WHY IS MY DOG PULLING ON THE LEASH?
There are several reasons why your dog could be pulling on the leash, but here are a few common reasons:
- Dogs oppose restraint. When the collar tightens as your dog pulls, your dog naturally pulls harder. The opposition restraint reflex was a great way to survive in the wild, but unfortunately it doesn’t carry over to life with humans.
- It’s unnatural. Humans walk, while dogs prefer to trot. Humans want to get from Point A to Point B, while dogs want to chase and sniff.
- Random variable reinforcement. By allowing your dog to randomly pull on the leash to sniff or chase, the behavior is randomly being reinforced.
OKAY, SO HOW DO I GET MY DOG TO STOP PULLING ON THE LEASH?
When training loose leash walking, it’s imperative that you consider every leashed event a training opportunity. There are many effective methods to train loose leash walking, but this particular method is my favorite.
- With your dog leashed, head out on a walk. As soon as your dog pulls, stop walking.
- Wait for your dog to return to a loose leash position and treat. If necessary, use a treat to lure your pup to the loose leash position. Note: Loose leash walking is different than heeling. Heeling should not be done for long periods of time.
- Once your dog is in a loose-leash position, begin walking again.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 each time your dog pulls.
Your dog should very quickly pick up on the fact that pulling disrupts the enjoyable walk, but don’t assume that one training walk will do the trick. Loose leash walking requires a high level of skill and restraint from your dog.
Remember, practice makes perfect!
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