Pulling on the Lead

Is your dog an embarrassment as he tows you along the pavement?

Do you envy those people whose dogs walk nicely to heel?

The difference between the dog that pulls and the dog walking to heel is all a matter of his expectation and reward.

The dog that pulls on the lead believes pulling gets him where (the park) he wants to go faster. Whilst the dog that walks to heel realises pulling gets him nowhere and being obedient unlocks that trip to the park.

Great! You’ve wasted your breath on your four-legger this a thousand times and still he takes no notice. OK, so now let’s try explaining in terms the dog understands.

Pulling as a Reward

The dog wants to get to the park. He pulls. Hey presto he gets to the park. This is how the dog mistakenly makes the link that pulling is expected in order to reach a goal.

So how to turn things around?

You have to retrain him to link pulling with life taking longer. In other words, when he pulls you stop in your tracks and take three steps back. Not only is his attempt at speeding to the park foiled, but it takes him longer to get there. Once he’s calm and sitting to attention, you start again.

This disadvantage of doing this is that it can take forever to get anywhere, so start when you have plenty of time and can afford to be patient.

Rewarding other Behaviours

If your dogs tugging habit is firmly entrenched, and you aren’t making enough progress with the stop-start method, up the ante teaching him a better way to walk.

Start in a place with few distractions, such as the home. Have him off lead and get his attention with a tasty treat. Walk a few steps with him following because his eyes are glued to that tempting morsel. Stop. Ignore the dog, and have him work out that the only way to get the treat is to sit. It might be that he’s so perplexed that he sits down to work think what to do. Bingo! Give him the food reward. Repeat.

The idea is that he thinks for himself and works out when you’re walking and stop, if he sits down he gets a treat. See what happened there? When out on a walk if he goes to lunge ahead, you stop. The stop – sit- treat link kicks in and he’ll sit for a reward. The beauty of it is whilst he’s sitting he isn’t pulling. Ta dah! He’s now under your control on walks.

For other top tips and strategies to prevent pulling, speak to a Royvon trainer today!