Does your dog pull on the leash?

Leash pulling can cause harm to the dog's neck and windpipe.

OVERVIEW

Without appropriate training, dogs will naturally pull on their leash during a walk. The more excited the dog and external stimulation, the faster the dog will walk and pull on the leash. Leash pulling not only poses a problem for the dog such as causing harm to the dog's neck and windpipe but also to the owner as a trip hazard.

CAUSES

Common causes of leash pulling:

  • Poor training
  • Hyperactivity and excitement
  • Fear aggression

MANAGEMENT

Tips to help prevent a dog from pulling on the leash:

  • Consider harnesses or head halters but avoid harsh jerking
  • Obedience training
  • Play with your pet in the yard to help release any excess energy before a walk
  • Start with short sessions on the leash
  • Keep the leash short but not tight using a command such as “heel”
  • Use treats as your pet stays at your side
  • Walk at a fast pace to decrease opportunities for your dog to be distracted
  • Try short walks first and as soon as your dog pulls the leash, walk home
  • Train your dog to sit and stay so that you can use these commands to stop leash pulling. Every time your dog pulls on the leash, use a command such as “stop” and stop in your tracks then command your pet to sit and stay
  • Be consistent with your training

HELPFUL TOOLS

The following tools may help you train your pet to walk relaxed by your side.

Halter

Offers full control of the dog’s head to help reduce pulling and lunging.

Harness

Offers body control to prevent pulling the leash.

Basket muzzle

Offers a barrier from the dog’s mouth but still allows treats to be given through the basket.

Clickers

Uses sound as a positive association to the desired behaviour.