My family and I decided to get a dog for simple reasons. As an emotional support animal for my little sister, and as a walk mate/playmate for me. In fact, it’s not like I needed a reason to get a dog but my sister definitely did. But little did we know that your job as a dog owner never finishes. The first time I went for a walk with him, he kept pulling me in all directions. Clearly, he had the remote control in his hands and made me run like a maniac after him. So, after this little incidence, it dawned on me that I have to train him before I begin to lose my mind.
I started looking for ways to train my dog online, watched several videos on YouTube and got books from the library. In between all this, I also decided to start with the basics. So, there are a few things that I learned from training my dog and I would like to share a few with the dog parents who find it difficult to go out on a run or walk with their dogs. But before we jump right into the nitty and gritty of dog training there is one thing you should know. Each and every dog is different and dog training can be applied to dogs on different levels. Therefore, it is necessary for you to recognize the difference on a personal level. Now, let’s begin with ‘How to train your dog to stop pulling on their leash?’
Change your pace and switch directions often
Your dog is not smarter than you are. He may pull or force you to walk in the opposite direction but you have to add little tricks to the usual walking routine. And how will you do that? First and foremost frequently keep changing directions during the walk. A dog gets into the habit of leash pulling only and when you allow him to walk in front of you. Changing directions will confuse the dog and every time he thinks that you have taken the lead, he will be obliged to walk behind you. So, keep changing directions frequently. This will also keep your dog’s attention on you and he will not focus on pulling the leash. In addition to this, you can also increase the pace of your walk. This will also keep your dog focused on the speed and he will not insist on pulling the leash.
Be a frequent dispenser of dog treat
Treats are sometimes the best way to train the dog and I am sure your furry little friend loves treats. But this doesn’t mean that you start feeding your dog with treats on a regular basis. Give them to your dog as a reward for good behavior. This will help them realize that with obedience come good treats. So, the next time you take your dog out for a walk and he listens to you instead of pulling the leash. Take out his favorite treat and pat him on the head while he savors on the treat.
Don’t participate in the game of tug
This one is a tricky training technique. But most dog trainers believe that it should be a one-sided game. Let me explain it in simple terms. For example, when someone pulls you will be generally inclined to exert pressure in the opposite direction. The same happens when you take your dog out on walks. This means that you are engaged in a tug of war whether you like it or not. Also, your dog somehow ends up winning the tug and war every time you have an ‘opposite reflex.’
The situation worsens over time because as soon as you start playing the game the dog thinks you are a participant in the game. So, make sure that you let be a one-sided game. Because when the other side is not participating, the chances are that your dog will stop pulling the leash after some time. After all, there is no fun in playing the game alone.
Consider taking help of a dog trainer
Most of the time a good month or maybe two weeks should be enough for your dog to get to listen to you. But if the problem still persists, you have to definitely consult a dog trainer or hire a dog trainer for the dog. There are reputable dog behaviourist Toronto professionals who work with dogs all their lives. This way you will have someone else to shoulder the responsibilities. While this happens only in rare cases. This is why the term once in a blue moon. However, make sure that you get a good trainer and have patience. As in this case, the trainer might push the dog forward through rigorous training but the final fruit will be sweet.
Give your dog time to sniff
It takes two to tango. If you’ve ever heard of this phrase you know what I mean. Your dog will not stop pulling on the leash until you decide to cooperate with the dog. And by cooperation, I don’t mean that you let your dog pull the leash throughout the walk session. I simply mean to say that you have to give your dog time to sniff and lose the leash a little bit. This way your dog will rest and so will your arms. But you have to remember if your dog starts pulling the leash soon after sniffing. Just say ‘let’s go’ and start walking in the opposite direction. Also, don’t forget to give rewards when your dog walks in the direction you want him to.
There are several dog harnesses out there. They help the dog move in the direction you want to. But first, you should try all the above-mentioned tricks before introducing him to a forceful leash. Your dog will be happy getting trained naturally than on an advanced leash.