How To Stop Leash Pulling In 5 Minutes

5 Ways to Get Your Dog to Stop Pulling on the Leash

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How to Stop Leash Pulling in 5 Easy Steps

Nobody wants their leisurely stroll with their adoring pet to devolve into a full-fledged tug-of-war, so you’ll want to walk up and go wherever he wants. Don’t read any further if you’re perfectly content to dash from tree to post while your dog sniffs out which of his friends have been there before him. If you want to regain control of your walkies and enjoy a pleasant walk with your canine companion, here are five simple tips on how to stop your dog from pulling on the leash.

1. It is critical to plan:

Don’t just put on the leash and go if you want to stop leash pulling…

Warm up your dog with 10-15 minutes (or more) of “lead time” by walking them around the house with their leash/collar, so they are more focused on their job when you arrive at the door after this warm-up period is completed. It’s also a good idea to let your dog wear their leash at random times other than before walks to reduce any strong associations they may have with it being associated with walks.

2. Schedule your walks

The over-projection and anxiety associated with leash pulling in dogs can be reduced by teaching your dog to obey a strong “heel” or “let’s go” type of walking command. Giving your dog a job to do by committing to one clearly defined space next to you gives your dog something to do and encourages focus in your direction rather than thinking ahead! Furthermore, walking in this manner simulates how dogs (and many other animal species) align with a pack, herd, pod, or other group, rather than the independent, over-anticipation that causes a dog to think many steps ahead of where you and their bodies are actually located. This is what creates distractions and reactions while walking.

3. Construct a home for your dog.

As a professional dog trainer in Los Angeles, I’ve noticed that most of my clients’ dogs don’t just have a problem with leash pulling. I’ve had the opportunity to observe how most dogs who have unwanted behaviors like pulling on their leash are also highly anxious and hypersensitive in their indoor home lives because I’ve been in the homes of literally thousands of dog owners with problem pooches. For example, “tracking” their owners’ movements too closely and impulsively (following you around nonstop), being easily stimulated, or being pushy by having to “ask” for resources such as food, potty time, and attention are all examples of this. Giving these dogs more structure and training at home when they are overly reactive to what is going on around them communicates that we are able to keep track of them and give them things to do while we go about our human business. By incorporating your dog’s training while you are actually living, rather than as a scheduled event, you are also teaching your pup how to listen to you while life is happening, which will come in handy when you need it the most!

4. Socialization.

Many dogs have trouble walking because they haven’t been properly socialized and have become overly stimulated and reactive to things they aren’t used to. By exposing your dog to as many people, dogs, and environments as possible while maintaining a calm association with listening rather than reacting, they will learn to be more neutral to what they may encounter on your walks.

5. Double-check your equipment.

Unfortunately, some dog training equipment can make teaching your dog to stop pulling on the leash more difficult. Traditional harnesses or even a dog collar worn too low on a dog’s neck can cause a pulling (opposition) reflex, which causes a dog to want to pull against the pressure and energy being distributed too low and broadly across their bodies. Sled dogs work in this manner. Some dog training equipment, such as no-pull harnesses and gentle lead/head halti devices, is more effective at physically preventing leash pulling, but they do not address the over-projection of a dog’s thinking as the root cause of their pulling issues. It’s essentially bandaging the problem (as most overly-positive dog training does), and the dog never learns to walk naturally as their natural instincts dictate. This is a skill that all dogs possess!

Instead, a collar worn snugly behind a dog’s ears (similar to how show dogs are walked and the dog whisperer’s collar) applies the right type of pressure to help draw focus inward and reorganize their sensory system, preventing them from over projecting. It’s essentially the same as teaching your dog to meditate rather than having them visualize themselves halfway around the neighborhood before the walk even starts! Remember, we’re not trying to choke or correct our dogs (which is why most dog owners and trainers avoid using a “training” collar in the first place); instead, we’re trying to project our energy or chi by applying light pressure to the pockets behind their ears, similar to how other dogs would use their mouths to keep their structure while flowing as a pack. Dogs do this in play when they try to herd each other to establish angles and direction.

You’ll see results and learn how to stop leash pulling from day one if you learn how to connect with your dog naturally as a lifestyle and in your training.

 

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