My dog pulls on the leash. How can I fix this problem?

By Saro Boghozian, Expert Family Dog Trainer

When dog owners complain about how much their dog pulls on leash, I get tons of clues about what kind of relationship exists between the dog and the owner.

A healthy dog and human relationship should resemble team-work.  That means both the owner and the dog working together. A dog that pulls on the leash is working independently and not as part of a team. .

You may be surprised to know that dogs, in fact, want to be led.  “Follow the leader” has been programed in their genes. The only reason why a dog takes a leading position, in this case, while walking on leash is because it feels you don’t know or want to lead.

Besides lack of confidence in you, there are also other reasons that may cause your dog to behave this way. Some of the more common ones include:

  • The dog is lacking proper exercise
  • The dog has been allowed off-leash when too young and too often
  • The owner isn’t communicating properly with the dog
  • The owner allows the dog to do and get whatever it wants
  • Neither the dog nor the owner have received proper leash training

Remember, in the beginning I was talking about the clues? When a dog owner tells me that their dog constantly pulls on the leash, I’m usually pretty confident that leash pulling is not the only problem the owner has to deal with.  Often, this is accompanied by:

  • Aggression
  • Barking
  • Chewing
  • Digging
  • Chasing
  • Jumping
  • Biting
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Overly hyper, excited response to other dogs and situations

So, how do you start to correct this behaviour?

First of all, you need to be honest with yourself and understand that your dog’s behavior is due to not understanding what your dog really needs. In order to affect any change, you will need to start with yourself.  That means changing how you act and behave around your dog.

Second, go back to basics. Start with simple on-leash training and daily exercise routines. Perhaps that means enrolling in a basic obedience course to learn how to deal with your dog’s behaviour with distraction. If you’ve already taken obedience training, then re-start practicing those techniques on a daily basis.

Divide the walk into three parts; start with reliving walk so the dog can empty itself then change to training walk so you can prepare your dog to pay attention to you and follow with leisure walk so you can enjoy the walk.

The goal is not only to teach your dog to not pull on the leash but to change your dog’s behaviour and improve the quality of yours and its life.

To learn how to make these changes and improve the relationship you have with your dog contact me. There are many options available and I would be pleased to help.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info] Saro received his expert dog trainer certification from The College of Canine Behavioural Science and is also a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers and does volunteer behaviour consultation with a number of dog rescue organizations. Saro’s play, praise and reward training classes are always in high demand as are his private one-on-one training sessions. Rather than using treats or gimmicks like shock collars, Saro’s training methods help owners understand how to use a dog’s natural intelligence to achieve success. [/author_info] [/author]