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'How do I stop my dog pulling on the lead?'
Posted on 15/06/2017
This has to be the most common question ever asked in respect of problems experienced by dog owners, so when I set out to work with dogs without the use of gadgets, embracement, pressure or failure I first looked at the actual question and the initial flaw is in the negative feeling that this brings, so firstly I invite you to ask 'how do I teach my dog to walk with good manners by my side?'
Now the rest becomes so easy, as we can teach our dogs at home, when we can set the time aside, at our and our dog's pace and above all we can make it fun too, with no one yelling at us that 'we're not being firm enough!'.
To start allow about half an hour, make sure that your dog is alert and ready to work with you, get some small pieces of cooked meat or cheese in a small plastic bag (so it can fit into a pocket).
Invite your dog to come to you and as it approaches guide it to where you want it to learn to walk with you, which is usually by your side. Remember to call your dog in a loving and happy gentle voice.
When your dog goes to the food reward is located you give a word or two of praise 'good girl (boy)' for example. Move off and repeat the request and reward system until your dog is understanding what is wanted.
If you have ever been told that using food is bribery I ask you to consider that all dogs are smart and like us will choose to do something if there is a gain for them, the 'What's in it for me?' natural instinct.
As you get more confident then move in different directions and at different paces, as a leader will always choose the time, the direction and the pace of the hunt (walk) and this will help your dog believe in your ability to make the important decision when you are away from home.
You can also use less food reward, as your dog will have started to make a good association with this fun time together.
If your dog becomes excited then just stop and go to do something else, as our dogs, again like us, can only retain information when they are happy and steady.
This can be done in the house (apartment) or garden and when you know that your dog is really with you then you can add a simple slip lead around your dogs neck, as a safety precaution in preparation for when you venture into the big wide world.
If your dog puts any strain on the lead just stand still and refuse to move until your dog is back at your side. Always avoid jerking on the lead in any way, instead let your dog choose to relax any pressure and with a quiet word of encouragement invite your dog to return to the desired position.
Your dog will learn that working with you this way results in you being relaxed, happy and rather proud of what you have achieved and believe me all dogs pick up on this and love it.