Tips for Leash Pulling
Creating boundaries with your dog can help solve behavioral issues as well as strengthen you and your dog’s relationship. So how do you create boundaries when walking your dog on a leash? Here are some tips:
- If your dog is pulling on the leash to get ahead of you, practice making turns to the left and right repeatedly, so the direction becomes unclear to the dog. If your dog starts to pull, immediately turn, and go in the opposite direction. Once your dog responds to the leash pressure, and starts moving with you, reward. Also, practice in an environment where there are very minimal distractions such as your backyard or in front of your home. Once successful there, you can try other locations with added distractions.
- If your dog is pulling to get to something specific, like a smell, a person, something they see on the ground, a squirrel, etc., be sure to switch directions, as explained above. If you let your dog pull you towards what they want, and they succeed at getting to it, you have just reinforced the pulling and made it more likely to happen again. If you can identify the item that they want, be proactive by putting more space between them and the object and rewarding when they walk past without pulling.
- If you are stationary and your dog is jumping or pulling, step on the leash giving them enough leash to sit comfortably but not enough that they can jump up. The taught leash will then act as a correction if your dog attempts to pull or jump. Anytime they are calm, make sure to reward them.