How to Correct Lead Pulling in Dogs: Getting a Dog to Walk Well on the Leash

February 22, 2019
As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

There are a number of things that can be done to make the dog behave beautifully when it is taken out for a walk. By being consistent and firm, and praising great behaviours, it is possible to transform an errant dog into a happy, well-exercised and obedient pooch.

Correcting the Dog on a Lead

A soon as a dog runs forward, pulls on the lead, sniffs or barks, he needs to be corrected.

Correct the behaviour as soon as it occurs to let the dog know that it is inappropriate. There are a number of established corrections that let the dog know instantly how it should or should not behave. When consistently used, the dog will quickly understand how to walk on the lead without bad traits.

Steps to Eradicate Poor Behaviour

Firstly, the lead should be pulled in a short fast jerking motion. While the dog obviously should not be hurt with this technique, it serves to get his attention from what he is doing and back to the owner. Remember to stay calm and relaxed so that the dog does not become stressed. Hold the access lead in the right hand, while relaxing the left. Repeat this correction each time the dog stops to sniff or pulls.

Verbal Signals

Verbal corrections are useful to let the dog know he is behaving badly. Use a sharp ‘shush’ noise each time the dog misbehaves, and the dog will soon learn to associate the noise with poor behaviour and correct it.

Gentle Reminders

Touching the dog gently each time it pulls or halts can be useful to refocus attention on the owner and away from distractions. While using the verbal correction and pulling on the lead, use the right foot to gently touch the dog. The idea is to get his attention back to the owner to help put him in the relaxed submissive state. Repeat this correction a few times if the dog continues to display inappropriate behaviour.

Coming to a Complete Stop

Finally, the most severe form of correction is to stop completely and get the dog to sit. He will soon realise that bad behaviour makes an enjoyable walk come to an end until he behaves well.

Don’t Forget the Best and Most Important Part

Praise is as, or more, important than admonishment. A dog responds well to treats, pats and verbal praise, ensuring that good behaviours become second nature. Be kind to the dog – learning new ways to behave can be hard and confusing, so reward well every time the dog behaves in the way it has been asked to.

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