Pulling on the lead is one of the most common problems that people have with their dogs. So why is it that we see some dogs walking beautifully on a loose lead?
We need to understand why they pull on the lead to be able to stop them doing it.
Dogs pull on the lead because they want to get from A to B quicker than we do (or are capable of doing), so it follows that if they pull on the lead and are rewarded by getting to B quicker then they will learn to pull on the lead!
So how can we stop them?
It’s important that your dog starts out on his walk in a calm state of mind ….. There are some stages to work through to achieve this.
- Exercise your dog in the garden before your walk – it will take the edge off his excitement.
- If the sight of the lead makes him excitable then you need to desensitise him to it. To do this just keep picking it up and moving it around without saying anything to your dog – put it on your dog and then remove it. Do this again an hour later so that your dog doesn’t automatically associate going for a walk with seeing the lead or indeed having it attached to his collar.
- Another important stage is to make your dog sit and wait for you to exit the house first. With a loose lead ask your dog to sit by the door – open the door – if your dog pushes through it then bring him back – close the door – remove the lead and try again after five minutes.
Time spent getting these initial stages correct is so important.
For a dog who is a seasoned puller you may wish to try a head collar like a halti – these works on the same principle as a horse’s head collar…. if you control the head then the body will surely follow!
Break it down into stages…
- Allow your dog to sniff the head collar.
- Put it on and give your dog a titbit – take it off – put it on, give a titbit again – take it off…..
- Put it on when feeding your dog.
- Put it on for their walk – attach a lead to it and another lead to ordinary collar so that it isn’t too much of a shock when the dog pulls.
- Use it independently.
It’s important to go through these stages to familiarise your dog with the head collar. If you just put it on and start to use it straight away you are quite likely to meet resistance!
Please share your experiences of how you overcame your dog pulling on the lead in the comments box below.
Next time ……Travelling with your dog.