DTBR: Does your dog pull on its leash?

(This handout goes with Dog-Training-By-Radio #1 Jan 7 2018)

Does Your Dog Pull On Leash?

By Laura Pakis, CPT

It’s not just your dog! It takes two to pull.

Dogs do not pull if there is no one dangling at the end of the leash! Both you and your dog need to break old habits.

A Leash is to the Dog-Human connection like a seat-belt is to the car-driver connection.   Both are safety devices and often mandated by law. Just as we never use a seat-belt to drive our car, we should not use a leash to “drive” our dogs.   A leash allows us a safe and effective connection to our dogs in case of surprises, emergencies, or situations where attention is hard to get or keep

Your dog pulls because someone, somewhere at some time, took a step when he put tension on the leash.   He continues to pull because it continues to be a rewarding experience. He pulls, and he gets to the car. He pulls and he gets to greet that other dog in class. He pulls and the neighbor lady across the street tells him how lovely he is, even though he is now not JUST pulling but is also climbing up the front of her with his muddy dog paws, to which she replies, “it’s ok, I don’t mind!”

What gets rewarded gets repeated.

Here is the elusive answer to the ever present question of HOW DO I TEACH MY DOG NOT TO PULL?? (Shhhhh – it’s a secret!)    Don’t walk forward if there is tension on the leash.

Sounds way too simple doesn’t it?

Every single time you note that the dog is about to put the slightest tension on the leash STOP and the pulling will go away.   If you are consistent and don’t give up, he will learn it.  He will have good days and bad, but if you are diligent, he will figure it out.

It is important to practice in the house where the least amount of distractions are.  Work your dog 15 minutes a day going back and forth in the house on leash.

Practice standing still while your dog is pulling.  Praise or treat when your dog relaxes the tension in the leash.

Laura Pakis, CPT

Owner & Founder


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