It is common for dogs to pull on their leash when taken for a walk. This is
less than ideal for most owners. Through consistent training, however, most
dogs can learn to behave properly during their walk. There are different
methods and different types of equipment for teaching a dog depending on
age, size, personality and the owner’s preferences.
For puppies a gentle positive approach is best. Showing then rewarding
a puppy for good behavior, such as staying by your side and not pulling
is the first step. Second, don’t accidentally reward for bad behavior.
This is true for any dog. If a dog pulls on his leash, don’t move
forward until he has stopped pulling. With puppies training can be a slow
process. Their attention spans are short, they are easily excited, and
correction may not always be understood. Puppies need patience and lots
of praise for good behavior. They will naturally want to please you, and
as time goes on they will learn the rules. A standard collar and leash
is suitable for puppy training.
Training devices shouldn’t be used on puppies until they are physically
big enough, and until they are mature enough to understand correction.
Training an adult dog not to pull can be assisted by the use of appropriate
equipment. Choke collars are no longer recommended for dog training, they
can injure your dog. For most dogs a slip collar/limited correction collar
or a head halter or gentle leader can provide an excellent means for correction
and control. These items maintain control with out pulling on the neck.
Others prefer a harness, finding it easier to control their dog with body
control. For large and/or aggressive dogs a prong collar can be useful.
While prong collars look cruel, it is actually safer to use a prong collar
than a choke collar or pulling excessively on a leash. Harsh correction
and excessive pulling on the neck can injure a dog where a prong collar
pinches, but does not put pressure on the throat or neck. Switching to
a different form of control if this is a chronic problem may be wise. If
your dog is large and/or aggressive and not trained consulting a professional
trainer can be very useful.
Training a submissive dog is very similar to teaching a puppy. Keep things
positive, and reward consistently for good behavior. For all dogs the main
goal is to have them paying attention to you and your movements throughout
the walk, instead of the distractions that may come along. Practice with your
dog in your home or around the yard, stop any time they start to pull on the
leash. For most dogs a mild correction will help them pay attention, if they
start walking the wrong way or pulling against you. This should stay positive.
It isn’t a form of punishment it’s simply to alert them. Continue
to praise good behavior and your dog will want to walk by your side.