Walking your dog should be a fun time for both you and your canine. Dogs enjoy sniffing and picking up scents as part of their world. Seeing and admiring other dogs and critters from afar is another exciting aspect of going for walks. And although taking walks is part of the quality time you spend with your pooch, your dog must understand that tugging and pulling is not permissible.
Use A Comfortable and Safe Collar
Before you take your dog for a walk, make sure the collar is both comfortable and secure. If your dog pulls really hard, and the collar is not secure, you’ll end up with an empty collar hanging on the leash while your pup runs off. Moreover, it is a good idea to purchase a wider collar. A wide collar would be safer than a narrow collar because its width would spread the force of pulling over a larger area of your dog’s neck.
Wise Words From the Dog Whisperer
According to Cesar Milan (the Dog Whisperer), dogs pull on a leash because they get excited. Mr. Milan advises that all dog parents must learn to “understand how to communicate” with their dog when the dog is excited. As a dog parent, you must learn to calm your pup “through the leash”.
Here are a few tips recommended by the American Kennel Club (AKC) on how you can communicate to your dog not to pull on the leash during your walks.
1. Change Familiar Scents
When you walk by certain houses, neighborhoods or shops that you and your dog frequent daily your canine will memorize and associate those odors with those places the next time you are near them. As a result, each time you walk by those areas, your dog gets excited. If he is not trained, the excitement will make your canine tug and pull on the leash in an attempt to take you where the aroma is. One way to stop your dog from tossing you to the side while pulling on the leash is to change those scents.
How to change a scent
Round up fresh treats, put them in a bag and take them with you. Dry treats don’t work well so avoid getting them. Put the bag in front of your dog’s nose so he gets a good sniff and knows you have treats. When you are at the location exciting your dog, give him a treat. While walking away from the location, give your pooch a treat. Then, after an additional 10-15 feet, give your dog another treat. Increase the distance by 5 feet each time. The goal is to associate your dog’s good behavior with the treat each time you go for walks so eventually he gets a treat only after he gets home.
2. Redirect Your Dog
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), motion from cars, people and other moving objects trigger a predatory response from dogs that causes them to lunge at the objects directly.
How to redirect your dog
To prevent your dog from lunging at a moving object, distract your dog by asking him to perform tricks for you. For example, ask your pooch to sit down and give him a treat after he does it. Continue to ask him to perform different tricks until your canine no longer cares about the moving objects around him. Dogs like to please their parents and will eagerly perform for them. A treat is the best incentive.
3. Get permission to approach other dogs
Not all dogs are eager to meet you or to greet your dog. For most part, you have no idea what the demeanor of a stranger’s dog is like until you approach the dog first. This is why you should not force or allow your dog to approach other dogs without permission from other dog owners. Playful canine meandering may turn into an aggressive, bloody battle between dogs.
Listen to other canine parents
Dog parents are the only ones who know what their canine’s life is like. Some dogs may have history of abuse prior to being adopted. Other dogs may be under the weather. Whatever the case may be, these dogs may become defensive. Therefore, it is always important to respect the wishes of dog owners who decline your offer to greet and meet their dog.
4. Ignore Barking Dogs
Barking is one of the main reasons dogs like to lunge at each other during walks. It is a primal instinct for dogs to claim their territory. However, dogs that always bark during their walks are not trained or have been raised in an aggressive environment.
Stimulate your dog’s mind
Games and exercise will keep your dog’s mind stimulated. When you are home, teach your dog new tricks and reward him with his favorite treat. You can give your pooch a trick training/treat dispensing toy that will keep him intrigued on how to get to the hidden treat. During the day, take your canine to the park, on long walks or swimming. By the time walking time arrives, your dog will be calm and too tired to pay attention to a barking dog.
5. Stop walking
Another way to communicate to your dog he must not pull you is to stop walking and stand still. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), “be a tree”. When you stop and don’t move, you are alerting your canine that nothing happens until you say so. Your dog will immediately pay attention and recognize you are the Alpha in charge. Command your dog to sit and wait. Take a few steps slowly, then stop. Once your dog calms down and walks by your side reward him with a treat.
Any one of these 5 techniques should help you stop your dog from pulling on the leash. Keep in mind that your dog is reacting to stimuli that are making him/her excited. They are not being naughty on purpose. Making sure you relax your dog will make your walks together memorable. Wearing a comfortably safe collar is a bonus.