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Basic Training

Who’s Pulling the Leash?

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While out for a walk with your dog, who’s pulling the leash? Is it you or your dog? In a perfect world neither of you should be jerking the other this way or that while out for a stroll, but too often one of you is dominating the show and many times it is your dog. But you can train your pooch to stop this annoying habit so read on for advice on how to do so.

Who’s pulling the leash?

It is important to understand our dogs learn habits by what we do and do not do. For example, when someone comes to your home and rings the doorbell your dog goes into a frenzy running to the door and barking non-stop. By allowing this behavior you are actually teaching your dog this kind of behavior is ok so they continue to do so. It is the same principle with who’s pulling the leash? Allowing your dog to lunge and pull you from side to side is sending an unwitting command to him this is ok when in fact it is not.

Some dogs of the hunting breed are going to go ballistic when they see a rabbit, cat, or squirrel cross their path while out for your walks. This is something you should be aware of and prepared for. Keeping a secure grip on the leash will prevent your hunter from breaking free and heading to parts unknown after the other animals.

Beginning your training for who’s pulling the leash? Training starts by not allowing the dog to dictate where he or she is going to walk. Rewarding your dog with a treat when they walk as you wish can be a good start, but this can also backfire when you think about just what is a reward to your dog. Some dogs will interpret you not correcting them for darting this way and that as a “reward” signaling this behavior is acceptable. So understand how and what your dog believes is a reward. All dogs can be trained to walk on a leash without the pulling, and constant struggle so many people go through when taking their doggy for a stroll. Age of the dog does not matter. What does matter is you understanding one or two walks are not going to produce a dog ready to stroll down the street like a show dog. Time and patience on your part are required and this might take many weeks to a few months.

Are your doggy walks a nightmare? Comments and tips are welcome below.

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  1. I swear by the gentle leader CHEST harness (not the head harness) Leading a deafblind dog on leash can be a challenge as they have no clue where you want to go. My guy stays close and when he has the harness on, if he pulls, the D ring at chest level pulls him back toward my knee where I want him to be. I can even walk two deafblinds on a coupler in the chest harness. My sighted hearing dogs walking on a neck collar are much more of a challenge so I tried the chest harness on them. First pup chewed it off before we got to the car, the other was insulted that I had curtailed her busy nose. I tried a conventional harness on my blind only pup and she turned, twisted and went where ever she wanted (I don’t use a neck collar lead on a blind pup as they don’t know where the end of the leash is and snap to the neck) She did much better with a chest harness. I do swear by the chest harness with the D ring at chest level.

  2. We rescued an 80 lb. American bulldog from the shelter. My first few attempts at taking him for a walk were a battle of wills with each of us at opposite ends of the leash glaring at each other insisting, “We’re going THIS way.” “No, we’re going THAT way.” But I started carrying a pocket full of small treats to give him each time he relented. Now he is a joy to walk with and we enjoy taking him out in in public whenever we can. He loves all the attention he gets too!

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