As simple as it sounds, walking a dog on a leash is not always an easy task. It is common to find dogs who tend to pull on their leashes - sometimes with a lot of strength - while they seem to be taking their parents on a walk. This is especially so for stronger breeds like mastiffs and pit bulls. This situation can be quite stressful for many dog lovers as they do not understand why their doggy cannot stop pulling on the leash.
Certified vet Dr. Stephanie explains why a dog pulls at its leash and how to prevent it. You might feel like this little boy right now, but with the proper equipment and training, you can say good bye to walks like this!
Understand Why Your Dog Is Pulling On Their Lead
You may have tried everything to stop your canine from pulling on the leash, but to learn how to deal with the “leash-pulling” behavior, we first need to figure out why dogs pull on their leashes. There may be more than one reason depending on the particular circumstances, but excitement is the most common reason by far.
When dogs or puppies go outside, they are excited about the environment, and they just want to explore their surroundings. Dogs are eager to reach their destination as fast as they can. The excitement of being outdoors is even more intense if there are other dogs around or if your dog spends lots of time confined indoors or to a cage.
Expert Tips: How to Stop Dogs From Pulling on Their Leash
Easier For A Dog To Learn New Behavior Than To Unlearn Bad Behavior
A common mistake that most pet parents make when they are trying to train their dog is focusing on the bad habit. For example, if your dog is pulling on the leash you will probably focus on how to teach your dog to stop pulling, after all, that is the problem, right? But we need to remember that hounds do not understand things the way we do, they learn through conditioning.
In other words, it is easier for a doggy to learn a new behavior than to unlearn a previous behavior. Therefore, it is best to focus on teaching your dog how you would like him/her to walk with you. Ideally, you would want your dog to walk right beside you. To achieve this, you can create a rewards system and praise your dog each and every time - consistency is key! - they walk as desired.
Try Changing Your Leash
Using a traditional collar with a leash may not be the best choice to teach your dog to walk beside you. Using a harness or a leash specifically designed to train your dog, such as the Leash Trainer Dog Leash, which uses gentle yet firm resistance to discourage your dog from pulling on the leash. This Leash Trainer pulls from the back instead of the neck which will help correct your dog's behavior. It is one of the best dog leash for pulling and you'll notice the change immediately.
Walk In Front Of Your Dog
The most important aspect of training a dog is teaching him/her who is the leader. This may sound simple, but sometimes it isn’t. Dogs rely on body language and the actions of those around them to know how they should behave and what is their social position. In nature, every pack has a leader, which means that every dog needs a leader and if your dog realizes that you are not, the chances are that he/she will believe that he/she has the control.
One simple way to show your dog that you are his/her leader is by stopping when he/she pulls on the leash, do not walk behind your dog, just stop until he/she stops pulling and the leash is loose, only then continue walking.
Get immediate access to a free 4 part video on dog training here. This video series is very useful as it shows you how to avoid excessive barking, chewing, pulling on the leash and other dog problems with proper dog training. Watch it here now.
Exercise Your Doggy Before Walking
This tip may sound counterintuitive because you may be taking your dog for a walk so that both of you can get some exercise; however, walking alone may not be enough exercise for your canine. This especially true if your dog spends a significant amount indoors or inside a cage. Your dog's breed and age may also affect his/her energy level and exercise requirement.
Consider doing another activity with your dog like playing catch before you both go on a walk. Once your pooch has used some of her/his energy, he/she is more likely to be calm during the ride.
This toy is a good way to burn off some energy before going on a walk. Let your pup play with it for 15-20 minutes before going for a walk and you'll notice a difference. Check it out here.
Practice and Reward Often.
Training a dog requires lots of patience, use these tips consistently and reward your dog every time he/she walks on your side until you achieve the desired result.
Walking your beloved pooch can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience and it does not have to be a constant tug of war between you and your canine. Practice these tips consistently and you'll soon enjoy your walks a lot more!
About the author
Dr. Stephanie Flansburg-Cruz practices mixed animal veterinary medicine and she has a special interest in shelter medicine and animal welfare. Stephanie enjoys volunteering at local animal shelters, reading, writing and traveling.