Walking your dog is a big part of dog ownership. But do you often feel like the dog is walking you instead of the other way around? Don’t feel bad if that’s the case – it’s not an uncommon issue. It’s also one that can be fixed with some patience.
Why Does Your Dog Pull in the First Place?
Dogs are curious animals. Their natural inclination is to gravitate toward certain sights and smells that pique their curiosity. Because being tethered to a leash is an unnatural element that is essentially designed to limit their natural tendencies, they will feel that a leash is simply a hindrance for what they would instinctively do.
Their natural wandering instinct could particularly be an issue if your pooch happens to be a large dog, as his weight may mean that you’ll have to follow his lead. If you have a little guy by your side, his constant tugging and pulling won’t necessarily lead to a “dog walking you” situation, but it will get annoying really fast. Regardless of your dog’s side, consistent pulling can turn what should be a pleasant walk into an unpleasant chore.
The Power of Training Your Dog on Walking on a Leash
The solution to stopping your dog from pulling on the leash – and possibly pulling you in the process – is to put in some extensive training. You may come across a video or two that makes it look like this is a relatively easy process. However, the truth is that it requires a considerable amount of time to be put in if you want to do it right.
There are two aspects to leash training that your dog needs to learn. The first aspect is to teach your dog to walk without pulling. The second aspect is to teach your dog how to walk by your side or heel.
There are several methods you can deploy in order to teach your dog not to pull. For instance, you could provide enough slack on the leash to allow you to walk in the opposite direction of the way. You can even wait for the times where your pooch allows the leash to go slack, and then reward him with treats and praise appropriately.
After he has learned that pulling on the leash is not acceptable, you’ll want to keep his leash just short enough to be near you. Ideally, you’ll want to hit that sweet spot that falls in between giving him a little freedom and giving him enough slack to keep up with you. And again, offering him treats and praise as he learns to walk by your side goes a long way in this process.
Avoid Choke Chains at all Costs
One thing that you should never, ever do to your dog is implement a choke chain in your training. As the name may suggest, this particular chain is designed to tighten around your dog’s neck if he pulls. However, this method not only brings a massive amount of discomfort to your pooch, but it also could inflict damage to his trachea, neck, blood vessels, and nerves.
There are plenty of other leashes that you can use that are much gentler and more humane for your pooch. For instance, a front-attachment harness wraps around your dog’s chest comfortably and takes away the stress from any pulling away from his neck. On the other side of the coin, a head collar can act as a muzzle of sorts and will provide smaller-framed owners with large dogs a greater sense of control.
Your Dog Isn’t Doing this to Spite You
You will probably get frustrated a bit when you try to teach your dog not to pull on the leash. That’s just the nature of the beast because that’s the nature of your beast. Remember, your dog doesn’t mean any malice – he’s just doing what comes naturally to him.
However, if you treat your buddy with respect, praise, and kindness – as you should in all other aspects of training – your dog will come around eventually. He may not pick up on things as readily as other forms of training, but that’s okay. If you show him enough patience and love, leash pulling will eventually be a thing of the past.