Pulling on the leash is a problem that most people face when walking their dogs. There is a belief that dogs pull on the leash because they want to dominate their owners and be the leader of the pack.
Why do dogs pull on the leash? However, leash pulling or aggression occurs when a dog feels frustrated, restrained, or uncomfortable in social situations. Additionally, dogs are naturally adapted to run and walk at a pace that’s much faster than ours. Therefore, your dog might pull on your leash because he wants to move fast.
If you are wondering how to keep your dog from pulling on the leash, here’s a guide that might help you out.
How to Stop Your Dog From Pulling on the Leash
If you feel like your dog is not ready for this training, train him basic cues such as crate and place training first. This will help him gain focus and help with impulse control.
During this training, teach your dog to have value for your reinforcement side, which is the side that you feel most comfortable for your dog to walk on. Training value for your reinforcement side is similar to recall training. (Add hyperlink to this training)
For this training, you need a collar or harness, leash, and high-value rewards. To train your dog to stop pulling on the leash, use these loose leash walking games:
- Start with the dog facing you and reward him when he is next to the leg on the side that you want him to walk on.
- Alternatively, you can touch your knee and then reward, so the dog focuses on the knee (where the food is coming from) rather than the hand.
- Move in a circle or straight line while rewarding to keep building value.
- Play this game a few times in different environments, and once you have built confidence, move on to the next game.
- Get your dog to follow the reward on your knee backward, as in the first game, then do a turn with your hand, so he faces forward. Make sure the treat is next to the knee, then reward him.
- If you have a smaller dog, you can lower the treat so that the dog does not strain to reach it.
- This game is almost similar to the previous one, but instead of rewarding after the dog turns, you are going to take two steps back so that the dog follows the treat that is next to the knee.
- Move your arm back and turn it and then move forward so that the dog follows the treat forward, then reward.
- Once your dog can play this game in different distracting environments, move on to the next one.
Go in a circle
- Start this game on a leash.
- Take the leash and tuck it into your pants on the reinforcement side. Do this in a quiet environment so that the dog doesn’t pull the leash out of your pocket.
- If the leash is long, you can wrap it around the waist.
- Go in a circle while teaching the dog to walk next to your leg.
- Keep rewarding form the knee as you walk in a circle.
- This will teach your dog that walking next to you earns him good rewards.
Do an 8 with me
- Put two cones or sticks a few meters apart.
- Tuck your dog’s leash into your pants as in the last game.
- Do a figure of 8 as the dog walks next to your side.
- You can speed up the game by adding a jog to it.
- This game will help to reinforce being next to your side on a loose leash.
- Do not forget to reward the dog.