Tips to Stop a Dog From Pulling on the Leash

By: David Codr

Published Date: June 11, 2018

For this Mid Wilshire dog training session we taught 2 year-old Whoodle Jasper to stop pulling on the leash using some loose leash training.

Because Jasper is sometimes persnickety with people who visit, I had his guardian bring him outside so we could meet in a more open space. Small, tight spaces can be harder for dogs and anytime Im working with a dog who has any reactivity issues, I want to take advantage of every opportunity to make things easier.

After using some soft body language and some high value treats, Jasper and I were amigos so we headed inside to chat about his dog behavior problems.

When I sat down with his guardian, I learned that while he got a good amount of exercise, he didn’t really have any rules. This can confuse a dog into thinking its your peer. But if a dog sees you an an equal, than listening to you biomes optional. In some cases, this causes the dog to feel a sense of responsibility for the well being of the human, leading to protective or possessive behaviors.

I shared a number of dog behavior tips and secrets that should help create a healthy leader follower dynamic and reduce or eliminate Jasper’s protective behavior. I also stressed how important it is to recognize and reward him when he offered desired behaviors like asking for a pet by sitting and responding to commands.

To help give the human a way to stop Jasper from reacting to other dogs on walks, I went over a focus exercise. This is a great way to redirect a dog’s attention, provided you practice it a lot for a week while progressively increasing the duration of the delay.

To address Jasper’s habit of pulling on the leash, I fitted him up with a Martingale collar and we headed outside. After demonstrating the technique I use to stop leash pulling, I handed the guardian my camera so I could shoot a loose leash training video.

These tips to stop dogs from pulling on the leash on walks are pretty easy, they just need to be practiced often. Id like to see the guardian practicing the pacing walk in front of her building on its own at least 3 times a day for a week straight. Id also like her to practice pacing back and forth on this path 2-3 times before heading out on a real walk to practice this new behavior.

Once Jasper is paying attention to where the guardian is and returning to her when he gets to the end of the leash, she can start the long walk where she stops every for steps, asks for a sit, treats him then resumes walking. Id like the guardian to practice this walk at leash once a day for a week (but more often is better).

If the guardian practices all of these loose leash walking secrets, Jasper should be much better behaved on walks and learn to walk next to his guardian and stop pulling on the leash.

Im hoping that by adding some structure and showing the guardian how to reward desired behaviors via positive dog training that Jasper’s aggressive or reactive h=behavior on walks diminishes and eventually stops altogether. The guardian should see a noticeable improvement in about a month. If by that point Jasper is still dog reactive, we may need to set up a follow up session to do some BAT training and help him learn more polite ways to interact with unknown dogs.

To help the guardian remember all the dog behavior tips we covered in this at home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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