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3 Ways to Decrease Leash Pulling

Nothing can take the fun out of a walk more than being yanked around. Not only can a dog that is pulling non-stop be hard to handle, there is also the risk of being pulled down, which can cause an injury. Let’s take a look at 3 ways to decrease leash pulling. 1. Exercise Playing fetch, tug or even giving your dog an appropriate outlet to pull are some great things to do prior to going for your walk. The thing is, dogs aren’t built for casual walks. They’re built to move around quickly and check everything out. This makes it very hard for a dog, who is full of energy, to go at our pace. Making sure you’ve drained some of your dog’s battery beforehand will help decrease some of the pulling. Also, did you notice how I mentioned an appropriate outlet to pull? Dogs are excellent discriminators and giving an appropriate outlet to pull can actually help teach when not to pull. When my dog V was young, I used to put on rollerblades before our walks and let him run full speed for a couple of laps. After those laps, we’d do our normal walk and it was much easier to teach the loose leash walk. 2. Equipment There are different devices out there on the market which are designed to stop pulling. There are no pull harnesses, choke collars, prong collars, head halters and much more. I am a fan of using equipment to help. Some people are fine using equipment for ever and others have it as a goal to get off of the equipment. For me, I like having something attached to the front of my dog so I have the ability to change directions quickly if needed and also to take pressure off of the throat. I would not recommend the use of choke or prong collars. They can decrease pulling but have negative side effects. I recommend a front attaching harness where the leash attaches to the dog’s chest. For strong pullers, I recommend a head halter. Both work by reducing the amount of leverage a dog has. 3. Training Teaching your dog to walk while keeping the leash loose takes time, but is doable. The overall idea is to communicate to your dog that a loose leash results in tasty food snacks and even access to the areas and places that they want to go in. The other part is teaching that pulling no longer works. Other than the fact that dogs want to get places quickly, most have learned that pulling gets them to where they want to go. If the behavior of pulling works, it’s going to lead to more pulling. How to do it: To teach your dog that walking with you is a better idea than pulling you, start off inside your home and reward your dog for walking by your side with small food rewards. Your dog will likely catch on quickly because inside the home has almost no distractions. Once you can go 5-10 steps between food rewards, you're ready to take it outside to the most boring part of your yard. Once outside, repeat the process. Feed as often as needed to keep your dog's attention. When you're at 5-10 steps between rewards, take it to the next part of your yard that has slightly more distractions.

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