It’s time to put an end to pulling - not only is it annoying for you, but its harmful for your pet too! But, instead of teaching your dog not to pull, let’s think of it as teaching your dog to walk by your side. What’s a fun method? Try the “Red Light / Green Light” game.
- Carry treats in your pocket. When the dog pulls, stop in your tracks. (RED LIGHT!)
- Call the dog back to you. Ask her to sit. Give a treat. Start to walk again (GREEN LIGHT!)
- Reward in motion. Feeding treats while you walk is another way to positively reinforce your dog for walking right next to you (with enough repetition, your dog will learn to walk by your side!)
- Try training your dog to walk by your side when their energy levels are low to medium. The dog will find it easier to walk at your pace when they’re not bursting with energy! You should also try to train in a familiar location to decrease potential distractions.
- Talk to your dog while walking. This helps reinforce the connection with your dog while walking. When they acknowledge you and give you attention, reward them. This will likely encourage them to want to walk as a unit with you.
- Use a harness or gentle leader. Finding a good harness is difficult, find one that does not restrict the shoulders in the front (causes long-term orthopedic damage), cause too much rubbing in the armpits (rashes, hair loss, irritation), and most importantly hooks in the front to decrease their ability to pull past you.
Keep In Mind
Training should be consistent, even when they get the hang of it. Think of it like how an athlete trains: even when they’re excelling and winning, they still train to keep up their skills. Dogs perform best through repetition, so keep the rewards coming even when they lock it in!