Going out for a walk is one of the most exciting times of the day for many dogs. Pulling on a lead makes perfect sense to them because it’s the way to make more fascinating discoveries even faster. It’s a natural reaction.
So how do you stop this constant tug of love? Read on for the tips you need and learn how to stop a dog from pulling on your leash safely and effectively.
Understanding Your Dog’s Breed
It’s worth taking a moment to consider potential instincts common to the breed of your dog. For example, as you might expect, Huskies tend to be a more difficult breed of dog to train with a leash. Dog breeders have long used them to pull heavy loads.
Spaniel breeds seem to instinctively know how to flush game from the undergrowth. Their noses are always close to the ground as they search for anything that moves. Always full of energy, they can find it impossible to walk at the speed of their owners.
Be prepared because teaching your dog to walk with a loose leash takes up lots of time. You’ll also need:
- Plenty of patience
- An ability to make the training fun and rewarding
- Great communication skills so that you talk to your dog regularly
- The right kind of equipment
Be cautious about claims that equipment can ‘cure’ pulling. It takes a calm and capable dog owner to get the job done well. Always make sure that the equipment you use is safe, painless, and comfortable for your dog.
From Small Beginnings Come Great Things
Use the PET acronym:
- Praise: use a cheerful tone of voice to give your dog a regular pat on the back
- Entertain: ensure all training is something your dog enjoys
- Treats: reward your dog when they do well
Begin your dog’s training in your home or garden. It’s a calmer environment with fewer distractions. That’s going to help your dog learn more quickly. The plan is to get them to sit or stand at your side.
Talk to your dog continuously and praise them when they stick close to you. Reinforce this by using treats as a prize. You should practice this exercise without a leash at first and then gradually begin using it once your dog starts responding well.
As your dog gets more used to this exercise, you can slowly begin to increase the time and distance between treats. A frequent change of direction will train your dog to keep a close eye on you and your movements.
Work at your dog’s pace of learning. Some dogs will need more time to learn than others. If your dog’s finding things tough, go back to the point when they were making better progress and move on to the next level more slowly.
Do Not Walk When the Lead Begins to Tighten
The message to your dog should be that when they walk beside you with a loose leash they’ll be able to move forward. When they pull, you should stop, preventing them from continuing with their adventure.
The moment the lead begins to tighten, you should come to a halt. Stay still and quiet and don’t begin moving again until the leash is loose. Avoid jerking the lead back or reprimanding your dog.
Sometimes your dog may not turn back towards you. If this happens, try taking a few steps in the opposite direction to get them to focus again. It can take a few turns along with vocal cues and appropriate body language before you achieve success.
Remember to use praise and rewards as part of the learning process.
Learning How to Stop a Dog from Pulling Takes Perseverance
You should aim to be as consistent as possible with your training to avoid mixed messages. Keep doing the same exercises over again. Regular short bursts are best because like humans dogs can get bored.
Walks are likely to take longer when you’re training your dog and while they’re learning more about what you expect from them.
You may have a busy life and find it hard to stick to regular times every day to train your dog. Try using different harnesses for the type of walk you are going on. If the walk is for exercise only, use your ‘ok to pull’ harness.
Your dog will soon learn the difference between the two types of equipment you use but will typically take longer to learn to stop pulling. Nonetheless, stick with it and you and your best friend will reap the benefits in the end.
Let Us Help You and Your Dog
Learning how to stop a dog from pulling is just one of the training exercises for your dog. We’ve plenty more useful articles that have lots more tips for dog owners here.
If you’re concerned about your dog’s wellbeing, get in touch with us now for immediate online access to a fully qualified vet. We also have hassle-free pet insurance available for your dog at the touch of a button.