Does your dog walk you? Leash pulling is one of the most frustrating dog behaviours. Unfortunately, our natural response only makes it worse. In fact, there are several mistakes that I often see:
1. Following the dog. Naturally, if the dog gets what he wants (e.g., to sniff that tree) when pulling on leash, the dog is extremely likely to do it again.
2. Pulling the leash in opposite direction. This may not make things worse, but can be a worthless waste of your energy. Dogs are very stubborn and can tolerate mild pain. The more you pull, the less your dog cares about it. You might be able to overpower the dog, but it won’t teach him anything.
3. Jerking the leash. This can definitely worsen your dog’s leash skills. In order to jerk the leash, you need to loosen it first. Therefore, your dog will receive negative experience right after it felt the leash loosen. Naturally, the dog will avoid a loose leash after that.
4. Choke chains, pinch collars etc. This is the worst of all. I sincerely hope that none of my readers have ever used or considered them. Besides being cruel, these devices are useless to say the least, and often dangerous. These collars are useless for training for the same reason that pulling the leash: dogs are tolerant to pain. Choke chains and pinch collars can provoke aggression. Dogs often pull the leash, when they see other dogs, and they can learn to associate the negative sensation from these collars with other dogs.
The least you can do is to stop making these four mistakes, and your dog’s leash skills may improve significantly.