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We got a new black lab puppy a few weeks ago and he is an absolute nightmare to walk. He is 12 weeks old and I know he needs exercise but every time we take him out he pulls like crazy and drives us nuts. We are trying to get him used to the gentle leader head collar but so far he hates it.

How long should it take before he walks nicely on a loose leash??? Any advice on how to get him to stop pulling so much?
 

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Your puppy is too young to expect him to walk on a loose leash to heel. At 12 weeks I wouldn't even have a puppy on a leash at all and I would walk him in a safe place for him to wander. If you don't have access to such a place, I would use a long leash with a harness and walk him in a local park and let him wander and explore.

Please do not use a gentle leader on your puppy, you are risking shutting him down by using it (IMO). I believe a head collar should be a last resort for an older puppy, ie over 8 or 9 months old.
 

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Teaching loose leash walking is a long process. There are so many things exciting to explore in this world for a puppy. I started when I got my puppy at 8 weeks. Even now at 20 weeks its something that requires work and I do it daily. I've used two things.

Be a tree for when she does pull. If she pulls, she doesn't go anywhere. At first we couldn't get from one end of our yard to the other. She caught on quick but that's also because I started that from the very beginning. Before that she had never had a collar or leash on before. With a pup that already knows how to pull it will take longer. Just never let the puppy pull you anywhere again. Need to go to the vet? Leave an extra 30 minutes earlier so if you need to take 20 minutes to get to the car, you're fine on time.

Teach a nice heel walk. Teach the heel sit in your home. Then take one step forward, lure the puppy to take a step forward then sit again and treat, repeat until the puppy is offering the sit immediately after the step. Then do two steps, sit reward, then when they got that do three. I did this in my house first, then in my backyard before moving up to the outside world. Anytime the puppy is at your side in a heel position (even if they didn't mean to), use a marker word (or clicker) and treat.

Here are a few videos I found helpful:



Normally a Halti requires a lot of desensitizing too before a dog will happily wear one. I typically suggest a sensation harness for the beginning, only as a supplement to the training. These types of tools only help if the training is put into effect. Otherwise they just learn to pull against whatever you put on them.
 

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Your puppy is too young to expect him to walk on a loose leash to heel. At 12 weeks I wouldn't even have a puppy on a leash at all and I would walk him in a safe place for him to wander. If you don't have access to such a place, I would use a long leash with a harness and walk him in a local park and let him wander and explore.
I don't think loose leash walking is something they can't handle at that age. They should get a lot of wandering around and exploring, I do believe in that. I also do believe that you can't expect them to be perfect. Yet I incorporated it into Aayla's daily routine. Here is her at 12 weeks and her loose leash training. I combine letting her wander around to sniff and a heel walk. I don't expect her to be perfect but use it to engage her with me. She rarely pulled then and rarely does now.

 
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How long it takes for him to walk nicely on leash depends on how much time and effort you put in. I could have a dog that walks at a perfect heel, but then she wouldn't be happy and I'm a pretty lax person, so I've made a deal with my dog. She can get her ya yas out for the first 20 minutes (consisting of a light pulling and constantly going to one side or the other) and the remaining hour is proper loose walking. I still let her walk ahead of me but the leash must remain loose. During her ya ya time she can lightly pull, stop and sniff whenever wherever, but if she does a full, nail in ground pull we stop and relax and then continue lightly. Not saying letting your dog settle into a walk works for everyone but it works for us.
 

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Hi, I always start inside first, especially since as stated above, it's harder to train if the pup is already used to pulling. Start inside, leave the leash on the dog while supervised. The videos above will give direction, but look for consistency inside, and then do same steps outside in your yard. You will have to teach this behavior in several different environments. It is a longish process, but important!! Needs daily attention.
 
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