Dog Pulling on Lead?

Lead walking is probably the number one thing people struggle to teach their dogs. The concept is easy – just don’t let your dog walk when the lead is tight - but putting it into practice seems to have many stumped!

Often the culprit doing the lead pulling is a young energetic dog with little self control who just wants to get to the park/dog/person quickly! Observe your dog off lead – unless they are older, they probably never just ‘walk’, more likely they are trotting or running around exploring and sniffing the environment. Pulling on lead has got nothing to do with your dog thinking they are the ‘boss’, it is simply a training issue that arises from a conflict of interests between human and dog. One wants to walk at a leisurely pace along the footpath while the other wants to run, explore and sniff!

Tips for a happy lead walking session!

  • Practice your lead walking in short sessions and low distraction areas – an hour of lead walking practice will just end in frustration.
  • Tire your dog out with a high energy game or off lead run before you start a lead walking session
  • Be consistent! If you are committed to teaching your dog to walk nicely on a lead then pulling on lead should never get them to where they want to go.
  • Go easy on the neck. Methods such as using a jerk on a choke chain used to be popular ways of teaching a dog not to pull. However, research has shown that this is likely to damage your dog’s trachea and neck (whiplash anyone?) so use a flat collar or a harness instead and never jerk your dog on the lead.
  • Make the area by your side a reward zone. When the lead is nice and loose and your dog is walking calmly by your side reward them with yummy food treats. Make your dog want to hang out at your side!

There are several things you can do if the lead tightens:

  • Change direction quickly and reward your dog for following you.
  • Stop abruptly and don’t move forward again until your dog is back by your side.
  • Introduce ‘penalty yards’ – especially if your dog is pulling towards something it specifically wants such as another dog. Just say ‘Too Bad’ and walk backwards several steps. Don’t begin approaching again until your dog is calm and focused on you.

Above all, remember this - if your dog is regularly pulling you towards dogs, people or an exciting smell then they are also regularly being rewarded for pulling. Remove the reward for pulling and your dog will learn that the only way to get where it wants to go is by walking on a loose lead!

About us

The D’For Dog team goes further than just dog training - we teach you to recognise why your dog behaves the way he or she does. You’ll learn the skills and techniques to effectively communicate with your dog and change your dog's behaviour, so that you are able to mould your pooch into the dog you’ve always wanted. Contact us now and reap the benefits of a well trained dog!

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We stand by our training methods – if you follow our programme you will see your dog’s behaviour improve! However, if you aren’t convinced after your first session, you are under no obligation to embark on a D’For Dog programme.

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