Dogs may pull on the lead for many reasons. One may be the obvious one – just simply not trained. Hang on – what does ‘trained’ mean?
- Has your dog been accustomed to wearing a collar and/or harness?
- Have you taught your dog to cope with the lead being clipped to the collar or harness?
- Can your dog deal with exciting moments in a calm manner? (‘distractions’ in my experience opens up a minefield of discussions between owners and dogs)
- Have you taught your dog to (re) focus on you, i.e. the simple cue ‘look at me’ ?
- Has your dog built up the stamina to maintain behaviors in general?
What do you expect your dog to do exactly when he is on the lead?
- Focus on you all the time (this in my in my opinion is not a great way to exercise your dog!) – or only in critical situations such as crossing the roads?
- Do you want him to be at your left side or aren’t you bothered about this?
- Are you happy for him to roam within a 2-foot lead or not?
- Are you comfortable with your dog sniffing /scenting the environment?
- Do you want your dog to listen to noises and stand still or do you want him to move whilst listening?
- What should your dog do when he sees a familiar dog/human?
There are so many questions which need to be answered. Dealing with these aspects requires thoughtful training plans (with the emphasis on multiple training plans as this is not a quick fix!) and owners that are committed to help their dogs.
And please don’t forget, many dogs pull because they are over aroused and can’t deal with that environment. This could be due to lack of thoughtful training or simply because the dogs are experiencing a very difficult life stage such as adolescence (pulling most likely will be reinforced by getting to the situation, object, human or dog). Or are they frightened of something in the environment or of the entire environment? Then your dog will pull to run away, and the pulling will be emotionally relieved by creating distance (thankfully!)
A very simple question – but is it that simple to deal with and help your dog? Please be in touch and we can discuss your concerns.