If I had to pick one single complaint I’ve heard most often over the years from dog owners/parents it would be, “he/she pulls me (drags me) on the leash.” I seriously think that if everyone could walk their dogs without them pulling on the leash there would be at least 50% less dogs in shelters.
75% of those dogs could be off leash with reliable recall. The reason is because most unwanted behaviours stem from pent up energy.
Having just moved from the country to the city, I can see how much more necessary it is to have your dog good on leash. The luxury of country living is that if you get a puppy or a young rescue dog (under 4 months) and raise them mostly without a leash, encouraging them to be with you with both praise and food, they won’t want to run away.
With the freedom to explore a little, while they are still young and a little timid of losing sight of you, they will typically want to stick around.
City dogs, or dogs that are confined to smaller spaces, concrete paths and always being leashed up when outside, typically want to see if, ‘the grass is greener waaaaaaaaay over there.’
If you try and raise a puppy in the city without a leash you’d either lose the puppy to traffic or the SPCA (rightfully so being that our number one job as pet parents is to keep them safe) will intervene.
So if the number one rule of pet parenthood is to keep our dogs safe, we need leashes. They are also extremely helpful even if you live in the middle of nowhere, to condition quick recall (you call, they turn and come right away).
But what if your dog pulls like a draft horse? And what if you have physical limitations that refrain you from holding back that horse?
Typically, people go to the pet store and the helpful sales person sells them some sort of harness. Ironically, a similar thing a horse trainer would sell you if you owned an actual horse and wanted them to pull something like a wagon or sleigh!
Having the right tool has got to be at least 75% of the battle of getting a dog to walk nicely on leash. Whether you want to compete in dog obedience trials or just want to do a few laps around the neighbourhood, you’ll need the right tool to show them that pulling is not what you want.
The tools I recommend are those that allow you to control where the dog is looking. Even if you can out muscle your dog with a harness you can’t control where they are looking. You’ll be dragging them backwards and they will still be looking at the squirrel.
Therefore, I recommend either a: Head Harness (gentle leader or Halti brand), fitted slip lead (or Dominant Dog Collar), or a properly sized prong collar. One of these should work.
I’ve worked with well over a thousand dogs and never had one that didn’t walk nicely with one of these in a matter of minutes.
That’s right, minutes.
Sizing plays a big factor in these tools, making sure they are fitted properly (snug) is paramount. Think of it like a pair of shoes, you want your toes to just touch. Not pinch, and not loose. Just right.
All the above tools can be adjusted and should be done so to best fit your dog.
TRY THEM ALL TO SEE WHICH WORKS BEST
Buy all 3 and give each a try for 3x5 minute training session trials.
These trials should happen in your house and not outside. You want learning a new tool to happen in the least distracting environment.
If your house is like mine, kids, cats, and dogs running around, you might want to go to the backyard…ha! Or kennel up the kids and put food down for the cats.
Either way, the least distracting the environment can be, the faster you and your dog can get aquatinted with your new training tool. You can eliminate one of the 3 tools and move to the backyard or building complex parking lot (not grassed area of an apartment complex because there will undoubtably be too much smell, eg distraction).
Then, you can go for a walk and see how your dogs responds to the new tool and the distraction.
To learn how to condition and size each of these three tools and more video tutorials of me using each of these tools sign up for the Doggett Style 7 Elements course today! I break it all down for you in an easy to follow way which will allow you to walk your dog with precision and enjoyment.
And as always, Know that You are Loved! Xoxo