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How To Stop Your Dog Pulling On The Leash

 by danielle on 05 Sep 2014 |
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A dog that pulls on the leash can make a walk in the park a battle rather than a pleasure. If your dog pulls the problem can be corrected with training and effort on your part, as well as a number of modern devices that can assist you in gaining control of your pet.
 
The foremost thing to remember when approaching this issue is that dogs are not born knowing how to walk on a leash. Like learning to obey the ‘sit’ command, or not to go to the bathroom in the house, a dog must be taught how to walk neatly with you on your walks.
 
Naturally, a dog exploring a new place will tend not to walk in a straight line at a consistent pace. They will wander side to side, pause to sniff something, run wildly for a few minutes, sniff something else and pee on everything they possibly can. The leash interferes with these behaviours, leading to tugging and a strained arm on your part as your dog tries to do as it wishes heedless of you and your wishes.
 
Generally speaking, a dog pulls because they find that it works. Pulling means they get to sniff that odd thing on the ground. Pulling means they get to talk to the other dog they wished to or get to the park faster. If pulling works from your dog’s perspective, why stop?
 
Teaching your dog to cease their pulling behaviour is centred around explaining to them pulling will not get them what they want. One great training technique is to put your dog on a leash and walk forwards as you usually would. As soon as your dog starts to pull, stop and start walking backwards. When the lead becomes loose again, walk forwards and give your dog a treat. If the pulling starts again, start walking backwards again. Pretty soon your dog will get the idea pulling doesn’t achieve anything, where as a loose lead means treats and the opportunity to go forwards.
 
Consistency is important when training no-pull behaviour. Once you begin, every time you go for a walk you must continue your training. If your dog succeeds once at achieving what it wishes by pulling, you are back to square one.
 
Headcollars or specially designed no-pull harnesses are also an option for headstrong dogs. Rather like a horse’s halter, headcollars work by giving the owner control over the dog’s head, making it difficult for the dog to pull. Harnesses designed for this purpose tend to have features which contract under the armpits, discouraging dogs from surging ahead and giving the owner enhanced control.
 
 

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