With their low center of gravity and solid mass, Bull Terriers that are not trained are no fun to walk. They can easily pull you anywhere they feel like it, and they usually do. They can injure you or other people, can get away and get lost, it can even get to the point where you don’t even want to walk your Bully. The good news is that no matter how old his is, you can teach him some new leash tricks. The following are five tips to prevent your Bull Terrier from pulling on the leash.
#1 – Start Young
Dog are learning from the moment they are born – what do you want yours to learn? Do not wait until your puppy is an adolescent – start teaching good leash manners as soon as you bring yours home.
#2 – Teach Self-Control
Bull Terriers are intelligent and have a strong will. At first, you may find that upping your rewards helps – often more intelligent dogs need more of a reason to do what you ask. In addition, teaching self-control so your Bull Terrier can make the right choice – for example, staying by your side instead of chasing that bunny – is very helpful. Stay, Go To Bed (mat-stay behavior), sitting for a toy/food/petting, etc., are all good ways to work on self-control.
#3 – Practice Attention
Bull Terriers definitely like to chase small animals and greet other dogs. On leash, this can lead to you being pulled in whatever direction your Bull Terrier feels like – not fun! A key to stopping these behaviors is to keep him focused on you during a walk. Working on looking at you when you say his name, offering eye contact without a cue, Leave It and Drop are important to leash training.
#4 – Reward Correct Position
Whenever your Bull Terrier is calmly walking in heel position – by your side with a loose leash – be sure you reward him. You can even turn this into a game by trying to move away from your Bull Terrier and seeing if he stays with you off-leash in your house or in your backyard. Start off easy and then increase difficulty (quicker pace, tighter turns) as he learns the game. Rewards can be anything he likes, including treats, praise, toys, etc. As long as your Bull Terrier likes it, it’s a reward. Dogs repeat behaviors that are reinforced, so the more you reinforce him for being in that spot, the more he will do it. It’s as simple as that!
#5 – Don’t Let Pulling Be Reinforced
As mentioned, dogs do what gets reinforced, so make sure your Bull Terrier is not being rewarded for pulling. If she pulls on the leash and gets what she wants (to chase a bunny or greet a dog) then she will continue to do it and it will only get worse. So, if you feel your Bull Terrier start to pull you in one direction, plant your feet and don’t move, waiting until he returns to you. If you own a Bull Terrier who is stronger than you, you can also turn and walk the opposite direction. Once she is walking next to you nicely, you can turn back and go the way she wanted to in the first place. This teaches your Bull Terrier that if she wants to go somewhere, she has to keep that leash loose. I find this method to work well because dogs get the rules catch on quickly.
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