There aren’t many things in the world better than taking an afternoon walk with your dog. Who wouldn’t want to spend time with man’s best friend? Dogs are loyal, honest, and obedient…except when they aren’t. Nearly everyone who has a dog has a story about how his loyal pet was seemingly obsessed with going to a certain place and would not stop pulling on his leash until he went there.
The reason for this is that since most owners usually do what their dog wants, he sees no reason for changing it. If things go the way he wants every time he pulls on the leash, why shouldn’t he do it? If his owner didn’t want him to do it, surely he wouldn’t let him do it! But have no fear. If you want to be able to stroll with your dog without worrying about having a tug of war contest with him, there are still many ways to fix this bad habit.
While this might seem a bit counterintuitive, standing still is one of the best and easiest ways of making your dog stop pulling on the leash. What you need to do is very simple; you just need to stand absolutely still and refuse to take even a single step away from where you are if you feel even the slightest bit of tension coming from the leash. The wonderful thing about dogs is that they love attention, so when your dog turns around to see why you aren’t moving (and he definitely will) praise him for being a good dog! You might need to repeat this process a few times until your dog starts listening to you–after all, pulling on the leash probably got him what he wanted for months or maybe even years. It might take some time until he learns he has to follow some new rules to get what he wants, but he’ll get there eventually!
2) Make your dog sit before putting on the leash
You might be surprised by this suggestion, but it works! If your dog is jumping around too much or looks too excited, you might have a bit of a problem. You need to let your dog know that you are the one in command and even though he loves walking, you are the one deciding where you two are walking to. If he understands that things have to proceed according to your pace, he won’t try to pull on the leash as much. Again, it might take a few tries and you can’t ever forget to be firm “just this once” or else it will be all for nothing! The only problem with this method is that some people feel guilty when their dog shoots them that betrayed look only dogs can and decide to give up trying to make them listen.
3) Stay ahead of your dog
That is not to say you should race against your dog! What you need to do is just to be firm and slow down if you have to. Make sure that your dog has to conform to your pace. This is about establishing both pace and who is the leader of the pack; you need to tell your dog that you are the one leading the walk, not him. Look at it from your dog’s viewpoint. If he’s leading the walk, why shouldn’t he pull on the leash?
4) Do not ever get upset at your dog
The reason behind this step is that your dog sort of thinks like a celebrity. Any publicity is good publicity, and any attention is good attention. Even if your dog appears to be sad when you yell at him, he is still in command. He’ll feel like since you are giving him attention, you are putting him back in control. That’s not the basis for a good owner-dog relationship, so be nice to him even as you are trying to fix his bad habits!
Overall, the most important thing to do is to persevere! All of those methods require you to make your dog forget the idea that pulling on the leash is a good thing and adapting to a new mindset, which might take a while. But if you keep persevering, you and your dog will surely eventually stop fighting over who gets to decide where you are going and just enjoy afternoon strolls like every good owner and dog should.