Pulling on the leash is one of the most common things you can see with dogs and their owners on a walk. But why do dogs tend to pull on their leash? Is it purely because of lack of obedience training or is there something more to this issue? If you’re a dog owner and are facing this problem with your dog, you might want to read along and find out some of the reasons why your dog might be pulling on their leash and how you can remedy this.
You may hear that your dog is pulling on the leash because you, as an owner, are not considered the Alpha of the “pack”, so to speak, and they want to take matters into their own paws and lead said “pack”. While it sounds like it could be something that animals might do in the wild, this is simply not true for domestic dogs. In reality, the answer is pretty simple: dogs pull on their leash because they want to go in the direction of that one thing that caught their attention. The hard to swallow pill about this is that you, their owner, is not interesting enough for them to be paying attention to you. Dogs also tend to pull because we’re slower than them. But that doesn’t mean he wants to dominate you, it just means he wants to go somewhere you don’t.
You see, dogs have an innate instinct to discover things, to explore. And, by going on walks, especially if it’s not the usual route or if there’s a new thing in the way, can be one of the ways in which your pup explores the great outside. All of those new scents they haven’t smelled yet, all of the spots they’ve never been to excite them. And what do you normally do when you’re super excited to get somewhere? You rush. You can’t wait to be there, to do the thing. So are they. That makes sense, right? So now that we’ve identified the issue and why it happens, let’s go ahead and tackle it.
To avoid your dog pulling on the leash, there are a few things you can do, starting with a bit of obedience training. That's also a very good safety measure to have in place for your dog. With obedience training, you’re basically going to reward your dog for paying attention to you. So, as you’re walking and your dog is starting to pull, stop walking. Reward your dog when they turn their head to you. This may take a while and it may feel like you’re not going anywhere the first few times, but keep at it. If that’s no longer enough, you can start working on walking the other way, whenever your dog starts pulling. Do that until they start walking with you back and reward them. Soon enough, you’ll be able to teach them to heel instead of pulling, and this will also help with your dog learning to pay frequent attention to you, to make sure both of you are in tune when walking on a leash.
The other important thing to do, especially if this is the beginning of yours and your dog’s friendship, is to use a bungee cord leash. This type of leash will allow your dog to get places without going too far, but also springing them right back to where you want them - next to you. This will be a good way for you to start doing during your walks. This type of leash can also be more of a safety measure, to make sure your dog doesn’t hurt himself with the tugging.
All of this to say that you should teach your dog to walk on a loose leash. Basically, if your dog is pulling on a leash, you should be able to recall him, catch his attention and reward the correct behavior, to reinforce it. Once you’ve got this task down, you’ll be able to go on peaceful walks together, where you don’t have to worry about sudden obstacles, having to change your route or meeting other dogs.
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