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  • Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D.
    Slobodchikoff is President and CEO of Animal Communications, Ltd., specializing in pet behavior problems and in educating people about the behavior of animals.


What To Do With A Pulling Dog

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Training your dog not to pull on a leash is a common goal for many dog owners. Pulling can be uncomfortable for the owner and make walks unpleasant. In a pulling contest, the dog usually wins. But with patience and consistency, you can teach your dog to walk calmly on a leash.

Here are some steps you can follow to train your dog not to pull on a leash:

  1. Use the right equipment: Choose a comfortable, properly fitting harness and a leash that is the right length for your dog's size. For most dogs, a 6 foot leash usually works well. Pick a leash that is comfortable for your hand and comfortable for the dog.
  2. Start with rewards: Reinforce good behavior by giving your dog treats and praise when he is walking calmly on a leash. Praise usually works better than treats, because with treats, dogs can sometimes learn to refuse to do anything unless they receive a treat.
  3. Avoid pulling: If your dog begins to pull, stop walking and stand still until she calms down and comes back to you. Then continue walking and reward your dog for walking calmly.
  4. Practice: Consistent training is the key to success. Practice short walks several times a day, gradually increasing the length of the walks as your dog improves.
  5. Change direction: If your dog begins to pull, change direction abruptly. This will disrupt the pulling behavior and encourage your dog to pay attention to you.
  6. Incorporate commands: Teach your dog to respond to commands like "heel" or "come." Use these commands during walks to help redirect your dog's focus to you and encourage good behavior.
  7. Be patient: Training takes time and patience. It's important to avoid punishment and stay positive and encouraging during the training process.

With consistency and patience, you can teach your dog to walk calmly on a leash. This will make walks more enjoyable for both you and your dog friend. Remember, positive reinforcement and consistency are key to success.


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