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Sam Dobson Writes: Training Tip: Pulling on Leash

Monday, September 15, 2014

Training Tip: Pulling on Leash

Every morning I stuff my purse with my planner, snacks or lunch, and whatever other junk I feel like I need to get through the day. I cradle my laptop in one arm and carry my coffee in the other hand. All that and I still have three dog leashes to hold on to. The easiest way is to loop all three leashes around one of my wrists. This course of action has, on many occasions, caused me to spill my much needed coffee due to my unruly pack. I can think of few things more frustrating. It's utter chaos. My neighbors must think I'm nuts, that crazy dog lady down the street. Something's got to change.

Convinced that my morning juggling routine would be a lot easier if my three dogs did not pull on the leash, I consulted my friend and head trainer at Paws Pet Resorts. He gave me some pointers that I want to share with my fellow multitasking dog parents.

Training tip for dogs who pull on leash.

1. Don't Blame The Dog 
Our dogs pull because we let them pull, simple as that. When we are in a hurry to get out that door, our dogs pull and we don't correct them. This behavior then becomes habit. In the case of most dogs, they must be trained not to pull. As easy as it is to blame our dogs for their bad behavior, it is really our lack of training that has allowed this behavior to become the norm.

2. Putting On The Leash 
The second I grab a poop bag or go for their leashes, my trio starts to pace back and forth and jump up and down in excited anticipation. It's no wonder they pull on the leash after getting that worked up. Any time you need to put your dog on leash, give yourself a few extra minutes to get it right. Have your dog sit and give you eye contact before attaching the leash to their collar.

3. To Stop Pulling
If your dog is remaining calm, cue your dog with something along the lines of "okay, let's go" and begin walking. The second your dog begins to pull, stop walking. Wait for your dog to sit and give you eye contact, then give the cue and begin walking again.

4. Be Patient
This isn't a miracle fix. Every time your dog begins to pull, you will need to repeat #3 above. Be patient and always remain calm. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, end the walk and try again later.

5. Use Walking Tools
If your dog is ridiculously strong and you are having a hard time just holding onto the leash, let alone controlling the pulling, then you may want to look into a halter or harness to allow you better control. For my boxers, I used the Gentle Leader head collar by Petsafe until they "unlearned" how to pull on the leash.

Training tip for dogs who pull on leash.
Photo Creds: www.gentleleadercanada.com

The Gentle Leader allows for control without causing pain or discomfort for your pup. I won't lie, both of my dogs fought it hard (I'm talking flailing around like a fish out of water just trying to get it off) upon the first or second use not because it was uncomfortable but simple because it was strange. Ignore any weird looks you may get. Some passer-bys may think it's a muzzle because of it's placement. Fear not, with proper fitting your dog will still be able to open their mouths, drink water, and even eat. It worked wonders for me and my big kids don't even need it anymore.

If after all of this your dog is still bonkers on the leash, it might be high time you hire a trainer. If your dog is well behaved on a leash, it makes all outings more pleasant. And hey if for no other reason, Fido will get more walks and you can get more exercise in peace.



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