Pulling on the lead
Why does my dog pull on the lead?
If you own a dog who constantly pulls, you’re not alone. Pulling on the lead is one of the most common problems people have with their dogs.
There are four main reasons for this: firstly, medium and larger-sized dogs naturally move at a faster pace than humans and so find walking slowly without using the lead for support difficult; secondly, if a dog’s not getting enough exercise he can be excited and full of energy when he goes out; thirdly, dogs are enthusiastic creatures and can’t wait to get to where they’re going; and lastly, the dog has never been trained not to pull on the lead.
“Before starting training, take a look at the first three issues,” explained trainer and behaviorist Carolyn Menteith.
“Are you walking fast enough for your dog to be able to move comfortably by your side? Are you practicing lots of slow heelwork mixed with faster-paced heelwork at home or in a safe place, without a lead, to help your dog learn to balance without using the lead for support?”
Training tips for pulling dogs
“The good news is that training a dog not to pull is very simple; the bad news is the commitment needed to do it once he’s learned to pull is really hard and few people are committed enough to do it,” continued Carolyn.
“When thinking about how long it’ll take, it depends on the dog, but you should realistically be thinking weeks of working on this every time you have your dog on the lead, rather than days. It’s worth it, though, because it’s safer for you and far better for dogs, who can suffer long-term health problems from constant lead pulling.
“Punishing a dog for you not walking fast enough, you not training him, or because he’s just enjoying life too much is hardly fair. Instead, he has to believe with all his heart that he’ll never get anywhere quicker by pulling. If he finds that pulling works, even just once, you’re back to square one — that’s why it’s so hard.”
Gwen Bailey, founder of Puppy School, a UK-wide network of training classes for young puppies, said one of the most useful things to remember when teaching a dog to walk better on the lead was to exercise him well.
“There’s no point trying to teach a dog who’s full of energy as he won’t be able to concentrate,” she explained.
“It’s really important to get rid of that energy first. A good retrieve game in the garden wears off energy before you take him out. Taking your dog in the car somewhere safe, letting him run off steam off the lead, and then putting him back on the lead for a training session, is a lot easier than trying to train him straight out of the house. It also helps, when you first start, if your dog knows you’re in training mode, and that a different set of rules applies. So at first, have a different lead and collar for training; one that feels different to the dog for whatever reason.
“Another tip is not to let your dog learn to lean on the lead. The dog gets used to the feeling of pressure on the neck. If he starts to lean, let the lead go a bit looser so the dog falls forward. Dogs want to run and jog and we want to walk — they’re naturally faster. It’s like going for a walk with a toddler and having to go at their speed when you want to get somewhere in a hurry. Owners need to learn the technique necessary to teach a dog not to pull, which can be difficult for a novice owner, so it helps to find a good trainer to help you.
“If you teach puppies from a young age not to pull it’s so lovely because you have a dog who’s not going to pull all his life. It’s a matter of teaching them they will get where they want to go faster if they keep the lead loose.”
At #YourHound_SA, we make sure that we do train the dogs we walk to walk well with a lead, and not to lean too much on it. We ensure that they have to sit first to have their leads attached and detached, which teaches them discipline. It also helps them to know that it is an important part of working.
Source: Lead Pulling