How to Train a Dog not to Pull on the Leash

Pulling on the leash is a common problem among dogs regardless of their size. Each of them learns to pull on the leash at an early age. This behavior takes all the fun out of the leisure time when you walk out with your dog and it becomes one of major reasons why people stop taking their dog out for walk. The main reason dogs pull on the leash is because they get where they want to go. When you have no control over your pet, it reinforces the behavior.

Define your term and keep consistent with what you want

Sit and think of what you want from your dog. Imagine what kind of behavior you would like your dog to follow. Keep asking questions for yourself:

- Do you want her to walk on your left side or on right side?

- Do you want your arm to be relaxed or extended while walking with your dog?

- Would you allow your dog to sniff while walking on the street?

    Get enough physical activities

    Each dog needs exercise at least 30 minutes to one hour depending on what kind of breed she is. Some of very active dogs require 3 hours of physical activities. Exercise is a very important element for your dog in order to release her energy. You can expect a calm on-leash companion when your dog has enough exercise. If she does not get enough physical activities, she will do anything to release her energy. Physical activities could be walking, playing with older dogs, playing fetch, running and many more.

    Don't wait until your leash is tight to turn

    The best way to train a dog to stop pulling is to turn long before the leash gets tight. You have to be ready to react quickly. If your leash is tight, you have to pull your dog back a bit by bending your arms, release and turn and correct very quickly.

    The second your dog's forward momentum has been stopped and he's walking in your direction, you need to start praising him. Praise is critical folks. Praising your dog helps avoid further correction, motivates your dog to catch up with you quickly, demonstrates that you're not upset and builds trust.

    If the dog pulls, walk in the opposite direction

    Just turn around and start walking the other way. Don't get angry or even say anything. The dog will soon realize that you are the one who controls where the two of you go, and how fast.

    You will have to repeat this a lot. For a while, you will have to do this a few times at the beginning of every walk, until the dog remembered. But it sure made the rest of the walk very pleasant.

    Hold the leash close to your abdomen

    If your arm is stretched out, then a sudden pull by the dog will have you feeling like your arm is about to get pulled out. If you keep your hand close to your body (just above the waist seems to work fine), then you have much more control. If necessary, use both hands at first. But keep them close to your body.

    Use a harness or halter, not a collar

    This is very important, both for your dog's health and for your peace of mind. Don't get upset and yell at the dog. Just matter-of-factly, go along where you want to go. The dog will have to follow. The dog will soon learn to go where you want.

    If you get all upset, you give a lot of control to the dog. She could be just trying to get a rise out of you. If she pulls, just calmly walk in the other direction. Don't even look back. If she lags behind, just keep going. Keep your hands close to your body and this will be pretty easy to do, especially if you are using a halter.

    Focus On Your Dog Attention

    You will not be able to change your dog's behavior overnight, it requires patience and practice. Once your dog is well behaved in one location, move on to a more distracting place. Your dog can practice how to deal with the distraction. Walk briskly to a crowded place and change direction frequently, this way makes your dog pay attention to where you are going.

    It would be a real shame if you avoided going on walks with your dog because of the pulling. Dogs need walks. They need exercise and the variety of seeing something other than their own backyard. And the exercise is good for you too.

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    Please note: all dogs should be treated as individuals. The Actijoy™ blog is for educational and entertainment purposes only. In the case of emergency, always seek qualified healthcare from a local veterinarian or emergency facility. Actijoy™ blogs are not designed to treat, diagnose, or prescribe medication for your pet.

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