We know that when a dog pulls on the lead it can be frustrating, annoying and also embarrassing. However, there are plenty of practical tips you can work on to help you and your dog to enjoy walking together and improve your relationship.
In this latest blog, expert dog trainer Ross McCarthy explains how…
Meet the Expert – Ross McCarthy
Ross has a Masters degree in canine behaviours and psychology. He’s a member of the British Institute of Professional Dog Training and the Canine and Feline Behaviour Association and runs the London Dog Behaviour Company. www.rossmccarthy.com.
Solving the problem of pulling
Obedience in a dog is not innate, it needs to be learned. If your dog pulls at the lead then it’s time to get up, get out and start training. Use a Gencon Allin1 Dog Head collar to help curb your dog’s excitement and complement the process.
As well as the right tools, you need to have the correct balance with your dog, and have opened up the correct communication pathways. With adult dogs you need to find the best motivator, whether that’s a toy, food, or touch.
- Begin in a quiet area of the garden or house, put your dog on his lead and carry some food or a toy
- Walk at a normal pace in circles and figures of eight with turns in direction
- When your dog is in a good position next to you, give him the toy or food. Hold it where he can see it as a motivator
- Repeat the exercise over a short period of time, but stop before your dog loses interest
- Once your dog appears to make the link between walking by your side and getting a reward, start to introduce the command ‘heel’ or ‘close’
- Gradually extend the length of time your dog has to walk calmly next to you before you give the reward, until he can manage minutes at a time
- Repeat this exercise until you are getting a reliable response in quiet locations
- Employ this technique whilst out on your walks and notice the difference!
Patience and positive reinforcement will help make this process a success and stop your dog pulling at the lead. Just remember, the more control you have over your dog, the more freedom he’ll enjoy.
This article first appeared in the October 2013 issue of Dogs Monthly – www.dogsmonthly.co.uk