Training your dog to walk on a leash is not always the easiest task in the world. In fact, sometimes it can be downright frustrating. One of the biggest problems that pet owners face when they are leash training is pulling on the leash. When your dog pulls on their leash, it can actually lead to a wide variety of problems. While it may seem harmless, you definitely need to be aware of the issues that can arise because of it.
First of all, when your dog is attached to a leash, depending on the type of collar and leash used, it could be a risk to their safety. If they pull with force, it could choke them, or it may even pull the leash away from the collar and then they will be running wild and free. An unleashed dog can really be a bad thing, especially if they go out of control like so many do when they are not bound to their leash. If you have a large breed, they may even drag you along and cause you to trip.
There are things that you can do to prevent your dog from pulling on the leash. Here are 10 steps that will help to stop the leash pulling once and for all and ensure that your walks with your dog are pleasant.
How to Stop Leash Pulling
Step 1 – Choose the Right Accessories
The first thing that you will need to do is choose the right accessories for your dog. With the right walking accessories, you can ensure that your dog is comfortable on the leash, and that you have a leash that will actually prevent your dog from being able to pull. There are many nice retractable leashes that help you to control how far your dog is able to walk, although it won’t always keep them from trying to pull further away. You can also choose from quality harnesses, collars and other adjustable walking accessories to ensure a perfect fit for your dog. Just because you have the right accessories doesn’t mean that you don’t need to train your dog effectively.
Step 2 – Let Your Dog Expend Some of Their Energy Before Their Walk
Sometimes when you are walking your dog, they will only pull on their leash because they have the desire to go faster and get some exercise. If you want them to walk at a slower speed with you, then you will want to allow them to expend some of their energy before you take them on their walk. Take them out into your backyard and throw the Frisbee, play fetch, or do something that gets them active. Then, training them on their leash won’t be as difficult for you because they won’t be so rowdy.
Step 3 – Use Short, Frequent Training Sessions
The next step is to use short, frequent training session with your dog. You don’t want to take them out on the leash for an hour at a time, because they might get bored with it. With short sessions on the leash, they will begin to understand that you are trying to teach them, but it won’t be overwhelming for them.
Step 4 – Walk Quickly to Keep Them on Track
When you are walking your dog, you will want to keep up a swift pace. The problem is that dogs often times like to ‘stop to smell the roses’ so to speak, or at least the fire hydrants! The swifter the pace, the less likely they will start to drift off to the side and pull their leash. Dogs can be very ADD and their attention span can go from one thing to the next in a matter of seconds. Sometimes, you just have to keep the on the right track. It doesn’t mean that you have to rush them along for the whole walk, but don’t just poke along either.
Step 5 – Use the Red Light, Green Light Method
A tried and true method for leash training your dog is known as the red light green light method. With this method, when your dog starts to pull on the leash, you will stop right where you are so that they cannot go any further. Then, ask your dog to sit and stay until you are ready to try again. When they listen to your command to sit, reward them and then continue your walk – hence the red light, green light. The only downfall is that your dog needs to already know basic commands such as sit, stay, and go.
Step 6 – Use the Lure and Reward Method
The lure and reward method is another effective method that you can use. You will start out by luring your dog with a treat, and when they walk like they are supposed to, you give them the treat once they walk without pulling you along for a few minutes. This usually requires you to walk next to your dog, and it isn’t always easy. If your dog gets distracted by treats easily, then the red light, green light method may work best. You can test out both methods to see what works best for your dog.
Step 7 – Use Special Treats to Reward Your Pup
One of the biggest things that you can do to encourage good leash behavior is giving treats as a reward. Most dogs love treats, and many people find that it is the best thing to do to ensure that their dog ‘catches on’, so to speak. If you are worried about your dog’s weight, then why not consider a healthy treat that is designed to freshen their breath and clean their gums? That way you aren’t giving them any empty calories.
Step 8 – Help Your Dog to Feel Comfortable
One of the main reasons that dogs tend to pull on their leash is because they are not comfortable. Perhaps you are walking in an area that makes them feel unsafe. If there are a lot of other dogs or people around, there may be distractions that keep your dog from wanting to walk with you, and they may want to try to run off ahead of you. Sometimes this is out of pure curiosity, but other times they really might feel threatened. Try to help your dog to feel comfortable when you are walking them, and this will help to encourage the behavior that you are looking for.
Step 9 – Don’t Push Them Too Hard Too Fast
You need to understand that your dog won’t master leash walking overnight. In fact, they probably won’t even be a pro after a week or two. It is something that will take a decent amount of practice, but you don’t want to push them too hard too fast. If you do, they may rebel. This is why it is key to start out slow, and gradually increase the amount of time you work with them. Don’t expect perfection right away, but don’t let them fool you either. After a few weeks, they shouldn’t be pulling on their leash much, if at all.
Step 10 – If All Else Fails, Hire a Dog Trainer
The truth is, some dogs are really just stubborn. If you have ever had a dog that just wouldn’t ever pick up on simple commands, then you understand the frustrations of a stubborn, hard headed pup! If you just can’t seem to get them to catch on to the proper way to walk on their leash, it may be time to hire a dog trainer that will be able to work with them. They will be able to not only help them with walking on their leash, they will also help them to understand and follow simple commands. Typically, hiring a trainer can be a bit pricey though, so you may want to save this as a last ditch effort if you are still struggling with your dog.