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We have a 12 weeks old Cavalier King Charles. Leash training is going so so, but it's going. The issue is that my puppy's trigger is leaving / approaching the house. When we are leaving for a walk he starts crying and pulling and nothing can break his mental state. No treats, no amount of excitement to go away from the house or being calm and assertive and waiting for him to calm himself down. I need to force him by pulling on the leash for about 3-4 houses after that he becomes docile and we can go on a nice walk. Until we get on the last stretch of the walk where he knows we are going home. Then he starts pulling and lunging in the direction of the home. I usually stop each time he pulls and wait for him to calm down and walk back to me. This can take more than 5 minutes at the beginning. After he is calmed and I praised him, I give him a treat from coming back to me. When I'll do one step toward the house he lunges and pulls again. The 6 houses to get home can take more than 30 minutes.

Potty training is also not going great, my puppy clearly does not recognize me as the leader of the pack.

What should I do different?

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    Do I understand correctly that the dog is pulling to stay at home before leaving (and then towards home as you approach it on the way back)? If so, see pets.stackexchange.com/questions/17305/…. At 3 months it is maybe still a bit too young for being comfortable with long (since you say you do take half an hour for 6 houses) walks. This will change as it grows older - in another 3 - 4 months you'll probably have the opposite problem... And maybe for now, there's no real need for long walks? – cbeleites unhappy with SX Oct 8 '20 at 17:50
  • Thanks I'll try that. If it wouldn't be for his stubbornness the walk would be about 5-10 min. It's from the back Alley to the front door. I think my real problem is potty training and I'll stop walks for now and just do more playtime inside to burn his energy – Alexandre Rondeau Oct 9 '20 at 16:18
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When we are leaving for a walk he starts crying and pulling and nothing can break his mental state. No treats, no amount of excitement to go away from the house or being calm and assertive and waiting for him to calm himself down.

This is completely normal for puppies. This is a thing every puppy goes though (or course, if it lasts longer, it is something else, such as underlying pain or just a disliking of walking in general).

The following are strategies/ideas to train your puppy to leave your house:

  • Drive away from home to start your walk.
    At first, an option is to drive away from your house, so that your puppy isn't being stressed out by smelling and seeing your house while walking away from it.
  • Bring a partner.
    By bringing a friend, neighbor, or family member, your puppy may be encouraged to follow and engage with the other person while walking, rather than feel stressed (regardless of whether the partner is bringing a dog themself or not).
  • Practice training while walking.
    While walking, you can stand in front of your puppy and encourage them to follow you, by holding out your hand at their eye level, showing them a treat in your other hand, and slowly walking away from the puppy. The puppy should follow, and when their nose hits your low hand, give them the treat (and if using clicker training, click the clicker), and recognize them, such as saying "good boy".

More info here.

Even if following these tips and similar, this will be a "phase" and will last for several more months. Be patient and loving, even if they are uncooperative.

I need to force him by pulling on the leash for about 3-4 houses

Try not to do this. It isn't actually helping, and over-exerting force is never a good thing (could be physically and mentally bad for your puppy). Instead, try using the above tips, or practice walking around your yard before your walk.

Until we get on the last stretch of the walk where he knows we are going home. Then he starts pulling and lunging in the direction of the home. I usually stop each time he pulls and wait for him to calm down and walk back to me. This can take more than 5 minutes at the beginning. After he is calmed and I praised him, I give him a treat from coming back to me. When I'll do one step toward the house he lunges and pulls again. The 6 houses to get home can take more than 30 minutes.

You're doing the right thing. Patience is key. If you would like to incorporate some helpful training into what you're already doing, you can practice saying "sit" each time your puppy lunges, as it stops them from lunging and helps them learn the trick "sit".

And finally, you should makes walks fun! Use lots of treats and let your puppy sniff around (see more walking tips here).

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