Lead pulling: Does your dog take you for a walk?
Is the daily chore of walking your dog something you dread? You are not alone with this very common behaviour issue of the dog lead pulling
On a daily basis on streets and parks, in fact anywhere where dogs are walked, you will see this. The dog out front with a tight lead and the owner dutifully following behind. The dog has a purpose and that is to get somewhere, not sure where, but the owner will follow. Suddenly the dog stops to have the regular sniffing stop and the owner can catch breath. Off he goes again pulling the owner along who sometimes will shout ‘heel’ or ‘no’, but to no avail.
Dogs are not born with the understanding they have to have a lead on. It is a skill which needs to be taught. Also dogs are not geared to walk in a straight line at a human walking pace. Again this is a skill which needs to be taught. We expect the moment we put a lead on our dog they will magically obey all commands and know what the word heel means.
This behaviour issue of lead pulling ranks with a poor recall as the common complaints owners will say ruins their experience as a dog owner. Imagine the scenario. The dog pulls you all the way to the park. Then you let it off the lead and it totally ignores you all the time you are there. When its time to come home it takes you another 30 minutes to get the dog to come back to you. Then you have to play a catching game to get it on the lead. On the way back home the dog pulls you all the way. Does this sound familiar to you because this is the reality for many dog owners. For the dog they have had a great time and self rewarded themselves so pulling and ignoring you becomes even more established.
Stopping your dog pulling on the lead
As with all training quicker results will be achieved the sooner you start with your dog. The first time a lead is put on a puppy training should begin. If not the puppy will soon reward itself by pulling and you follow. This only needs to happen a couple of times and the puppy will learn to pull as it gets to where it wants to go. It may appear cute this bounding small bundle of fur pulling on the lead. It wont be so funny when a rather large dog is now at the end of the lead and has learnt that when it pulls you follow. For the older dog there is more of a challenge as this dog knows the rules. It pulls and you follow. If you resist it just pulls harder and wins.
Muttley Solutions offers one to one sessions with puppy training and dog training which will set in place the correct way to start to show the dog that pulling is not rewarding. It will be about re-training the dog to understand what is required when the word’heel’ is used as many say it and the dog doesn’t have a clue what they are on about.
It is possible to have a dog which walks on a loose lead, pays attention to its owner and does not walk off in front to do its own thing. However the reality is that when help is sought with Lead Pulling the dog is already very established at this skill. It will take a lot of patience and hard work on the part of the owner to turn this around. We need to establish good leadership skills with the owner.
Henry, my own dog, was a prolific lead puller when I got him at 1 year old. Everything was about him and where he had to get to. With being kind and persistent I have got him to a better place. He will never be show dog standard for heel walking, it is in his nature to be busy and on the go and where we are now I can live with, he is ‘work in progress’