Does Your Dog Pull On The Leash?

Leash Training: Walking a dog on a leashLeash Training 101: It’s not just your dog! It takes two to pull.

Dogs do not pull if there is no one dangling at the end of the leash!

Leash training begins with both you and your dog breaking old habits.

Your dog pulls because someone, somewhere at some time, took a step when he put tension on the leash.

He pulls – because it works!

“A Leash is to the Dog-Human connection like a seat-belt is to the car-driver connection. Both are safety devices and often mandated by law. Just as we never use a seat-belt to drive our car, we should not use a leash to “drive” our dogs. A leash allows us a safe and effective connection to our dogs in case of surprises, emergencies, or situations where attention is hard to get or keep.” Lisa Edwards, CPDT, CDBC

Walking a dog on a leash

He continues to pull because it continues to be a rewarding experience. He pulls, and he gets to the car. He pulls and he gets to greet that other dog in class. He pulls and the neighbor lady across the street tells him how lovely he is, even though he is now not JUST pulling but is also climbing up the front of her with his muddy dog paws, to which she replies, “it’s ok, I don’t mind!”

Leash training your dog: Loose leash walkingThis is what loose leash walking looks like!

What gets rewarded, gets repeated.

Here is the elusive answer to the ever present question of HOW DO I TEACH MY DOG NOT TO PULL?? (Shhhhh – it’s a secret!)

Don’t walk forward if there is tension on the leash.

Leash Training: When the dog applies tension.
When the dog is about to apply ANY tension to the leash at all ….
Leash Training: Stop
Immediately stop. Be a tree.
Leash Training: Praise
When the dog turns to see what happened to you, praise for his attention …
Leash Training: Heel position
and encourage the dog back into heel position next to you – if necessary, take a few steps backward.
Leash Training: The magic spot
As long as the dog is in the magic spot next to your leg, continue praising, give food rewards, make it the best possible place in the world to be.

If he loses concentration and is about to put any tension on the leash at all, stop without warning and repeat the above sequence.

*gasp* Sounds way too simple doesn’t it?

Simply STOP every single time you note that the dog is about to put the slightest tension on the leash and the pulling will go away. (Yeah, right.) No, honest – It really, really works! The truth is, that if you tire your dog out first with a good game of fetch and then take him for a walk in a quiet non-distracting place every day this week with only ONE goal: to walk without tension and you absolutely refuse to take a single forward step when you feel tension on the leash, he will discover that pulling is “broken” and that the tension is a cue to slacken the lead. You will see the light bulb go on when he realizes this. If you are consistent and don’t give up, he will learn it. He will have good days and bad, but if you are diligent he will figure it out.