How to keep a dog from pulling when on a walk
In response to Laurie’s question, this is the answer from my own personal experience. Please be advised that these techniques may not work for every dog, and a professional dog trainer is a great resource. That said, here are some factors that go into having a successful dog walking experience.
1. Familiarity with the dog— if you ate walking your own dog, you will get to know his walking likes and dislikes– does he like to spend most of his time marking territory? Does he go into hunting mode? How does he react to people and other dogs? To cars? When you get to know your dog you van use his preferences as reward or redirect that energy to something productive. You also get to tell if your dog is overly dramatic to try and get what he wants, and if he’s really going to do his business. If you are walking a dog that is not yours, i.e. volunteer or dog walking service, you can tell certain things off the bay and have to correct unwanted behavior immediately because you may not have much time to spend with the dog on reinforcement.
2. Correct the dog like another dog would— This I learned from watching the Dog Whisperer and it seems to work in general. Instead of pulling back on the leash with all your weight and getting into a tug of war match, jerk the leash shortly and make a noise to stop it, like tssk. Places to correct the dog with your hand like another dogs mouth include the back of the neck and the side of the flanks (back legs). You never want to be hurting the dog, just getting his attention quickly and in a way he understands and then correcting
3. Stop the walk— if you and the dog are constantly pulling again at each other to get where you want to go, you are both going to get worn out, the dog will probably not poop, an you will get frustrated. The dog wants to walk, so let him know if h continues tho behavior, the walk will not continue. The easiest way for you to stop the dog from pulling while standing still is by stepping on the leash high enough that of limits your dog from moving, but not so high that it’s pulling his head down. When he stops pulling and calms down, continue the walk. He’ll get the point.
4. Type of collar-– at the Humane Society, they use exclusively martingale and slip, or choke, collars. This sounds worse than it is.
The martingale collar consists of a big loop and a smaller loop. The slip/choke collar is a collar you loop into a P shape and put the dogs head through the loop of the p and attach the leash to the stick of the p. With both of these collars, when the dog pulls, they tighten; when the dogs walks with you, they loosen. These collars are often suggested for dogs whose shoulder/neck is thicker than the width of their head so they don’t slip the collar. Two other types of restraints are supposed to me good for dogs who pull– the gentle leader, which attached around the dogs muzzle and so better controls the head movement (dogs are supposed to naturally go in the direction their head is pointing), and a harness which the dog wears like a vest and the leash attached to the mid back. Harnesses can also be goo for transportation if you get the kind that has a sleeve to pull the seatbelt through.
5. Reward the dog with food— when I was working with Akira on intermediate obedience, when he would pull I would stop the walk and give him the “sit” command. I would reward him for this and then use the “with” (or “heel”) command when we started back. I would also often work on the “wait” and the “stay” commands while I had his attention. The “come” is a very important command to work on because if the dog is ever off leash, or slips his collar, and there’s a car speeding down the road, it could save his life.
After the dog has pooped and you’re trying to get him to go back home because you’re tired and he’s not, I am not above throwing pieces of treats ahead of us for him to go towards. Even keeping a treat in your hand does wonders to keep the dog up with you, just don’t let him jump all over you to get it– reward him for heeling or sitting.
That’s it for now, pretty basic really. Let me know how it works for you.