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More Enjoyable Dog Walks Through Leash Training

One of the most common problems for many owner's is walking a dog on a leash without the dog pulling. Unless the dog is old or is a low energy dog, the natural thing for a dog to do is to rush out and explore it's surroundings. We receive more emails about this than any other single issue. Without exception, the complaint is the same. My dog pulls so hard that my arm gets sore within a few blocks of home! How can I get my dog to stop pulling?

Pulling is not just aggravating, it can also be dangerous for you and your dog. This makes it a very important issue and something that needs to stop as soon as possible. 

In most cases, pulling occurs because the dog is excited or over stimulated. I've actually seen people pulled off of their feet and injured by a dog that wants to chase a rabbit, a squirrel or the neighbor's cat. I've also seen people dragged into the street and both the dog and the were owner almost been hit by a passing car when another dog is passing by.

Many experts agree, that there are several basic and valuable tips that can be applied to make it easier and safer to walking your dog on leash.  

They are:

  • Teach your dog where you want it to walk.

Your dog will learn quickly where you want him/her to walk if you use a lure and the word "heel". A lure can be anything that your dog likes. We suggest using a small piece of food. (A treat or a small bit of chicken). Put the small piece of food in your left hand and hold it close to your dog's nose. When you have the dog's attention, move the food to your side and have him/her follow the lure, reward the dog for following it. It may only be a few inches at first. Then every five or ten feet. As the dog gets better, you can increase the distance between treats.

  • Never walk a dog that has been cooped up all day.

When your dog has been lying around waiting for you all day, it builds up energy. Before you begin your walk, let the dog burn up some of that stored energy. Throw a ball or frisbee, play a little tug-o-war, or chase it around the back yard to burn off some of the pent-up energy before the walk begins.

  • Don't let your dog start to pull.

When you pull back on the leash, your dog will naturally resist it. If you keep pulling back on the leash, the dog will resist and pull even harder...This is know as an opposition reflex.

  • Use a gentle leader head collar.

The Gentle Leader Head Collar is one of the best tools on the market to help control stubborn or strong-willed dogs. The collar works by controlling the dog's head. If the dog starts to pull, the collar is designed to turn the dog's head back toward you. When you control the head you can control the body. It is designed to work in the same way as a horse bridle does with a horse. When using this tool, it is VERY important that you do NOT pull or yank on the leash. Injury to the dog's neck and spine may occur if you do.

The secret to leash walking is: don't ever allow the leash to become tight.

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