A Common Struggle
Pulling on lead is such a common struggle for dog owners. It can often take a toll on your relationship with your dog as well as your back! Here are three top tips to get you started:
1. Proximity – value in being close
So what is one of the key concepts that is missing for a dog that pulls on lead?Proximity! Short 3 minute games spread throughout a busy day can have fantastic results. You can play at home, in the garden and out and about, your dog will soon learn to love hanging out with you and enjoy a stroll together.
Practice Proximity: There are many games that work on proximity and value in being close.
One of them that we love and use as a way of life is a simple game called Orientation Game. This game is great and can be played on or off lead at home:
- Take about 10 pieces of food in your hands ready, throw one piece away and allow your dog to chase and eat it.
- When they turn around looking to you for the next piece you can mark it with a “yes” and throw another piece past you.
- Then repeat! Each time your dog comes past you to chase the next piece you become the centre of all the fun.
Think about the rewards you are using for your dog. What do they love? I mean really love? Sniffing? Running? Splashing in puddles? Chasing? These are all things you can use as a reward. By adding a “GET IT” cue you can harness the environment, ask for a bit of focus for a couple of steps then release your dog to what they want as long as it is safe to do so by saying “GET IT”.
3. Limit pulling while training
For some dogs the environment offers so many rewarding experiences that allowing them to pull forwards is so reinforcing it can undo your training.
- If your dog pulls, stop and wait for that lead to go loose before you carry on walking.
- If this is too difficult and frustrating for both you and your dog we recommend driving to the park, have them on a long line if they have no recall and work on some proximity games.
- Play the games at home first, then take them into the garden, and progress to the park. Out and about will be much more difficult as there are so many distractions.
It won’t happen overnight and progress is never linear. The training games work on shaping your dog’s brain so they can start to make better choices and you can both achieve amazing things!