Sunday, May 9, 2010

How To Stop Your Dog From Pulling

Hello Everyone! Today is Mother's Day and I'd like to wish all of the lovely moms out there a Happy Mothers Day. I hope you all are treated like queens and enjoy the holiday.

This weekend, I was watching a dog with bundles of energy. Not only did he have bountiful energy around me, but he was quite energetic around my dogs as well and not releasing the energy in the healthiest way. He was crazy about Gigi but tried to get her to play by nipping at her hind legs. When I would take this beagle out with the other dogs, he would pull on my arm like there was no tomorrow. I had a strained shoulder but after thinking about it, I'm not sure what caused it.

Yesterday, I was watching It's Me Or The Dog on Animal Planet. In this show, Victoria Stilwell works with many dogs who have developed bad behavior habits and trains them to be better family pets. It takes time and patience to work with the dogs and their owners to change these patterns. On the show I was watching, she showed how to properly walk your dog and getting the dog to not pull.

Trying The Method For Myself

Last night, I took Homer on along with Cookie and Gigi on a walk. Instead of walking the usual way, I tried the Victoria's method. I would take a couple of steps and as soon as Homer would pull, I would stop walking and then say heel. I would not continue until there was slack in the leash. At first, Homer was barking up a storm and in disillusion about why I was doing this. I just told him that he was a good dog when he wasn't pulling, and would stay quiet when he was. The girls seemed to understand this really well.

The more I focused on this technique, he started to take more and more steps without me having to stop. A walk that was normally twenty minutes long took forty but the difference in pulling was worth it.

Continuing The Process

I kept this up as I had more walks to do. The hardest part was adjusting to other animals and people we encountered on our walk. Since I was taking baby steps in this training process and considering that this wasn't my dog, I chose to focus on the walking part when there weren't other distractions around.

Many times, when dogs pull excessively, it's about dominance. Calmness and consistency in this situation make all the difference. Sometimes, it's just about laying down the groundwork, which was my primary objective. The one thing I wish I would have done was bring my clicker with the mark the good behavior but being new, I didn't think about this.

When the owner arrived today I told him of what I had tried and suggested the same since his dog was just exiting the puppy stage. He seemed to appreciate this and would try it when he takes Homer on his next walk.

Let's Discuss!

Do you have a dog who loves to pull? What steps did you take to make your walks more comfortable?

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  1. This reminds me of an experience I had with Dana's Pug puppy Maggie. She (Maggie) had a tendency to bite, and would try to bite me (playfully, not aggressively) when I petted her. Whenever she did this, I stopped petting her, but resumed when she calmed down again. It didn't take her long to figure out that if she wanted to be petted, she had to relax and not bite.

  2. Yes, that is very similar to what I had mentioned above. It's good that you trained her in a positive way to learn the correct behavior. Sometimes dogs just don't know any better. Thanks for writing in.



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