One of the first things we teach our puppy is how to walk on a leash. This is usually taught through pressure and release. Meaning if there is pressure on the leash we typically stop or some pull back. The puppy they may fight a little, but eventually gives into the pressure and come towards you to release the pressure. A simple concept that again most of us teach to our puppies.
But why is it about that 6 month old range we start following our dogs. Wherever their nose goes we follow behind, almost as if they have taught us how to walk on a leash. At some point most pet owners get over being yanked around from one distraction to the next, so they will buy some kind of training device that “cures” pulling.
Notice, “cures,” is in parenthesis.
The new training device seems to be doing its job and your dog stops pulling for a little bit. Two weeks later though it seems as if your dog could care less about the contraption you make them wear and you’re back to being dragged around like a ragdoll.
Your net step is to call a trainer.
Some trainers may recommend another training device, some trainers are going to tell you to give a cookie every time there’s slack in the line, and then there are some trainers, like myself, who are going to give you a lesson on leash pressure.
So here is a quick break down of a leash lesson with me. If you want more guidance, guess you’ll just have to come out for a session. 😉
- You must be relaxed. Meaning your arm is not tense and you don’t have the leash wrapped around your hand 5 billion times.
- You must reinforce if there is slack in the line. This is typically done with verbal affirmations or rewarded with freedom.
- If your dog pulls you must not pull back, but rather stop and add a correction accordingly. The key word is, “stop.”
Three steps to start enjoying your walks. Of course there’s relationship building that plays a part in this as well, such as giving the dog an outlet to create engagement so you can start practicing around distractions. But with the three above steps I guarantee, if done correctly, your walks will improve tremendously.