Dogs have probably been pulling on the leash since the first time someone thought it might be a good idea to loop a rope around one. They don’t like being restrained. So when you pull them back they instinctively pull the other way.
In most cases, the dog isn’t being dominant, or trying to make you mad. It’s just that there are so many interesting sights, sounds and smells to explore. He can’t wait to see what’s up ahead, so he pulls to get there faster.
And therein lies the secret to stopping your dog pulling. Start to teach your dog that, until he calms down and stops his pulling, he’s going nowhere. Here’s how;
Laying the Ground Rules
Dogs are creatures of habit so they are very observant when it comes to routines. You’ve probably noticed that, even before you pick up his lead, your dog is already getting himself worked up. I’m sure you’ve wondered how he knows what’s coming.
Most likely you have some pre-walk routine that you’re not even aware of, but that your dog has picked up on.
If you want to improve your dog’s behavior on the walk you should start right here. Don’t put up with any misbehavior. Specifically, don’t allow any boisterous behavior – barking, running, jumping up. Get him to calm down before attaching the lead. If he get’s out of hand, stop, get him to sit, then start over.
At first this can be very frustrating, but you need to be firm and consistent. It gets easier.
When the dog is calm, and you’ve attached the leash, leave the house right away. If the dog gets over-excited again, make him sit, and wait for him to calm, before proceeding.
The dog will likely want to relieve himself as soon as he’s outdoors. Allow him to do so. Once he’s done, control and limit the amount you allow him to sniff around and mark territory. Ideally you do not want to allow this at all for large sections of the walk. Allow him to explore only when you say so.
The Best Way to Stop Your Dog Pulling
If you want to stop your dog pulling, you need to stop pulling back. The way to control this behavior is to teach the dog that pulling has a negative rather than positive result. When he pulls, stop the walk and get him to sit. Only carry on with walking when he has calmed down.
At first, this will be incredibly trying. But dogs are quick learners and he’ll soon make the connection. In a short while he will understand that his walk gets interrupted every time he pulls.
Once he breaks the pulling habit start getting him to walk beside, instead of in front of you. This will also help to curb the inclination to pull, especially if a cat suddenly darts across his path!
It is also a good idea to take some of his favorite treats along while he is in training. Give a treat whenever he is walking calmly beside you and you’ll further re-enforce his good behavior.