How To Stop My Dog Pulling On The Lead – Wiggles and Wags
How To Stop My Dog Pulling On The Lead

How To Stop My Dog Pulling On The Lead

Have you ever wondered what causes your dog to pull on the lead? Well, there are quite a few answers to this question and for the purposes of this short article, let's start at the beginning. Your dog pulls because it works for them. Every step you take with your dog tells it that it is OK to move with you in that way. The trick is to teach your dog from a very early age that walking by your side is the correct thing to do - walking your dog in a controlled way and on a loose lead takes time and you need patience to begin with!

Before you start, try to get your dog's attention. If you make sure that you can engage with your dog, it will likely lead to calmer walks in the long-run and by getting your dog to be close to your side puts you in control from day 1.

If your dog walks nicely at any time, even for a brief moment, reward it. Use a calm voice, keep the volume down and praise your dog every time it walks nicely by your side. Start off by moving very short distances and gradually increase those distances before offering praise and a reward. You could also reinforce good behaviour with a keyword if you want to, but it is probably a good idea to use a word that you don't use a lot in every day conversations. We knew someone who used "yes" every time they got a positive response from their dog and this was less than ideal later on.

Try to vary the distances and also the routes. A little later on, you can incorporate objects, other animals (like cows and sheep on the other side of a fence) and other people. Even when there are distractions, try to continually engage with your dog and praise them when they walk nicely. You can then decide to have time outs and introduce socialising with people and other dogs and animals when you think it is good to do so. But remember that you want your dog to react to you and your instructions so mix it up a bit and offer some variety.

If the lead tightens when you are walking, stop and walk back to where you were. By teaching your dog that it cannot move forward when the lead goes tight will give you a lot of control later on. If the lead remains loose but the dog is edging forward regularly, you may want to use a word like "close" to bring it back by your side. It is worth mentioning that some breeds of dog appear to pull more than others and it may take more training to get them to walk by your side.

One training aid which could work well is a double ended dog lead and this can be used in conjunction with a suitable dog harness. A double ended lead has a fastening clip at each end - one attaches to a top clip on the harness and the other end fastens to a front clip, usually located on the dog's chest. You can simply attach both ends and use this to effectively steer your dog away from pulling forward. As soon as the front part of the lead goes tight it will automatically apply side forces to move your dog to one side in a subtle way. As your dog slows and comes close to your side you can walk a few steps and then praise and reward your dog again. Training aids like these are very popular with dog owners that experience excessive pulling from their dog and have tried other methods.

One final thing to mention is always be consistent with your training. Be patient and don't deviate from objectives and methods. Some of your walks may take a little longer in the early stages but it will all be worth it in the end.

Happy dog walking.

Wiggles and wags offers advice and early days training for dog owners. We also offer training aids on this website in the form of double ended dog leads and reflective dog harnesses.

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