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It’s funny sometimes to see an adult person being pulled by their dog on the streets. But it is certainly not funny to be in such a position!
- Want to learn how to train your dog not to pull on the leash?
- Does the thought of having to go for a walk with your dog scare you?
- Did you start to be afraid to walk out of the house with your dog so that it won’t pull so hard that the leash will break or your beloved pet will get in front of the cars?
- Do you have to run after your dog, not knowing who’s walking who?
Pulling on a leash is undesirable behavior, especially when you have a large breed dog. Even in small breed dogs, we do not want this behavior because of the medical implications it could have on them.
Many people believe that the anti-pulling collars for dogs will stop them from this unwanted behavior, but only if you have calm and firm energy. The owner is responsible for pulling on the leash and not the dog! The owner is the one who can intervene and correct this negative behavior.
Why is my dog pulling the leash?
Dogs are curious animals, and your four-legged friend is no exception! They are naturally attracted to scents, noises, movements, practically everything around them, being an instinctive behavior. Because putting on a collar and leash is something unnatural designed essentially to limit their natural tendencies, they will feel that this is simply an obstacle to what they would do instinctively.
Their natural instinct to wander could be problematic if you have a large breed dog because, due to its weight and size, it would mean that you will have to follow it. If you have a small dog, his constant pulling on a leash will not necessarily lead to a “I’m just walking my dog” situation because it might get annoyed very quickly. Regardless of your dog’s size, the constant pulling of the leash can turn what should be a pleasant walk into a difficult task.
How do we correct the “dog pulling on a leash” behavior?
Training your dog not to pull on the leash starts from the moment you ask your dog if it wants to go out for a walk.
Leash pulling is a complex issue of behavior and education, which involves several aspects, such as assertion as a leader, training from an early age, consistency and perseverance in training, and the desire for rehabilitation.
Pulling on a leash can be corrected in both stages of your dog’s life:
1. When your dog is a puppy;
2. When your dog is an adult.
How can you control this behavior when it’s a puppy?
You have to become the center of attention for your four-legged friend, and this starts when he is a puppy – this is the period when your pup will instinctively follow you wherever you go. It is good to praise and reward it every time it turns around at the sound of its name or when it follows you. On the walk, when your puppy looks at you, caress him and offer him something good to eat.
Affirm yourself as a leader. If your dog is submissive, it will do what you want to satisfy your desires. If your dog is the leader, it will do anything to satisfy its desires. Do you see the difference?
The assertion as a leader begins when the dog is a puppy. It is much easier to impose yourself in front of a puppy than an adult dog, but even if your dog is an adult, it is not impossible.
The moment the dog pulls on the leash, you tense up and stop. In this way, you show the dog who the leader is – the one who decides its next move is you.
Do not pull the leash too hard! This way you won’t solve anything! The walk is the moment when your dog has the chance to explore the environment.
Getting out of the house. It would be easier for you to fix this unwanted behavior if your dog knows the basic commands such as sit, stay, wait, or here.
In order for your dog not to associate the leash with the state of excitement, the leash will be put on when your fluffy friend is calm and relaxed, otherwise, its state of mind will be continuous.
Agitated dogs can be asked to wait (sit or stay/wait command) and left like that until they calm down, only then the leash will be put on. If it is too agitated, put the leash aside and resume this exercise later.
Don’t let the dog go out the door first! Before leaving the house, give the command sit, stay, or wait, open the door and leave giving him the command go. If your dog has been calm and listened to you, reward him with a treat.
Take a break.
Maybe you want to send a message or breathe for a moment. If your dog already knows certain commands, such as sit, here, or wait, use them. Reward your dog if it executes orders and waits. It is said that a dog that executes some already-learned commands during the walk is more relaxed and more self-confident.
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What to do if my dog doesn’t know any commands?
Your energy is the key to success in making your dog stop pulling on a leash.
If, however, the dog does not know any waiting command and has a collar on, a good way to get it out of this state of impatience and agitation is to grab it by the collar and pull it up; at some point it will calm down, but you have to be calm and firm in your action.
The collar is placed immediately behind the ears, in the upper part of the neck – this area is soft and more sensitive, and your dog’s behavior can be easily corrected. If we think about how the mother behaves with her puppies when they are small, we will realize that she also handles and moves them by grabbing the back of their neck.
Unfortunately, most people, most of the time, choose to put the dog’s collar at the base of the neck, where the strongest muscles are – these muscles help your dog to pull on a leash. If your dog can reach the ground very easily with its nose, it is not ok. If the collar is in the upper part of the neck, the dog would not reach the ground with its nose.
So, when you go for a walk with your dog and it pulls on the leash, move the collar behind its ears to have control over your pup. Never pull too hard and repeatedly. Repeated stress on the neck can lead in time to medical problems, including damage to the thyroid gland and tissues in the neck and salivary glands – if the collar is at the base of the neck. Other medical problems that can occur are nerve and vertebral injuries that can cause permanent damage or ocular issues.
What about strangling or force collars? Do they help?
When coming to train your dog not to pull on the leash, you may consider these accessories are for large breed dogs. They should only be used by people who know what they are dealing with because otherwise, they risk doing more harm (can cause serious damage to the dog) than good. When the dog throws itself to pull, the collar tightens around the neck, and if there is a great shock, the trachea can fracture.
It is a good idea to seek the advice of a specialist before using these collars.
Harness or leash?
If your dog pulls hard, we do not recommend using a leash, as it can cause several medical problems, as we mentioned above. But, if you have a dog with long and thick coat, the leash is the best choice, because the harness could catch their fur and pull on it, making them not feel comfortable during the walk.
The harness, on the other hand, is most recommended for small dogs and especially for short-nosed breeds that have breathing problems, such as the French bulldog, Boston terrier, Pekingese, Pug, Shih-Tzu, English bulldog, etc. In these breeds, the use of the harness is the most recommended. There are harnesses designed in such a way that all the pressure is channeled towards the dog’s chest and not towards the neck.
In large dogs, the use of the harness, especially during the growth and development of the skeleton, can lead to deformities of the spine called medically, kyphosis. Most of the time this deformation is irreversible. The next thing to consider is the goal and type of behavior you want from the puppy because a puppy that has been used to wearing a harness instead of a collar will often pull very hard on the leash.
Here are some suitable harnesses for your dog:
For small-sized dogs, we recommend Julius-K9, 162PM, K9-Powerharness, dog harness, Size: Mini, Black
For your medium to large breed dog, we recommend this harness PENGDA No Pull Dog Harness.
If none suits your needs, you can choose a harness from this list.
Last update on 2023-02-06 . Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. As an Amazon Associate, I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.