A new dog can be perfectly happy pulling you over, down the street and nearly choking themselves out
Let’s talk about leash pressure, or pressure in general. Different dogs will react differently when they first experience the leash.
Problems worsen when the dog is pulling. Sure, because the animal has to work hard to stay focused on his or her task at hand. The dog can be pulling towards a distraction, or traveling back to us. We can add leash pressure to either one of these situations. We could also look at the dog’s energy level. Are they at a high or low level of energy? Is the dog in an instinctual drive, perhaps chasing an animal?
We are bringing these things up so that we don’t unintentionally create the opposite of what we are trying to do. Many of the training collars available on the market are aimed at making it more clear to the dog whether he or she is feeling the pressure of the leash or not. Here’s a list of a few common anti-pulling devices: halties, chokers, pinch/prong collars, dominate dog collars, chest harness’s ,Cezars Pack Leader collar and more.
A dog that is following you, will take directions very well. He’s already following you and focused on you, so this is a great starting point for any additional tasks you may ask of the dog. Just getting the dog to commit to the task of walking where you walk will create a great deal of focus. Pulling on the leash should be a signal for the dog to come to you. If a dog is new to this kind of training exercise, they may resist your leash, or constantly be pursuing other lines of interest. As you begin to put it into practice, the problems will seem to lessen as your dog more easily can commit to and stay in the behavior of following you, or walking with you.
Most dog owners make this mistake of wearing the dogs collar too low. 2 inches can make a world of difference in how responsive your dog is to the leash. A harness that attaches the leash to the dogs back gives us little to no control over the dogs movements. In comparison, a head halter that wraps around the dogs muzzle will give us a lot of control over our dog.
You got your leash on your dog, now it’s time to do something with it.
- Step one: Do nothing. If you’d like to tether your dog somewhere for a moment, that’s ok to. Your dog will learn that the leash is restricting him or her from traveling to many different distractions.
- Step two: With the leash in hand now, start traveling around behind your dog and teaching him to turn towards you. The turn is the first step to a dog traveling in a straight line to you.
- Step Three: Start reeling your dog in, keeping a close eye on how the dog is responding. If the dog really struggles on flat ground, you can start on a hill, or in a doorway. Using the leash to get your dog comfortably moving in and out of vehicles can be another good starting point.
Bad behavior on leash is a common problem, but don’t fret. There are people that have been through what you’re going through. Most professional dog trainers can help you get your dogs leash behavior under control. The bigger the dog the more important it is to teach good leash response and make a point of maintaining your expectation of what should happen.