Every dog owner knows the struggles of walking a dog that is just too excited for walkies. They pull against the leash, making an awful choking noise that makes you want to jog or run to keep up with them so that they don’t hurt themselves. It’s essential to teach and show them what proper leash behavior is so that they can be safe, so you aren’t dealing with any unnecessary hassles.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how to keep your dog from pulling on the leash.
Some Equipment To Begin With
While the standard neck collar lead is something we’re all familiar with and is easily found at just about any store, these are not very conducive to teaching your dog good leash behavior. Using these run the risk of hurting your dog while training them. This is why we recommend a chest brace.
There are plenty of brands of full-body and chest braces that are available. The chest brace is the most common; you fit these on around your dog’s back, bringing them around the front legs and to the chest. On the back, often just between the shoulder blades, you’ll find a place to connect your leash.
The reason why this design is preferable is that it removes the pressure from their sensitive neck. Instead, it spreads it across the body or front, which is much stronger and less likely to harm a feisty pup. It will also make controlling them more comfortable.
Another thing to look into would be what you use to connect the leash to the harness/collar. An excellent choice for training would be to have a rotating ring which affixes the leash and harness together. This allows you to comfortably turn and go in different directions from your pulling dog without yanking or twisting them uncomfortably.
It also means that if they suddenly try and take off and pull against you, the ring will turn them around without tangling anything.
Appraisal And Positive Reinforcement
We all secretly wish our pups can speak to us and wonder if they understand our words and what we’re saying. Unfortunately, we can’t be sure they have a grasp on language, but we do know they understand tone.
If you have the space available in your yard, try walking them around on the leash for practice. Whenever they try and dart off, stop and wait for them to realize you aren’t following. One of the main reasons a dog doesn’t learn proper leash etiquette is because we give in and enable their little escapades.
Once they realize you’ve stopped and aren’t pulling anymore, waiting for you to follow, call them over in an excited voice, slapping your thigh and getting their attention. You can then try walking in another direction, trying to get them to follow you.
The main idea is to get them excited to follow you. This shows them that you’ll be taking the lead and that they can’t expect to take the lead all the time. Once they start following you, shower them in appraisal and love, so that they know they did the right thing.
This all lets them know that following you and not taking off on their own is the right thing to do, and they will be rewarded for it. Remember that tone is everything. Saying “Good dog!” and “No, stop!” with the same sound will confuse the poor pup, and they won’t know what you want.
Still, some dogs may be a bit stubborn or too energetic for their own good, so you may have to try a bit more.
Treats And Shortening
You’ve got a no-pull harness with a ring attachment. You know that even if they pull and fight against the leash, they’ll be relatively safe and more comfortable to control. But this isn’t ideally what we want; we want them to behave during a walk to minimize any potential emergencies. If the above methods aren’t enough, there is thankfully more you could do.
When putting into practice the previously mentioned tips of appraisal and positive reinforcement, perhaps carrying a small bag of treats with you would be a good idea. Using these as a new reward system can be more effective than your words alone, especially if your dog is a feisty one.
So when you get them to cooperate and follow you, give them a small dog biscuit treat or a piece of fresh meat. Using gifts is most effective when you are walking in an unpredictable pattern, and giving the treat when they choose to follow you.
Another option is to use a shorter leash. This forces your dog to stay close and gets them used to the distance you want them at. As they get used to this short length, you can experiment with extending to a longer reach, to see if they immediately make use of the extra distance.
Ideally, we want them not even to notice, so that they stick close to you out of habit. However, this can be a tricky method of conditioning, so it isn’t really go-to, more of a last resort.
To sum up the above points, you want to have your dog learn proper leash etiquette to reduce the chance of emergencies or injuries. A harness with a ring to attach the leash is the recommended medium. This is because it reduces the risk of injury while training.
Remember to shower them in appraisal and give them rewards when they do something good. Also, remember to match your tone to the situation. If you follow all the above steps and keep up a good training regime, your pup will be good for walks in no time.