Updated: Oct 26, 2021
Walks should be enjoyable for both dog and human, sometimes it can be a struggle when you have a dog who loves to pull.
Why do dogs pull?? Simple answer - It gets them to where they want to go faster! Being outside is super exciting for most dogs, the smells, the critters, ot
her dogs and people. Dogs do repeat behaviors, once they have it in their minds that pulling is rewarding they will do it over and over.
No need to worry, you can change that behavior.
what is your dog wearing?
It can be a bit of trail and error when it comes to picking what to use when walking your dog. My personal opinion - I only use harness for play time or hiking - otherwise just your typical collar and leash is what we use. If your dog tends to lead with their nose using a head collar may be beneficial, and no these are not muzzles! They help handlers encourage their dogs to keep their head up vs on the floor to minimize any pulling. Gentle leader harnesses the ones that clip in front of the chest vs the back help redirect any pulling by bringing the dogs body back to you when they do pull. Slip leads, a simple collar leash combo just slips over the pups head and around the neck. It provides slight pressure when they pull discouraging them to continue. Of course you have your more adverse tools such as a prong collar.
Without training - none of these options will stop pulling lets get to that !
2. Be more Valuable
What does that mean exactly? We are constantly competing with other stimuli in the world. If we can get our dogs to view us as the most important, most valuable thing out there then they are going to choose to be next to us! Now do not be discouraged, it can be hard to compete with those squirrels. Practice makes perfect.
3. The way to the heart Food / Toys
Ready for the big secret! Teach your dog to stay next to you by following these simple steps- walk backwards, when your dog gets close to your feet say yes and drop a treat (use a toy for those dogs who prefer toys over treats) best to practice just going back and forth on your street if that is to distracting then just your driveway. You are teaching your dog that following you is very very rewarding. Remember to only treat when they get as close as possible to your feet because we want them to use our feet as a visual marker to stay next too. Once you feel they are pretty consistent on staying close to you and not getting sidetracked, its time to turn forward and practice the same exercise when they are next to your foot say yes and treat. When it comes to changing direction make it easy say their name to get their attention then give command (Lets go, Heel, etc) when they get back to your foot say yes and treat.
4. Its the Quality of your walk not the Quantity
Dogs do not generalize behaviors, some ares may be more distracting than others. So keep in mind, new places you got to practice like you are just teaching them for the first time. Use a reward that is more valuable than the surroundings. Your dog can get a 30 minute walk practicing not to pull on just your street, they do not need to go for a 2 mile walk pulling you.
5. Train the dog that is in front of you
If you have a very excited, energetic dog when it is walk time. Practicing to not pull maybe a power struggle. Instead play a game of fetch or work on their recall, in other words get them to burn off some of that energy before walking that way they are in a better mindset to be good listeners. Set your dog up for success.
Need more help with leash skills? Contact me I would love to work with you and your pup on developing better leash manners.