Pulling is a common pain point among dog owners in the UK. And it’s pretty serious. This is especially true for people with musculus or big dogs such as the Bull Terrier or English Bulldog. Luckily, stopping your dog from pulling is not so hard. You just need the right equipment, a ton of patience, and this guide.
Here are some of the things you can do to teach your dog how to be calm during strolls.
1. Get the Equipment Right
A quick Google search will bring you to hundreds of dog walking equipment, all claiming to be the ultimate solution to pulling. Some even go ahead to inflict pain on your best friend’s neck, hoping the dog will learn from the mistakes. This harsh treatment ends up affecting the dog negatively.
For best results, get a front-clip Y-shaped harness that outfits your dog perfectly. You want a snug fit that leaves space for three fingers to slide between the strap and the dog’s body. The best Y-shaped leashes come with back and front clip rings that allow you to use the double-hook leash. That setup gives you better control over a powerful dog.
2. Stop Walking Immediately the Leash Tightens
Unfortunately, you’re the main reason why the dog won’t stop pulling. You want to stop walking immediately after noticing considerable tension. Don’t do anything until the dog focuses on you. Once the stress in the leash drops, start walking, then rinse and repeat.
3. Be Consistent With Training
Anybody who has tried home training a dog knows how frustrating it can get. The dog doesn’t seem to understand the goal of the exercise, and you don’t have much experience with dog training. That is the problem you need to overcome.
Ideally, teach this skill to anyone who walks the dog. This can be a spouse, child or a dog walker. The idea is to be consistent and start training as soon as possible.
4. Allow the Dog to Exercise Before Training
Excitement is one of the reasons your dog pulls when he steps out of the house for the first time in a week or two. You want to keep the energy levels at a manageable level so the dog can be more focused on the lesson. To accomplish this, run around with the dog or have it work on a treadmill. That should deplete some of the excess energy to allow for calm training.
5. Let the Dog Do Its Thing
For the dog, walkies are more than just exercising or saying Hi to the neighbours. They want to investigate attractive scents, see what’s behind a shrub, and even sniff other dogs. It’s a natural thing, and the dog can’t help himself. So, don’t expect your dog to have a military-grade disciplinary level. Cut some slack and allow the dog to explore what he thinks is his territory.
Of course, you should not give in to every little demand. But keeping a healthy balance will leave you and the dog happy with how the little adventure turned out.
6. Reward Your Dog for Good Behaviour During the First Months of Training
Dogs will always have a reason to lose concentration, especially when you’re training outdoors. This will happen a lot of times during the training and walks, which is why you need to bring the dog’s favourite snack as a distraction.
So, if the dog sees something interesting and pulls the leash, stop and don’t say a word. When he looks back and comes close, reward the doggo with a treat, then continue walking. This sends a strong message that you want to stay on course with little to no detours.
7. Visit Non-Exciting Areas for a Start
Taking an excitable dog to a park with squirrels and other distractions for loose-leash training is setting him up for failure. You want to have minimal distractions, which translates to going out for walks when everybody is indoors. That includes a stroll after dinner or visiting the park during off-peak hours.
Fewer distractions mean the dog will concentrate more on the training and hopefully learn leash manners.
8. Stick to One Training Method
The internet is full of “proven” ways to teach leash etiquette to your dog, but don’t believe everything you hear. Pick one that seems to work for most people, and be consistent. That way, the dog will never be confused about what you want as the master, translating to a better experience for everyone.