Ask Steve: Pulling On The Leash

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Pulling on the Leash

One thing that dogs and dog owners look forward to the most is outside bonding time. This can be done by taking your dog for a walk. This is such an important and effective activity that Steve Lankfer calls it Migrating is Magic™! It’s great opportunity for you, the owner, to begin asserting yourself neurologically as the loving leader your dog needs. But the number-one issue that you may run into is your dog pulling on the leash. It is important to understand that it is not their natural state to pull on the leash or walk ahead of you.

Before getting your dog to walk in a socially respectful way, it is necessary to understand that for them, walking is migrating. You must tap into their migrating instinct and establish yourself as their leader. Once you establish yourself as the leader, your dog will naturally walk either beside you or behind you. Here at Speak Dog!™, we like to say that Migrating is Magic™. Subscribe to hear Steve Lankfer and other Speak Dog!™ owners explain what migration is and why it’s magic!

Start Small and Remember It’s All in the Praise

When walking a dog that pulls, it’s easy to get frustrated and pull back, restricting them further and making them pull harder, postponing the success of teaching your dog not to pull. So before you go out on a busy street or intersection, start in your local neighborhood or on a confined quiet street where the stimuli are limited. As you walk briskly, give your dog praise as they choose to walk beside you or slightly behind you. As they continue to walk next to you, praise them every step of the way. The good news is, we’re not teaching your dog anything new. Your dog already knows innately how to migrate in a socially healthy way. If you have a strong-willed or socially broken dog, then you will need to remain consistent that they stay on the side or behind you guiding them along the way. As you learn Speak Dog!™ you will add consistent, timely tones for correction and praise. 

Let’s Go!

Gradually you’ll be able to expand beyond your neighborhood street into new walks that have more diverse stimuli. By being consistent with your leadership while walking, you will find comfort and ease in migrating through varying circumstances.

Here is the way to naturally and humanely reinforce your verbal corrections if and when required should your dog step ahead of you. If your dog stays behind you or on the side of you while you are walking, use praise to communicate your satisfaction. Keep practicing until your dog responds consistently while you are walking together. Remember that praise is the ongoing love/leadership communication method to ensure that your dog is operating as a socially healthy canine ongoing.

Let Your Dog Explore, but Remember, You Are the Leader

It’s fine to let your dog sniff things and explore a little before your start your walk — after all, it’s in their nature to explore! But you will decide how much time they get. This exploring and sniffing is no longer allowed once you start walking because it signals to your dog that you are moving and migrating. This is because in their natural state, for example with their pack in the wild, dogs will not stop to disrupt the migrating process.

Why Your Dog Pulls

There are a couple of different reasons why your dog pulls on the leash. But the reasons are an indication that your dog is socially broken. Which is easily fixed by ridding them of confusion. This is accomplished by establishing yourself as their leader through neurological placement. Your dog could simply be unfamiliar with the feeling of being attached to something that controls their movement, making them pull or try to get away from it. Your dog just may be extremely excited to get out of the house and explore new things! When they are surrounded by multiple stimuli, there are multiple opportunities for them to be distracted and energetic, disregarding your communication to stay in migration by your side. They could, however, also have leash aggression, which makes them feel restrained, uncomfortable, and frustrated. When a dog is on a leash, they are unable to escape from an uncomfortable or scary situation. This inability to escape may lead them to lunge or act aggressively, which is not a pleasant experience. 

If your dog is leash reactive, then identify what makes them uncomfortable and desensitize them to that stimulus until it is no longer a concern. But remember, never punish or scold a dog that is leash reactive, as they are already insecure and uncomfortable, and doing so will only worsen the situation and potentially make them scared and aggressive towards the stimuli that makes them uncomfortable. Work on changing how your dog feels about their leash through Speak  Dog!™ leadership techniques.

Teaching your dog to be attentive to your preferences can be challenging, but don’t give up! They are biologically wired to do this naturally on their own for their established leader. Remember to stay upbeat and positive knowing that establishing your leadership doesn’t happen overnight. If you need some extra help leading your dog, then rely on Speak Dog!™, your resource for dog leadership training. Subscribe now!

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