To humanely teach a puppy or an adult dog what a Collar, Leash or a Harness is:

Don’t do it all in one day!!! Don’t just put the Collar or Harness on, attach a Leash and start dragging the frightened animal around until it submits out of Fear!!! Think about it!!! Yes, it is soon leading around but OUT OF FEAR, not a willingness to please. Dogs love to please their humans, let it be out of correct teaching and not FEAR.

No puppy should be leash trained until 10 to 12 weeks old. 12 weeks old being preferred. Yes, it can wear a collar/harness and even drag a leash around with close supervision in case the dragging leash gets tangled on something. But give the pup time to learn what is around its neck and what a leash means!!! NOTE: Many people do not have a well padded and/or perfectly fitted HARNESS for their pup or dog. Thus rub sores may result. Make sure the Harness fits the dog. As the pup grows, a new harness or collar must be purchased to fit the bigger animal.

An adult dog that has never had a collar/harness or leash on must be treated just as gently. In fact even far more so!!!

The best method is to place the collar on the puppy or dog. Let the puppy or dog wear it for two days to a week. Then attach a short leash while under supervision at all times for another two or three days. Assisting the animal if it gets wrapped around table or chair legs, trees, etc, freeing him/her immediately to prevent mental stress.

Then when the animal has become accustomed to the dragging leash (stepping on it, mild pulling on it when the puppy/dog lays on it or drags it around furniture, etc.) pick up on the end of the leash and sit or stand quietly while the dog figures out that this time, it is caught without any rescue. Do this several times in different locations. Don’t pull on it; in fact give an inch or two? Give the animal slack if the struggle is serious.

Now for training the dog to follow or respect this new restraint. Ask the pup or dog to come with you using your voice to ensure that you mean “No Harm”. Treats given when the dog submits to the pull are a good idea. Ease the animal along with Patience and Kindness. Soon he/she will have it figured out and be responding to the pull on the leash willingly and not out of Fear.

The basic teachings of Come, Follow and Heel beside you are now only a step away. Without using Fear and fighting on the puppy/dog’s part, you have just become a “Humane Animal Trainer”. Congratulations!!! Gayle Bunney at

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