The most common issue we deal with is pulling on the leash. We usually get the call after people have tried different training collars or contraptions without proper instruction, and at that point they are beyond frustrated. Before you can get your dog walking nicely, it’s important to understand why they pull. Here are the top three reasons your dog pulls.
1) It’s rewarding. Your dog truly believes that pulling gets him what he wants. Whether he is pulling you to sniff a tree, pulling you to go greet someone, or simply pulling you to go forward…he is being rewarded for pulling since it gets him to where he wants to go (you might as well give him a cookie for pulling). In order to stop the pulling you need to change your dogs thinking. He does not get to move forward if he is pulling. The key to this working is you need to be 110% consistent about applying this rule, and you cannot move forward even an inch when he pulls.
2) You. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but a lot of the reason your dog pulls falls on you. Do you get your dog wound up before a walk by asking “Want to go for a walk?” in an overly excited tone and laugh when your dog is running around like a crazy man before you even have the leash out? Then when you go to leave for your walk you get mad that your dog won’t walk calmly? You might as well give a kid espresso then tell them to go to bed. Do you allow your dog to barge out the door? The ability to calmly wait and exit the house is one of the first steps to a good walk. Are you anxious, annoyed, hold tension, or simply just dread the walk because your dog normally pulls you around the block? Your state of mind is an incredibly important component to a loose leash walk. Do you hold the leash tight at all times, even when your dog is in position? Most people don’t know how to let go of the tension on the leash, causing the dog to never know what loose leash feels like. For change to happen in your dog, you need to change first.
3) Wrong tool. You are using the wrong tool, or are using it incorrectly. Most training tools are available for purchase at your local pet store. The problem is the staff at the store are not likely educated on how to fit them, and use them properly. By hiring a dog trainer who knows how to use the tool effectively, you won’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on the next latest magical collar to stop your dog from pulling.
So if your dog pulls, take these three things into consideration the next time you go for a walk (which should be today since dogs need daily walks!). Once you can address these issues, your dog should be walking beside you in no time!
Canines In Balance