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The Secret To Keeping Your Dog From Pulling On The Leash

Image source: @QuinnDombroski via Flickr
Image source: @QuinnDombroski via Flickr

Are you tired of your dog walking you? Wondering why none of the methods you have tried have worked? As a dog trainer, I have found that leash-pulling tops the list when I ask my clients what they would like to work on with their dog.

And no wonder! It’s not only frustrating and exhausting to be pulled for an entire walk, it’s also dangerous.

A dog that pulls on a leash can:

  • Pull their owner over
  • Trip them
  • Get loose and become injured
  • Pull you into traffic
  • Break bones (I know someone whose twenty pound dog broke their wrist when he dove for a bird)

These are just a few of the dangers of a dog that pulls. Plus, you just can’t enjoy a walk when you are spending all your time keeping your dog from yanking you off your feet.

So How Do You Stop Your Dog From Pulling?

Up until now, you have probably tried all the normal ways to try and get your dog to stop pulling: leash “pops” or jerks, choke, prong or electric collars, head halters, etc.

The problem with all of these methods is it creates a negative association with you. You become the punisher, corrector, or (in the case of head halters), the person that put on that super-annoying device that your dog will spend most his walk trying to get off – which is just as annoying as when he pulls.

Image source: @ann-dabney via Flickr
Image source: @ann-dabney via Flickr

Plus, in all of these cases, once the threat of the punishment or device is removed, your dog goes right back to pulling because that is what he really wants to do.  In other words, your dog finds it rewarding to pull on the leash – he gets to sniff trees, pee on things, greet people, etc. And you certainly haven’t provided a better reward, just punishment, so why would he want to be near you?

So, the secret to keeping your dog from pulling on the leash is…

Make them want to stay with you!

While the principle is simple, implementing it consistently and with the proper method is not (we’ll share something we developed to help in a moment)

Here’s an important question: What you have been you giving your dog on the rare occasion he is not pulling on the leash? Nothing?  You may not be punishing him any longer (no jerk of the leash or other correction), but you are also not giving him any type of reward, whereas if he pulls on the leash and gets what he wants, he is being reward for it.

The below picture is what my oldest dog, Skye, looks like on every walk we talk. Happy, prancing and looking at me frequently because I am the giver of all good things (treats, attention, etc.).

LLW Course Image

How to Train Your Dog To Walk Perfectly on a Leash

So there you have it…your dog needs to be reinforced for being with you, instead of pulling on the leash. While this is a simple principle in theory, I’ve seen so many dog owners struggle with training this concept that I’ve worked with DogsU and iHeartDogs to develop an easy to follow online course.

You can practice with your dog whenever it’s convenient for you (no set weekly day/time!) and you can move at you and your dog’s pace without fear of being left behind by the rest of the class.

Over 10 demos videos are included that you can watch over and over again to help you and your dog become the best walkers on the block.

Remember, a dog pulling on a leash isn’t just annoying, its dangerous! It’s not only dangerous for you, but for your beloved pup as well. Whether you try our online course, or work with a trainer in person, I highly encourage you to work on this potentially dangerous behavior with your dog.

Sign up now and learning how rewarding a walk with your dog can be, for both of you!

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How To Teach Your Dog To Walk Perfectly On A Leash

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Written by Kristina Lotz
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