Training Tips: Pulling on the Lead
Lead pulling is a huge problem with a lot of dog owners, and one of the biggest factors for many dogs ending up in animal shelters.
A popular myth is that dogs who pull on the lead want to be seen as a pack leader and dominant over the owner. However, this is not always the case, dogs love the outdoors and plenty of exercise and sometimes humans don’t make for the best walking companions as dogs have a greater walking pace than humans and this can lead to a disparity when on the lead. Having to slow their walking pace and walk calmly can be very difficult for some dogs.
With the right training, your dog can learn to walk and enjoy walking with you rather than out ahead!
One method to stop pulling is to teach the dog a command that means ‘walk by my side’ and not out ahead. This can be achieved using a motivator, i.e. you/food/toys, gaining the dogs attention and using the dogs preferred motivator to keep its attention as you take a few steps, stop and reward if the dog has walked along with you. Repeating this taking more and more steps as the dog is looking at the food/toy, rather than surging ahead, once the dog has the hang of this, you can start to link the chosen command to the action. Once this is achieved continue with the walk, reward and repeat when necessary.
Another method is the reverse direction technique, as the dog starts to walk ahead, turn and walk in the other direction, being careful not to jerk on the dogs collar as he reaching the end of the lead. Repeat this until the dog starts to walk with or slightly behind you so he can keep an eye on you. Using rewards at the correct time can teach the dog that walking with you rather than out in front is much more beneficial.
This might take a few attempts to master but with persistence, it can be an effective training technique. Don’t forget to praise the dog once when you do all of these methods, as it is important that your dog becomes familiar and at ease when walking by your side and a positive voice is a great tool to be used.
If you believe that your dog would benefit from some behavioural training or you would like a consultation with Vicky don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are always happy to help you in any way we can.