How to Train Your Dog to Stop Pulling on Their Leash

By September 2, 2014Blog

Written by Amanda, Carriage Crossing Animal Hospital’s Certified Behaviour Therapist

One of the most common training questions I am asked is how to train your dog to stop pulling on their leash. For many dog owners it is a daily struggle to get their dog walked. Lack of training and a dog full of excess energy can make for a very difficult walk for everyone.

Before starting any walking or physical activity program, ensure that both you and your pet are in good physical condition. If your pet appears uncomfortable when they are walking they may be experiencing pain in their back, legs, or paws and should be examined by your veterinarian. Call us at the Carriage Crossing Animal Hospital to set up a pre-exercise check up.

While there are many positive reinforcement training techniques and tips for teaching dogs to walk on a loose leash, the reality is that many people don’t take the time required to start and maintain a training program immediately, when they need to have their dog out and walking now!  Having some quick helpful tools to reach for can make all the difference and get you and your pooch starting your walks on the right paw.

Great tools to use while walking your dog:

  • A good leash: Consider using a balance harness, head halter, or a classic flat collar and leash. I’ll go over these in more detail in my next blog post!
  • Treats: Keep your dog’s attention focused on you with rewards of a healthy treat such as freeze-dried liver or carrot coins. Most dogs pull on their leash simply because they are excited to investigate new smells, people, dogs and places. By rewarding your pup for good behaviour on walks, you’ll get his hopeful attention so he doesn’t miss another chance for something yummy.
  • Toys: A squeaky toy can catch a dog’s attention when a dangerous or unwanted distraction approaches, such as a passing car or pedestrian. A quick squeak when calling her name can get you her full attention…and this can lead to a treat to doubly reinforce that her eyes should be on you, instead of a squirrel, car, or another dog.

Note: Bringing some enticing chew toys with you on walks can help with those canines who just love to have their leash in their mouth as well, which can avoid dangerous situations caused by dogs chewing through their leash.

  • The most effective tool – You! Your voice and how you speak to your dog is key. Be sure to keep some extra exciting tools on yourself during your walks. They can dramatically increase your control over your dog and their response to you. It’s up to you to develop the habit of carrying and using these effective tools to create great walks with your dog.

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