Pulling or Walking on a Leash
This is the most common complaint and it is caused by enthusiastic dogs and a willing human. Dogs do not walk slowly to see something exciting; they run. Dogs also pull because they want to get from here to there and we taught them that if they pull, we will follow along.
Where to Start
Start with a fun game of fetch; wear your dog out before you start your walk. Bring some very small treats. Reward for a loose lease and include a “Good dog”. Make walking fun, go fast, go slow, turn corners, make going for a walk a fun game. Reward for good behavior and ignore bad behavior, but do not allow yourself to be pulled.
When your dog starts to pull, stop. Stop every time. This is frustrating to any dog. How can thy get to Point B when you are not following along? Wait until the leash slacks and then continue on. The first time you walk around the block (stopping ever time the leash tightens) will seem endless and you will feel frustrated. Do not give up. Start your first lesson on a short block and for no more than 5 minutes. Keep it short, so you do not become frustrated. Practice everyday for 5 minutes. You will be astonished at the progress. Consistency is very important.
No Pull Collars
There are numerous type of collars and halters that will discourage a dog from pulling and they can be very helpful when trying to un-teach the unacceptable behavior of dragging you down the street. These collars do not teach a dog; we teach dogs. Dogs will pull as long as it works and until they are rewarded for not pulling.
There are 2 opinions about pinch collars; bad or great. I have seen a professional trainer put one on her neck to demonstrate that in fact a pinch collar only pinches; it does not dig in and hurt. I have used them to start training an overly, enthusiast dog, but with consistent training any dog should be able to learn how to walk without pulling and be able to switch to a normal choke collar. Remove this type of collar when not training.
Choke collars should be used to communicate your instructions to your dog. Do not jerk or use the choke collar roughly or you can injure your dog. When the choke starts to tighten, your dog will notice. It is important for you to teach your dog the appropriate action when it feels the collar tightens; slow down or stop; not drag you on. Be sure to put a choke collar on correctly, so that it releases each time. Use only for training and remove this type of collar when not training.
A harness is a good choice for small dogs, older dogs or breeds which are prone to a collapsing trachea. They are not advisable for training the large, more powerful dogs.
Nylon or Leather Collar
These collars are great for everyday use, since they may be left on all the time with your dog’s ID attached. Many dogs can slip out of these collars. These collars may not be effective for the more enthusiastic dog.