Does your dog continually pull on the leash whenever you try to walk them?
If so, this guide will explain some of the common reasons for this. What’s more, we’ll also take a look at some simple step-by-step strategies you can use to ‘retrain’ this behavior and teach your dog to walk to ‘heel’. And once he walks to heel, your dog walks will become peaceful and stress-free once more, which is certainly a great alternative to having your dog take you for a walk.
In fact, they’ll easily be some of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of your day, even if it’s hard to imagine right now, so let’s get started.
Why Does Your Dog Pull?
Firstly, there are several reasons why your dog may be pulling on the leash.
If your dog is particularly excited, they may start to tug and pull – and this also applies if they’re feeling bored, too. Something to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t try to match your strength against your dog by repeatedly pulling and tugging back on the leash each time they pull against you.
While it’s difficult to resist, this really doesn’t fix the problem in the long-run. If your dog pulls regularly, you need to retrain him in basic obedience – otherwise, your dog will become too familiar with your pulling, and simply begin to interpret this as part of the normal ‘walk experience’.
This could mean that your dog will never quit pulling against you!
So What Can You Do?
Teaching your dog to walk to heel is the essential step for stopping your dog from pulling on the leash. With this in mind, here’s a step by step strategy for retraining a dog to walk ‘correctly’ with you:
- Start the training by walking with your dog on your left side, holding the leash with both hands. When your dog starts to pull, slide your left hand down the leash and pull back firmly.
- When your dog is in the correct ‘heel’ position, tell them to sit. Do not continue until they’ve followed your command. (It will help immensely if you’ve already trained your dog to sit on command, too).
- Start to walk again while giving the command to ‘heel’. Make sure to repeat this step each and every time your dog pulls.
- When your dog will walk to heel without pulling on the leash, reward with a food treat. Your dog will soon begin to associate the reward with not pulling on the leash.
While the above strategy is an effective way of teaching a dog to walk to heel, there is also one other tactic you can use to quickly reduce how often your dog pulls on the leash.
All you need to do is pay attention to the very first instance of pulling, then quickly turn around in the opposite direction. Next, you should praise your dog when he follows you in the new direction while walking to heel
This tactic is certainly simple, but it’s incredibly effective. If you’re lucky, you may get great results with this alone.
Overall, leash pulling is a very common problem, but it can be fixed by following these simple strategies.
If your dog already has months or even years of experience with pulling, then it may take some persistence and consistency for the methods to truly change their behavior – but if you commit yourself to follow the techniques, then good results are sure to occur.