Teaching Fido Not to Pull on the Leash
There are many things that tempt your dog when you’re out for a walk, like new smells and other animals. Your dog will try to get where he wants to go, even if that means pulling you along with him! If he pulls on the leash and you allow him to, you’ve reinforced him for pulling, and your pup got what he wanted. Once you’ve allowed him to do this, he’ll do it again. American Kennel Club® Canine Good Citizen® Director and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, Mary Burch, Ph.D., offers the following two techniques to stop your dog from pulling on the leash.
• When Fido starts to pull on the leash, stop in your tracks. Stand still and don’t move forward with the dog.
• Wait right there where you are. Your pup will pull, but he’ll eventually stop.
• When he does stop pulling, praise him and move forward again.
• Anytime he starts to pull, repeat the procedure and stop where you are. It won’t take him too long to figure out that you’re not going anywhere as long as he pulls on the leash.
• When your pup begins to pull off in his own direction, briskly turn around and begin walking in the opposite direction. Fido will have to come along, and most likely he’ll hurry up to keep up with you.
• When Fido begins to follow in the direction you are walking, praise him. If you’re at the beginning stages of training your pup, give him a treat. This will train your dog to watch you when you’re out for a walk and not pull on the leash.
Additional tips on how to train your dog can be found in "Citizen Canine," the official new book of the AKC Canine Good Citizen® Program sponsored by The Hartford.