Does your dog constantly pull on the lead during walks, making it a frustrating experience for both of you? Don't worry, with the right training techniques and equipment, you can teach your dog to walk politely on a lead. In this simple 8 step guide we’ll help you overcome the pulling behaviour and enjoy stress-free walks with your furry friend.
Step 1: Understand Why Dogs Pull
First, it's important to understand the reasons behind your dog's pulling behaviour. Dogs may pull due to excitement, the desire to explore, or lack of proper training. Identifying the underlying cause will help you address the problem effectively.
Step 2: Choose the Right Harness and Lead
Selecting a suitable, safe and comfortable harness is crucial in preventing pulling. Look for a Y-front harness with a front-clip that provides better control and discourages pulling. These harnesses redirect your dog's forward motion, making it more comfortable for them to walk beside you. Choose a fixed-length lead, such as our 5ft leads, instead of using retractable leads to maintain consistency in your training approach. Retractable leads with their variable lengths can confuse your dog and hinder your training progress. Find out more why fixed leads are better than retractable leads for controlling dog pulling. If you need help with choosing a dog harness, see our ultimate guide on choosing a dog harness.
Step 3: Practise Loose-Leash Walking
Start training in a quiet and distraction-free environment. Hold your fixed lead loosely and encourage your dog to walk by your side. Use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, to reward your dog for staying close to you.
Step 4: Master Basic Obedience Commands
Teaching your dog basic obedience commands, such as "sit" and "stay," is essential for leash training. Practise these commands during walks to reinforce your dog's focus and control.
Step 5: Use Positive Reinforcement
Consistently reward your dog for desired behaviours. Whenever your dog walks without pulling, offer treats, verbal praise, or a favourite toy as a reward. Positive reinforcement will motivate your dog to repeat the good behaviour.
Step 6: Avoid Pulling Back
Resist the urge to pull back when your dog starts to pull. Instead, stop walking and wait for your dog to return to your side. Once they do, resume walking and continue to reward them for staying close.
Step 7: Consistency is Key
Consistency is crucial in training your dog not to pull. Practise these techniques during every walk, gradually increasing distractions and challenges. Over time, your dog will learn to walk calmly on a lead.
Step 8: Seek Professional Help if Needed
If you're facing difficulties or need additional guidance, don't hesitate to seek help from a professional dog trainer. They can provide personalised advice and strategies to address specific issues.
With patience, positive reinforcement, and the right training techniques, you can teach your dog not to pull on the lead. Remember to understand the reasons behind pulling, choose the appropriate harness and lead, and consistently practise loose-leash walking. Enjoy the journey of training and bonding with your canine companion while experiencing stress-free and enjoyable walks together.