Dog pulling is a pet peeve (literally!) that many dog owners have in common. Most of us can relate to the scenario in which you’re out for a walk, and your dog suddenly yanks you towards whatever it is that interest them at the moment. In all the excitement, your dog drags you across the park not even noticing your yelling for them to stop!
Although it may seem daunting, this habit can be overcome with a little bit of diligence and a whole lot of patience.
A dog pulling you down the sidewalk is certainly not an ideal stroll with your pet. The ultimate goal is a loose-leash walk. This is where the dog leash has a bit of slack in it, even while you’re moving. With this method, your dog is happily exploring and sniffing on it’s adventure, but the key is is that your dog is still following your guidance. Keep in mind, having too much slack in the dog leash is also not an ideal situation as it can be dangerous for both you and your pet. Opting for a coil dog leash is a great way to combat this problem. Loose-leash walking is also not to be confused with having the dog “heel”, and walking directly next to you, under your control.
Dog pulling may be the hardest behavior to break, but it can be done. The tactic from here on out is to fully commit to it. You should no longer allow dog pulling to get your dog where it wants to go. Now, this may be difficult, depending on the size of your dog but rewarding positive behavior will help in getting your dog to understand the right way to behave. Have them repeat the positive behavior until it sticks!
Dog Pulling Behavior Modification
While using the above reinforcement technique, be patient and generous. Rejoice in the small accomplishments. Start with small goals. Every few steps your dog takes in the right manner (leash slack, and walking at a good pace beside or just ahead of you), reward verbally and with a treat. If your dog pulls, immediately stop, and wait for the dog to stand still, return to you or put slack back in the leash. This can seem difficult at first, but stick with it. Continue to do this until your positive strides are getting longer. Before you know it, your walks will include more loose-leash walking.
If your dog is overpowering you with their pulling because of their size, you can opt for a training aid. A regular dog collar and dog leash are effective under normal circumstances, but at a certain point other training aids are beneficial.
A no pull dog harness is an easy way to train your dog against dog pulling. This is a device that will help your dog from pulling and lunging. It takes the pressure off the sensitive area of their neck, but allows you to still train them effectively. They boast a simple design and have an affordable price range. There are also specially designed dog collars and dog leashes that help to keep dog pulling at bay.
Dog pulling may be one of the hardest behaviors for you to un-teach and for most dogs to re-learn. It will take commitment and patience, but the reward of an enjoyable and comfortable walk with your best friend will be well worth it.