Ah, walking the dog—it can be such a lovely stroll through the park...or a nightmare if your pup is lunging at every human and squirrel you pass! Pulling is a super common issue for pet parents, no matter how well behaved your pup can be indoors. Since your dog probably doesn't understand when you yell "Stop pulling!" our pals at Healthy Paws have some tips for getting them to walk leisurely down the street.
First, you have to be ready to stop when your dog pulls: Simply stop walking, and don't give them any verbal cues. Some trainers refer to this as “acting like a tree.”
If you can stand the wait, give him time to turn his focus back to you. If you do not want to wait or the area is too distracting, get your dog’s attention by using look/touch cues or simply call his name or slap your thigh.
Praise him for paying attention. If you’re using a clicker, click and treat the moment he looks back to you. If you are not clicking, be sure to let him know verbally that looking back to you is exactly what you like and reinforce that with a positive, “good!”
At this point you can start walking again. Your dog will connect that the “treat” for paying attention to you and not pulling is that the walk resumes (hooray!) You can start your walk with a cue like “Let’s go!” to let your dog know he can start moving again.
Once you've mastered this, you can practice walking at different speeds using the same the 'no-pulling' rules. You can also train your pup to respond to a “right here” cue, where your dog comes to your side by marking (click or “yes!”) and treat.
It will take some time and practice, but your dog will stop pulling! And you can start to actually enjoy those leisurely strolls together again. As always, if your dog doesn't respond to these tactics, consult a professional dog trainer (so you don't get dragged down the street!)
Content provided by Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. Healthy Paws is one of the leading pet insurance program providers in the U.S. for dogs and cats, and is ranked #1 by customers on leading review websites. Click here to get 10% off Healthy Paws pet insurance!
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