Are you tired of getting dragged down the street? Dog walks are never fun if it’s your dog taking you for a walk rather than the other way around. The annoying thing about pulling on the lead is that there’s no quick fix. It’s an issue that requires a lot of persistence. You may be at the end of your tether, and tempted to give up, but don’t throw in the towel just yet.
We’ve got some helpful tips and techniques to try that might help you to work towards your goal. Imagine being able to walk down the road with Fido trotting right by your side, and a lead that just hangs loose. It is possible! Try our top tips and see what a difference you can make.
1. The stop and sit technique
This one requires a whole lotta patience and determination. It can get a little dull getting Fido to sit every two seconds, but if you persist, it does pay off. You simply teach your pooch that they won’t go anywhere if they pull on the lead. As soon as they start to pull on the lead, stop and make them do a sit, then continue on your journey. The idea is that gradually you won’t have to get the to sit as often, and they start to realise that pulling only delays their walkies.
2. The change direction technique
This is another common technique that dog trainers use. When your dog starts to pull, instead of tugging at their lead or telling them off, simply change direction. When the lead becomes loose, then you can turn around and walk back in the previous direction. The idea here being that your dog realise if they want to walk straight ahead, they can’t pull on the lead. This is a good technique to try if you find the above ‘stop and sit’ technique is taking too long.
3. Try using a harness or halti
As well as training methods, there’s also a few handy products that are made especially for dogs who can’t resist pulling on the lead. Most of these products are more of a temporary training aid, rather than a long term solution.
You still need to keep working on getting your dog to walk nicely. Otherwise you will have to rely on these products forever. Harnesses and Cani collars are a great way to safely control your dog, and reduce pulling. If your dog is particularly strong, then try using a Halti head collar, which gives you back the control, and gives your sore arm muscles a bit of a break.
4. Use a shorter lead so you have more control
If you have a dog that loves to pull, then you might want to avoid using a longer lead. Shorter leads can give you more control, and as your dog starts to get better at loose lead walking, you can allow them to enjoy the benefits of a longer lead. E.g. more room to sniff extra stuff venture a little further.
5. Meet your dog’s exercise needs
Most dog owners know that dogs tend to pull more at the beginning of a walk. This is because they have bags of energy they need to release, and dogs are always super excited at the start of a walk. If you don’t give your dog enough daily exercise, they will be more likely to pull on the lead. Wear your dog out on a daily basis and you will probably find walks a lot more pleasant. It won’t stop your dog from pulling of course, but at least they won’t have as much energy when they do decide to pull.
6. Off-lead training can help too
It’s not just on-lead training that can help dogs to walk nicely. Make sure you spend some time with your dog off the lead, because you it’s a great way to teach your dog to stick by you. If your dog doesn’t have reliable recall, be sure to do some training in a secure area. Run around with your dog and encourage them to follow you and stay by your side, reward them with treats when they do stay near you. Follow the leader is a great game to play, because it gets your dog to enjoy following you and staying nearby. Doing these kinds of activities can really help to teach Fido that walking right by your side is a good thing to do.
7. Marking the ‘heal’ command
Pick a word that represents your dog walking by your side. A lot of people choose to use the word ‘heel’. When your dog walks right next to your feet, and doesn’t go any further ahead, give them a reward. Then gradually you can work towards saying ‘heel’ and rewarding them when they respond correctly.
8. Positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement tends to work much better than punishing your dog. Yelling at them or tugging fiercely on their lead when they walk too far ahead may not get the results you want. Dogs respond better to positive reinforcement, which means praising them when they do the right thing rather than punishing them when they don’t. You want your dog to enjoy walks and respond well to your training, and you can achieve this by trying some of the techniques mentioned in this article.
9. Patience and reinforcement
Remember that all these techniques take time, and you have to be consistent in your training. The minute you give up and let your dog get away with pulling you have lost the battle and may have to start all over again. So, whenever your dog is on the lead, make sure you continue your training. Your hard work and persistence will pay off in the long run, as long as you stick to your training and don’t give up!