By Verina, Zenimal Natural Therapies
Leash pulling is a common problem, and the good news is that it can be fixed very quickly.
You might be taking your dogs for more walks than normal at the moment and I think this would be a good time to address this.
First of all, you need to have the right equipment that will discourage pulling. This doesn’t mean getting halters, choker chains or anything that causes any sort of pain or discomfort to them though, as all this will do is negatively impact your dog’s relationship with you.
What a lot of people also don’t realise is that these quick fixes tend to make the issue worse in the long term. If your dog loves to pull so you put a choker chain on them, they’ll keep pulling, and get choked by the chain in the process.
Dogs don’t see the relationship between their actions and that of the chain, so they’ll keep doing what they do, getting hurt and develop anxiety as they can’t understand why they’re getting hurt.
They’ll only stop once the pain becomes so unbearable they ‘give in’, which is not a healthy place to be, so this shouldn’t be how they learn.
What Dog-friendly equipment should you use to stop pulling?
I recommend that you use a chest harness, one with a clip at the front and not the back. These work because it means that when they pull at the leash they’re pulling against their own strength, so you don’t have to restrain them yourself.
When your dog tries to pull at the leash, what will end up happening is they’ll end up swivelling themselves around so they face you. When this happens you put the icing on the cake, and offer them a treat they can come and get, which will encourage them to walk towards and with you.
Train your Dog walk with you, not against you
If this doesn’t work and your dog just keeps going back and forth, get them next to you and take it one step at a time.
Take a step, and if they follow you side by side, reward them with a treat. Gradually increase this from every step to every few steps, and up to 5-10 steps before they get their treat.
Make sure to also change direction often so your dog learns to follow your movements. I find this works best if you’re at an oval or park with no clear path, so you are in complete control of which direction you go in.
Reward your dog for each time they follow you when you decide which direction to go in before they reach the end of the leash.
Tell them where you want them to go and reward them when they come with you.
This is a great approach to get them to happily walk with you.
These the first steps in a very complicated process that could take a while to get across to your dog.
If you need any more guidance or information, feel free to get in contact with me and let’s work together to make walks more enjoyable for both you and your dog.