Taking your dog for a walk is one of life’s greatest joys. Their excitement is infectious, and the benefits of adventuring outdoors and moving out bodies do not need explaining. While a dog walk should be a fun experience, unruly behaviour can dampen the mood. Have you ever felt as if your dog is taking YOU for a walk? Lead pulling is an incredibly frustrating problem that can ruin the flow of your daily exercise and bonding routine.
Nonetheless, it’s usually a result of a curious and active dog - not something we should be complaining about. The key lies in redirecting their energy to positive behaviours. If you don’t teach them what you want from them, they will never understand. Let’s take a look at why your dog pulls on their lead and then examine a few strategies to rectify their behaviour.
Why your dog pulls on their lead
Your dog is usually not trying to be a pain on purpose. Their erratic behaviour is seldom a display of disobedience, and in fact, there are many reasons for why they might do so. Firstly, humans naturally walk at a far slower speed than most dogs. Unless you’re working on getting your heart rate going, then your dog will always try to communicate that they want to increase the pace!
“Run around the yard or play some fetch to get your dog in a more relaxed state before you head out”
Secondly, humans like order and follow human-made paths and signs. Dogs don’t understand these inventions. Instead, your pooch will look to take every opportunity to investigate and explore all the new smells, plants and sights along the way. Furthermore, walking is an outlet for their pent-up energy. If your dog is extremely excited and active before you leave, there’s a good chance they will pull on the lead. Try a run around the yard or a few throws of fetch to get them in a more relaxed state before you head out for your walk or training lesson.
Keep walks short and focussed
If lead pulling is a real problem for you and your beloved dog, you need to take focussed action to address the issue. One way to do this is to keep your walks short. A concentrated ten-minute training stroll will go a lot further than a long walk with intermittent periods of training sprinkled in as you go. Ideally, your dog should pay attention the whole time you are implementing the training strategies we will discuss below. Make sure to bring treats and reward them when they do well! When the behaviours are mastered, you can return to extended sessions.
Slow it down and stop when necessary
We want our walks to be enjoyable. If you’re sick of being tugged and rushed around by your dog, you need to get them to slow down. Give this a go by encouraging them with a treat. When they walk at your pace, or go a while without getting distracted, praise them to help reinforce their exemplary behaviour.
Sometimes it might be necessary to put the foot down, literally. If your dog just can’t stop pulling you along, it’s time to stop completely. Teach your excitable pup that they’re not going anywhere unless it’s on your terms. When your dog relaxes and stops pulling, you can recommence walking. If you consistently do this every time their behaviour becomes unruly, your dog will very quickly learn the rules of the walk.
Teach your dog the heel command
Actively training your dog can help speed up the process. The 'heel' command teaches your dog to walk calmly next to you without tugging on their leash. This is a more direct training technique than just stopping while you’re out on your walk. It also teaches them an active word that you can use to influence their behaviour when required. Practice this training as often as possible.
How to teach it:
Here are some other must-know commands to teach your pup!
Use the right equipment for the job
If you’re using a simple lead, you might be doing your dog a disservice. A harness that spreads pressure more evenly around their chest allows you to have better control over their movement. When the leash is attached to the front of their chest, the tug they give will spin their body around, making it extremely difficult for them to gain traction.
A dog training e-collar is another excellent tool to prevent unruly behaviour on a walk. Dog training e-collars issue mild stimuli, such as a high-pitched sound, vibration or mild-static to discourage unwanted doggy behaviour. Try using a training e-collar on your walk, using the remote to discourage them safely if required.
A quality, well-calibrated dog training e-collar is an excellent and safe tool that can ensure walking your dog is a stress-free experience. Dog Gear offers trusted electronic dog training e-collars, utilising warning tones to prompt your pup safely. With free Australian shipping and same-day dispatch, our products will be with you fast. Follow us on Facebook for the latest advice, updates and dog training tips!