There is no single, easy solution to a common question: 'My dog pulls a lot when I walk him, what can I do to stop that?'
It’s no fun to be walking your dog and having to be on the lookout for triggers that might have your dog heaving forward, threatening to yank your arm off! We’ve been there. Learning how to train our dogs to walk on a leash properly is a small investment to save our arms (and ego) in the long term. This will make for a more enjoyable walk and beautiful relationship with your doggo!
Don’t be that pawrent.
As always, we need to treat the cause, not the symptom. While screaming your head off at your dog might have worked temporarily, you may not have relished the side effect of the public’s eye on you. Let’s give this some thought. What is causing your dog to pull on the lead? It’s good to remember that a dog’s natural walking pace is faster than us (lazy) humans, so some tension in the lead is not a result of them being disobedient. Don’t get mad at them for this.
Pent up energy galore!
Next, you may identify with this. With so many of us staying indoors more in the past year, we also end up with dogs with more pent up energy and frustration - being cooped up with us in a house or apartment for most of the day. It’s no surprise to you that our dear doggos with the extra energy and nowhere to expend it IS going to pull on the lead. They’re just so excited to be out - imagine all the stimulation, the sights, smells and sound! They may be pulling on the lead simply because they have not been taught that it’s an unwanted behaviour. This is especially so if their hoomans are not (painfully) consistent with reinforcing acceptable behaviour.
So, what can you do about this?
Tinkerpets stocks a range of products specially designed to support you in correcting your pets pulling behavior. Please bear in mind that these are great aids and tools, but there is no shortcut to success. Using these effectively with your regular home training will give you the best results.
Perfect for mild pullers, these will save you from a potential arm injury.
Some harnesses are designed as general walking accessories and there are “behavioral harnesses” which are designed with the purpose of correcting dogs’ violent straining on the leash.
These leashes keep your dog close to you and does not give them free reign to pull you and leave you trailing behind. This affords you more control over them and less chance of injury.
These sit around the top of your dogs' neck and around their muzzle. Uncomfortable pressure is exerted around their muzzle immediately when they start pulling, communicating (your displeasure) that the behavior is unacceptable.
Don’t be discouraged if your dog doesn’t immediately take to wearing these training aids. It’s new, unfamiliar and smells and feels weird. Get them used to it simply by having it around the house, or by placing it on or near them for 15 minutes every day. Once they are de-sensitised to it, you can start training with them.
This is the start of a meaningful journey of bonding and training which may bring with it frustrations and surprises but if you keep at it, we’re certain that your pack will walk well on a leash (and off-leash too!)
At the end of the day, look deep into those googly eyes, and be thankful that you were blessed to have them by your side through 2020. Seize the day wherever you are, and give them the time of day to explore, sniff and look around and just have fun together!