Knowing how to stop your dog from pulling is obviously something we all need to know if walking our dogs is going to be enjoyable at all. But it’s more than just annoying misbehavior. You can correct this behavior with the right equipment and a few handy walking tips.
Most dog owners don’t realize that this pulling behavior is actually a direct sign of much more significant behavioral problems. Here’s what’s happening: your dog thinks they are in charge of the walk, or to put it in their terms, your dog believes that they are the leader of the pack!
For more on learning about pack leader training read our article on How to Become Your Dog’s Pack Leader
Your pup may also be very excitable and keen to get out and explore, especially if he has been inside all day. With the right training, you can teach your dog to walk calmly beside you instead of lunging out ahead of you.
The Right Dog Training Equipment
There are several types collars, leashes, and other dog training equipment that claim to put an end to a dog pulling on their leash. But these are not a real solution as they only divert your dog’s attention elsewhere, often with punishment by causing them pain. And who wants that?
Before attempting to correct your dog’s behavior you should ensure you have the right collar, leash, or harness for your dog. If your dog is particularly big or a strong puller, then we suggest a harness like the Ruffwear Front Range All-Day Adventure Harness. You can also find our other recommendations in our article on How to Choose The Best Dog Harness.
How to Stop Your Dog From Pulling
If you find yourself constantly having to correct your dog when you take them out for walks, there is something fundamentally wrong. Until you first convince them that you are the pack leader, walks will continue to be a source of frustration.
Look at it this way: when you go out on a walk, your dog understands that someone has to be the pack leader. So since you (in their mind) have not stepped up it’s only natural for them to take the reigns and lead the pack!
Becoming your dog’s pack leader is a psychological battle, not a physical one, and it begins at home with good foundational training. When your dog comes to see you as the pack leader within the home they will naturally defer to you and allow you to be in control on walks as well!
Until you have trained your dog to follow your lead, the problem will continue. In your dog’s mind, if you cannot even be trusted to be the pack leader at home (the safest possible place), how could you be trusted to do so when out in the dangerous world away from home?
Here are some key things to remember before you head out on your next walk:
- After taking out your dog’s leash, do not put it on until they have calmed down. Be patient! Do not rush this stage.
- Do not head outside until you have stopped your dog from pulling on the leash inside the home. Here are some great training videos on how to this the right way.
- Walk your dog around tables and furniture making sure they follow and do not pull.
- If your dog goes out in front and pulls simply change direction and leave them behind.
- If your dog pulls backwards, stop and gently hold the leash firm while calling for your dog to follow. Be patient, they don’t have a choice.
- You ALWAYS go through doorways first when your dog is on the leash. No exceptions.
- Practice going through doorways (you first) until your dog relaxes.
- Watch your posture. Stay relaxed and calm with your shoulder down and your arm straight at the elbow.
- Always have treats on hand to reward your dog when they get it right.
Of course, for most people it will be much easier to see these things demonstrated rather than just reading about them. Learning to keep your dog from pulling isn’t easy.
For more articles on walking your dog and pulling on the leash read these:
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