black dog with red collar and leash

Dear Cesar,

We have a 13 week old Springer, and it is impossible to take him for a walk. He will not leave the yard. My husband just tried to walk him, and the puppy was so upset that he threw up! Please help. My husband eventually wants him to be a bird dog!

Thank you,
Kristina Harris

Cesar Millan’s answer:

Dear Kristina,

Often, it takes the help of another dog to motivate a troubled puppy. It’s completely normal for a puppy to fight a human’s influence. A human being wouldn’t be training a puppy in a wild pack, after all. So in this situation, you want to go back to basics, and what could be a better motivation for a curious new puppy than an adult dog who already feels good about himself? If you have relatives or friends with a dog that is more comfortable or experienced with the process of walking, you can bring him in to teach the puppy. Begin by walking around the inside environment using something to motivate the puppy, something that gets him excited. Then slowly bring the puppy out into the yard, and eventually outside of it. The older dog will help him adjust, and once the puppy crosses the line, you can give him something – food, a toy, or any other reward.

Don’t use the leash yet! A 13 week old dog doesn’t need a leash right away. The best leash you have is the mind, and you want this dog to develop trust. From birth to 8 months, a leash is mostly unnecessary. It’s better to gain the trust and respect naturally than with something we’ve invented. Sometimes I’ll put the leash on and let him drag it on the floor–so that he associates it with freedom–but I’ll make sure he’s still following me. I want him to slowly realize that he has to follow me, regardless of whether the leash is hanging or tight. Eventually, I’ll pick up the leash. At first, he may protest against the physical restraint, but that’s when you have to stay calm. He’ll warm up to it eventually, especially under the guidance of the larger, wiser dog. 

Stay calm and assertive,
Cesar Millan

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