are small enough to be only a tiny bite of flavor, never enough for a meal replacement.

Chew Toys:

It is no secret that puppies chew. If you don’t have an adequate supply of cheDental-Chew-toysw toys on hand, you can kiss your shoes, purses, and furniture goodbye. There are plenty of age-specific dog chew toys on the market. Purchase different textured toys so your puppy experiences different things to chew on. This helps prevent them from getting bored by chewing the same toy.

Water & Food Bowls:

These don’t need to be fancy as they will outgrow the small sizes quickly.  Stainless steel are better than plastic ones because they’re easier to keep properly clean, and can’t get chewed up.

Collar & Leash:

Training them to get used to a leash and collar early is an essential socialization skill. For young puppies who are still learning, make sure your leash is short enough that they will be in your control and save the long leashes for when they are a bit older. A 6 foot leash is perfect. And remember, we often host group walks!90101-main-200_2

Collars should be snug enough that a puppy can’t back out of them, but large enough for 2-3 fingers to slip comfortably underneath. Remember, a growing puppy will need a new collar several times during the puppy stage. Avoid collars that have a plastic buckle and opt for the belt buckle. There’s more information in my leash blog.

ID tags:

It’s surprisingly easy for a new puppy to slip out of your yard/arms/fclassiclineclusterront door – and a puppy or dog with no identification is never any good. Invest in an ID tag for your dog as soon as possible, as well as micro-chipping. This will help your escape artist return home.

Grooming Supplies:

While you don’t need a shampoo specific to puppies (tearless is always good), you will need one specific to dogs, as their sensitive skin is easily irritated by the stripping cleansers in shampoos designated for people.

Have a good brush on hand as well to get your puppy used to being groomed. Brushing helps keep the coat shiny and healthy by spreading the oils in their skin through the coat.

Pet Cleaning Supplies:

No matter how careful you are about potty-training, the occasional accidents are a fact of life with puppies. Clean them up with any pet-safe targeted pet mess cleaners on the market.