According to numerous dog experts, it has a lot to do with attitude. We tend to focus on the dog’s pulling because we desperately want them stop, but retraining your brain to focus on what you want them to do (instead of what you don’t) will help you give the right cues.
Just who’s pulling the strings in this relationship?
Dog walking should be a pleasant experience, but when it feels more like the dog is walking you, you’ve got problems.
Fido might sit, stay and come, but loose-leash walking is a stickler for many owners. After all, there’s so many things to see, smell and people and pets to greet – how can we expect Fido to stop pulling?!
We’ve got some tried and true methods, as well as insider tricks we’re sharing only with our readers. So, read on to get out in the fresh air with your pup:
Don’t give up!
Make time to practice proper walking habits at least several times a week. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
Some dogs can take years before they will habitually walk nicely on a leash. But the time you put in will reap rewards down the road… literally!
Come in to Tabby & Jacks for some healthy treats your dog and kitty will love!
You likely won’t have to do it forever, but carrying some yummy (and healthy) treats on your walk to reward when they are behaving reinforces good behavior. Perhaps, more importantly it trains them to focus on you and not all of the surrounding distractions. Read here for additional training tips
It could be physiological
It’s great to let your dog get in some good sniffing time while on your walk, but even this must be restrained. When a dog lunges forward and pulls you toward that awesome smelling mailbox, don’t say “no” or “whoa” and then let them get their sniff in.
Instead… hit the reset button we just talked about. Praise them when they come back and let them earn a sniff a bit down the path that you’ve allowed them to explore.
Don’t let them get away with it
Dog Walking Tips
Hit the restart button
Now, here’s a little secret not widely shared by many. Some dog behaviorists believe that the pulling feeling on a dog’s collar often triggers a reflex that makes them pull more. It is thought that they are instinctively trying to rid themselves of the restraint by breaking free from it, which of course, only makes it worse.
Something that many pet owners say works wonders is to drop the leash altogether. No, no, no, it doesn’t mean to get rid of the leash… but literally drop it.
Now, this tip comes from word-of-mouth experience and does not necessarily work for all dogs. An owner takes responsibility if their dog is a wanderer and decides to run off or heaven forbid gets hurt, etc.,
It’s also for an adult dog that has had months of training, so they hopefully know what’s expected of them but haven’t made the connection to put it into action. Dog owners say it’s not recommended for puppies, but rather older dogs (2 years or more) that are still pulling, but otherwise well behaved.
So, here it is… if there is an area with little distractions and no traffic, (like a low populated cul-de-sac, for instance) many owners have found that as soon as they drop the leash and let it drag behind the dog, the dog will stay in place.
The pulling sensation is gone, and they are relaxed! Dog owners have found if they practice this technique in “safe” areas and switch back and forth holding the leash for 5 minutes or so and then dropping the leash for an equal amount of time, the dog learns that pulling doesn’t work.
If the dog does not fall into place and stay next to you where you can quickly grab him or her, this method is not for you.
Again, try at your own risk, but many dog owners swear by this method.
Once your dog begins to pull, try taking a few steps backward. Walking a few steps back and turning full circle so that your dog is now either behind or beside you can be an effective way to position them into place. Make sure your rewards are handy!
Some dogs require many re-starts, especially at first. It can be an exercise in patience, but it’s likely your dog wants to make ground, and once they figure out the only way to do that is to behave, they’re more likely to stop pulling.
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