If you're tired of your dog dragging you around on the leash, check out these 7 hacks to stop leash pulling.
It just takes a little practice and a few tips to get you back on track.
1. Chill out before you go out. Our dog freaks when you even touch the leash. She starts spinning in circles and doing this funny dance. It's really funny and we kind of fed into it. The problem is she immediately takes that energy outside and goes pulling on the leash. Try to get your dog calm before you open the door. Put the leash on and wait a bit.
2. Practice inside. I know. That sounds dumb. It does help though. You can practice trying to get your dog to stay at your side. You can also practice going first through doors. I know the whole going first is tied to a dominance theory but you don't need to buy into that for it to be useful. The main thing is you are getting your dog to listen to you on the leash.
3. No Pull Harness. Not up for even trying to teach your dog anything? That's ok! We live in the 21st century where there's a product for everything! No pull harness are great! And they are a great place to start because you aren't going to fix the problem overnight. Plus, if your dog is like mine, it can be harmful to them to pull so hard on the leash. The folks at Kurgo are probably best known, check out their popular harness, the Kurgo Tru-Fit No Pull Dog Harness and Easy Dog Walking Harness, on Amazon. You can also get one from Ruffwear from Amazon like the Ruffwear - Front Range No-Pull Dog Harness.
4. Stop When it Starts. This is the most commonly taught method to get your dog to stop pulling. It can also be the most time consuming and frustrating. Basically, you stop every time your dog pulls on the leash. Stand still until there is slack in the leash, praise your dog, and then move on. Not a bad method of you don't mind walking a block in 37 minutes.
5. Reverse Direction. I get a little crazy with the stopping and starting, so an alternate version is reversing direction. Every time your dog pulls, turn around and go the opposite direction. The trick is to do this without yanking on the leash. Be prepared for more strange looks from the neighbors.
6. Wear 'em Out. Sounds a little crazy, but this one really works. Ever notice how your dog pulls less at the end of your walk? That's because she's tired. Play a little or a lot with your dog before you hit the streets. Combine it with step 1 where you let your dog mellow after putting on the leash and you have a much slower walk.
7. No Rewards. At the heart of all dog training is the concept that behavior that is rewarded is repeated. Most of the time we don't even realize that we are rewarding behavior we want to discourage. When it comes to leash pulling, the reward is letting your dog get to what he's after. If he's pulling you to sniff a tree or mailbox, don't let him get there without stopping first. Dogs have short memories when it comes to action and reward, so you just need a slight interruption in the chain.
Things not to do? Never yank on the leash and don't yell at your dog. Yelling doesn't work. Trust me, I used to do it all the time. It was like me and my dog were speaking a different language....
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