Ways to Stop Your Dog From Pulling on His Leash
Taking your dog for a walk in the park on a beautiful spring day is one of life's pleasures. However it's no fun at all if the dog drags you behind him, pulling at the end of his leash like a sled dog, gagging and panting. Practicing just a few elementary principles will end this behavior, and have you and your companion hitting the trails in no time!
Be Interesting to Your Dog
You need to be of greater interest to your dog than whatever else is "out there". When he tightens the leash, tease him back with a toy, show him a treat and have him loosen the leash by moving in towards you. Always praise your dog profusely when he chooses to come to you and never make the mistake of correcting or punishing him for a previous wrong when he approaches you. If you need to correct your dog, you approach him.
Create a Consequence
Dogs naturally learn through cause and effect. Anchor the leash to your body by putting your thumb in your belt loop. Walk with the dog. When the dog hits the end of the leash, causing it to tighten, stop walking. Do not move forward until the dog moves back in towards you, loosening the leash himself. Each time he tightens the leash, stop all forward movement. He will learn that the best way to get to go where he wishes is by choosing to keep the leash loose.
Use a Prong or Pinch Collar
The use of prong or pinch collars hastens the lessons of step 2 above. A prong collar is actually quite humane when used correctly, as it allows for quicker, clearer communication, similar of that from one dog to another. Use the pinch collar in conjunction with the dog's regular collar, so that as he learns, you can switch from one to the other. Contrary to popular opinion, it does not need to be "tight and high on the neck". Adjust it so that it's loose enough to simply slide over the dog's head without being taken apart.
Dogs are a lot like small children. They want to know the rules and are quick to spot the loopholes. The more consistent you are in setting and enforcing these rules, the more quickly your dog will respond.
Teach the Dog to Come to His Name
Put the dog on a long line and carry toys and/or treats. Teach him to turn and run to you IMMEDIATELY whenever you call his name. If he doesn't turn and come immediately, pop him towards you by means of the long line. Insist he ALWAYS come whenever you say his name ... not only could this save his life one day, but tool in loose leash walking. When he pulls on the leash, call his name so he will step in and loosen it, thus earning the dual reward of treats and forward movement.
It helps if you start this process with a dog that has already run off the majority of his excess energy, playing ball or running in the back yard.
Practice! These lessons can be repeated two-three time a day. Most dog will show great improvement within a day or two and be walking consistently on a loose leash within a week.
Avoid using a harness or a head halter. Harnesses actually encourage a dog to pull, and halters teach little, cause the dog to paw at his face and can lead to corneal abrasions.