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Dogs and their humans don’t always have the same agenda as one another when it comes time to go for a walk. Most people tend to stick to the sidewalk in an orderly fashion, but their dog may suddenly decide to make its own trail. This is only exacerbated if the dog is not properly trained, is easily distracted, and is large enough to start dragging you across the neighbor’s lawn, too. If you are dreading the next time you need to take your pooch out for a little bit of exercise, the professional dog trainers at Houston Dog Ranch have put together some best practices for stopping a dog from pulling on its leash:
1) Use a Chest Harness
The proper gear can make all the difference when it comes to a dog pulling its leash, so if yours pulls, it could be time to invest in a harness that’s chest-led. Rather than relying on a collar around your dog’s neck, a chest harness will make use of your dog’s opposition reflex and put the resistance towards their back and center body. This style of lead also gives you more control and leverage over your dog, giving some people more confidence which the dog will pick up on.
2) Don’t Encourage Bad Behavior
When your dog decides to veer off-trail, you might be tempted to yell at them. However, your dog may see this as a form of playing, or they might even relish the attention and interpret your calls for obedience as an invitation to make walking into a game. If your dog tries to bait you into this “play,” then resist by stopping the walk and standing still. Only resume walking once your dog has calmed down on their own, and stop again immediately once your pooch tries to pull their leash again. This way, your dog will come to understand that the only way to get anywhere is next to you in a calm, controlled manner.
3) Change Directions
Rather than stopping when your dog begins to pull on its leash, you can simply turn around and start walking the other way with them. Once they try to pull on their leash again in the new direction, turn around once more and start walking down the originally planned route. Every time that your dog joins you at your side, you can praise them with a quick bit of attention, but when they start to pull up their leash, you’ll need to turn around and begin the process over again. They’ll eventually learn that the only way to get your praise and make actual progress is to listen at your side.
4) Be Patient
Although it can be one of the more frustrating truths about training your dog not to pull on a leash, you’ll need to be patient and understanding with your furry friend. It will take time to untrain them, and it will also take time for the new routine to sink in. Even though we all live increasingly fast-paced lives, being patient and consistent in taking a dog for a walk is critical in order to establish the foundations of good behavior.
5) Hire a Professional Dog Trainer
Not everybody will be able to pick up on all of the subtle cues that a dog puts out during a walk, especially if there’s a lot going on around them. Hiring a professional dog trainer in Houston to help stop your dog from pulling on its leash is a smart idea if you’re unfamiliar with canine ownership. If you feel like your dog doesn’t listen to you adequately, if you want your human-animal relationship to be the best it could possibly be, or if you’re worried about them getting hurt by a car or worse, then don’t fret. Houston Dog Ranch has been training stellar canine citizens for years; give us a call or email today to learn more about enrolling your dog in one of our leash walking programs!