Updated: Dec 12, 2021
Early training is key to avoid pulling on the lead. Puppies can start lead training as soon as they arrive home. Older dogs that have been adopted may take some more time to train, but it is not impossible. Having the right techniques and equipment is so important and we will give you those tips so you can start right away!
Let's Talk Treats
Treats are the best currency for dogs when it comes to training. Having tasty, irresistible treats is a must. Boring or bland treats will quickly see you losing your dog's interest and make training last longer. Losing your dog's interest will make them not enjoy their sessions and not do what you ask. High value treats can be little pieces of hotdog, cheese, sausages, chicken, or ham. Keep these fully stocked on your walks--you don't want to run out!
Use these during training sessions only to keep their value high.
The number one reason people fail at training is lack of patience. Your pet cannot be expected to pick up commands overnight. Dogs are all individuals and learn at different paces just like us. Training is a process, so enjoy that process! It can be slow and frustrating. But you must remain consistent and calm. Frustration and anger will only slow the process down.
Your first step is to wear them out. Take them to the garden or secure outside area to run, jump and play that extra energy away!
When you are ready to start the session, ask your dog to sit while you attach the lead. Be sure to reward with one of those tasty treats you packed!
Remaining calm throughout the session is important. Dogs feed off your energy-If you are calm, chances are they will stay calm as well. Overreactions and shouting will only wind them up and start up reactive behaviours.
Start your walking slowly and calmly. When your dog walks with some slack in the lead, reward and praise them in an excited tone of voice to show them they are doing a good behaviour.
Any pulling needs to be discouraged by quick timing. Any tension on the lead means the walking stops.
If your dog begins to pull, stop walking and stand in place. Ask your dog to come back to you with one of your tasty treats. Do not continue the walk until they come back and take the tension out of the lead.
Once they are back by your side, calmly resume the walking.
This will take some time to learn. Remember to be patient and not give up!
My first piece of advice for you is if you have a retractable lead... DITCH IT! These reinforce pulling as you are allowing your pooch to zoom ahead with no regard to where you are. A traditional lead is perfect and valuable to your lead training success.
If you have adopted an older and stronger dog, you may need some extra help. Head collars are a good place to start and then gradually use it less with the technique as seen above. Head collars should only be used for safety reasons and not for an ''easy fix'' to a pulling dog. There are many pieces of equipment online that claim to stop a dog from pulling, but some of these can cause pain and discomfort. This is not practical for long term trust between you and your dog. It also makes your dog not enjoy the walks and then makes the training take longer.
Ready? Let's go!
We hope you can put these tips into your training routine with your dog. Walking without pulling will give you both the confidence to go out and explore more of our beautiful world!
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