Today, we will discuss the behavioral aspects of pulling and straining on a leash.
We will be using positive reinforcement training so bring some treats with you on your walk. When you begin the walk don’t get your dog overly excited especially when you know you are battling with leash pulling.
Be calm and head outside. Now your dog probably is already pulling. Be patient!!! If your dog knows basic obedience training use it if they don’t start your dog on a program of sit, down, stay and come. Now that you are outside do not move your feet if your dog is pulling. It is so important to never give in to the pull . Best thing to do is not move until they stop or change your direction in walking . If your dog responds to any of these changes reinforce that behavior . The purpose of this is to keep your dog on his toes. You’re the leader and your dog should follow you. Once again reward small improvements, don’t expect to see miracles in a day but if you expect and anticipate small changes to occur you will be excited with the results. The more confidence you begin to have it will translate to your dog . Also remember if you have a large breed dog make sure to also give them a lot of exercise!! If they go for runs or to a dog park and release energy you will notice your dog walks will start becoming more behavioral and your dog will be less hyper active . I love when I start walking dogs and in the middle of the walk ask them to come closer and do a little sit and down behavior. I reward all these behaviors and it builds a great bond with my clients and myself.
There is never just one way of fixing leash pulling problems but collectively if you get the best leash , train your dog in basic obedience, give them exercise, and be the leader walks will become such a positive fun part of your day with your dog .
Even though all breeds can pull on the leash, those owners with large breed dogs have the most complaints. This is for obvious reasons: dogs are larger , harder to handle, and can physically over power you.
When it comes to pulling on the leash there are actually multiple ways for fixing the problem. So even though it is great to have options, you must realize that might mean trail and error. Be patient. Since this is a lengthy topic, I will concentrate primarily on leashes today and on pulling tomorrow.
First get the proper leash. Many dog owners have choker collars which I do not recommend. Don’t use aversive conditioning!!! Positive reinforcement over punishment always. There are fabulous leashes on the market for all dog types. So find the one that best suits your dog.
Here our 3 choices in leashes that will be great for your dog !
Front clip harness: A leash I recommend often, this leash clips in the front on your dogs chest. The point of this and why it is so effective is when dog suddenly pulls it is pulled right around to face you. This is very annoying for the dog and you will see a change in the behavior quickly.
Sporn Harness: I see many owners with these. The way this leash works is when the dog is pulling on the harness it will tighten slightly in the front around the legs. The dog will feel like their feet are being lifted off the ground. So larger dogs or aggressive ( bully) breeds that can knock you off-balance, this leash could be good for you. This leash puts you in control.
Head collar: This leash is becoming very popular for dog owners. The leash fits around the snout or mouth of your dog. Even though many owners swear by this leash it is not intended for dogs that lunge or pull abruptly or dogs that have eye or neck issues. Injuries to eye and neck are more common.
Now pulling while walking is not just about changing your dogs leash. Be behavioral ! Tomorrows blog will explain more behavioral aspects of this common dog problem.
But remember always set your dog up for success and a great comfortable leash for both you can your dog is a great start.