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Leash Pulling: How to train your dog

Your dog sees you put on your shoes; his ears perk up. The keys jingle and his head pops up. As soon as your fingers touch the leash, he’s alert and on all fours. Walk time!

Image courtesy raisingpetsandanimals.blogspot.com

You’re out the door and your dog’s nose is going a million miles a minute collecting new smells left and right. He doesn’t have any regard for you or the leash, and allows his nose to be his guide.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

The reason dogs pull on their leash, or perform any other undesirable behavior, is because we allow them to. If you notice that one arm is getting more buff than the other and you’re exhausted from the leash being constantly taut then maybe it’s time to start looking at solutions to leash pulling.

Teaching proper leash behavior

To begin teaching your dog proper leash behavior, you’ll want to prepare by loading up with treats. Find a good spot to practice walking your dog and as soon as the leash becomes tight, say “no” then turn and walk in the other direction. Your dog will turn around to catch up to you and when he is by your side, reward him with praise and a treat.  Keep practicing this method to teach your dog the basics that he belongs right by your side while on walks.

Gentle leader or Halti

This is a type of face harness that works much like a bridle on a horse. Your dog will quickly learn that pulling is undesirable because it causes his entire head to turn. It will take lots of treats and positive reinforcement to accustom your dog to wearing something on his face, but is worth it in the end. Be sure to consistently reward and praise your dog while he wears the harness so that he associates it as being a good thing.

Prong collar

Another training aid for leash pulling is the prong collar which mimics the corrective bite that a puppy’s mother gives it when they misbehave.

Which methods have you found to be most effective?

About Stacy @Trupanion

Stacy Kowalchuk is a dog mom to her rescued Whippet-mix, Ellie. During the week, you can find Stacy surfing (the internet, that is) and managing Trupanion's presence in the social media world. In her free time, Stacy likes to bake, especially cupcakes! To balance her culinary affinity, she also likes to stay active, especially with activities that include her dog such as hiking and going to dog parks.

One Response to Leash Pulling: How to train your dog

  1. Kevin Kearney says:

    I haven’t used one of those leaders. Though, a bunch of people say they are great. However, for me, I’m a dog walker (usually more than 4 at a time) and, those prong collars are great. I would very much recommend everyone (especially a puppy) to get one.

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