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Walking on a leash

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How do I start adjusting belle to walking on a leash? I’ve got her used to having a collar on but if you put a leash on, she freezes and sometimes lays down. I certainly don’t want to pull her or make her more fearful. Is there a good way to teach her that walks are fun and the leash is safe?

i never had this problem with Alfie, he took to a leash straight away.

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Desensitisation is key.  Small steps!  Start by showing her the leash on the ground and reward her (treat, praise, toy - whatever floats her boat) for moving towards it.  Give her a jackpot reward for actually touching it.  Once she is comfortable with it on the ground and unmoving, pick it up and repeat the steps. Then put the leash on, reward her , take it off.  Build up the time the leash is on until she doesn't worry about you putting it on.  Then encourage her to move and reward her for moving (no matter how small the movement) with the leash on. Then build up the movement.  Let it trail behind her around the house until she starts to ignore it.  Then pick it up and walk around the house with it until she is fine with that, then look at taking her outside with it. 

You may not need to take it that slow, but better slow then push too hard and start again with an added learned fear.  BC's are smart enough to learn quickly.  It will not take long before the sight of a leash brings joy, especially once she realises it means fun walkies time!

Or maybe pick her up, carry her to the car, then take her somewhere interesting and attach the leash as you let her out to sniff, explore and be fascinated.  She may be more focussed on the exciting things in front of her than the leash.  Of course, this is more risky.

Either way, the aim is to build up a positive association with the leash. 

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Second everything Lawgirl says. My pup is now 4 months old. I started by sitting with the leash in my lap and he got used to it being around. Eventually put it on and got the big freeze and lie down. Just kept putting it on and taking it off if no interest in moving. With a little coaxing by putting a treat inches from his nose he eventually took the first step forward to get the treat. Slow and consistent and they get the message. Don't be in a rush as it comes along in time.

Good luck.


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6 hours ago, Miss Vixen said:

I’ve managed to get her to approach and touch the leash whilst it’s on the ground today so that’s a good start ☺️

That sounds like an excellent start.  Be sure to keep sessions fairly short, but you can do several in one day.  Puppy attention spans are not long, and you would like to finish every session on a positive.  If things aren't going well, finish on a trick she knows, like sit or give paw, huge praise and reward then leave it for a while.

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