Does it hurt my dog when he pulls on the lead?
December 31, 2018

The hidden Damage Caused By Your Dog Pulling On His Lead.

When I first got Flash he would drag me everywhere on lead, there was never any let up from him even when I could hear his breathing become more laboured he still never stopped. I honestly believe if I let him he would keep going until he passed out. I always wondered what damaged was being caused by his pulling against his collar. Is he being hurt by the collar tugging into his neck? If he was in pain he never let on.
Everywhere you look there are dogs being walked on collar and lead, with a lot them pulling but no one has ever really talked about the harm we are inflicting on our dogs with this.

Sign up to my Practically Perfect Dog Training Emails Here

He Wouldn’t Pull If It Hurt!
That isn’t true, Flash just wanted to get to the next person he saw and nothing was gonna stop him. See if it were me and something was hurting I would stop doing it, Dog’s just don’t think like that.
They won’t stop what they’re doing if will prevent them from getting what they want ie I might deal with the pain if there was a huge pile of cash waiting for me. To Flash the next person to say hi too was his equivalent of my pile of cash!
Our dog’s necks are built just like ours they are delicate, sensitive and Just one incident of pulling or running fast to the end of the leash could possibly cause serious neck damage.
Greys Anatomy for Dogs
Imagine you wearing the collar and behaving how your dog does by pulling or suddenly jumping about – The collar pulls against your throat, at the base of your neck with ever increasing pressure or pinches continuously at your skin making injuries are 100% certain. Neck injuries could include bruising, whiplash, headaches, crushed throat, and fractured vertebrae. Unless you are very observant to your dogs behaviour and can recognise their pain signals you might never know that they are dealing pain.
Pulling against the Thyroid gland can expose your dog to the risk of thyroid problems. The constant bruising of the gland causes a lot of damage and the thyroid can’t function properly.

Sign up to my Practically Perfect Dog Training Emails Here

It’s Not Just The Neck That Suffers
Yep that’s right even more damage is being done beyond simple bruising. The pressure of the collar pulling against your dog’s neck can affect the natural blood flow to their eyes and or eyes. Repeated blood flow interruptions can cause long term tissue damage.
Paw licking can be sign of nerve damage caused by pulling on the lead and collar, but you never thought of that did you? The nerves from the neck travel down to the paws and when they become damaged it can lead some dog’s to lick their paws as a way of dealing with the new sensations.
Am I a bad Dog Mum?
I never ever gave this topic much thought until Flash arrived into my life and honestly I find it horrible that I was blind to these side effects of the collar. It’s even worse to think that Flash may have been in pain and I was none the wiser, even if bruising was there I would never have seen it under all his hair.
The idea of not walking my dog on a lead and collar was completely foreign to me and I can’t be the only one!? I use to use a Canny Collar to help with Flash’s pulling, I trained him not to pull and eventually he was weaned of it much to the relief of my shoulder!
Pulling it’s not just bad dog manners and annoying to us humans but it is bad for their health, which really should be the most important concern to have.
What should you do?
Unless your dog is trained not to pull like a steam engine then stop walking them on just their collar and lead.
I suggest you switch to walking them on a harness that is designed to prevent them pulling or use a head collar. By using either of these your dog will not automatically stop pulling you will still have to train them, the harness or head collar will simply restrict how well they can pull and prevent them from injury.
I have a great training game you can do with your dog if you want to speed up his learning too. My Stop Start game is perfect for making your dog think about what he is doing and what he needs to do to get what he wants. Click Here.
Take Care Suzanne

Sign up to my Practically Perfect Dog Training Emails Here

Further Reading

How to Change Your Reactive Dogs Behaviour

How to Change Your Reactive Dogs Behaviour

Edinburgh Dog Behaviour - Reactive Dogs Reactivity happens for a reason. True Story, reactivity is never your dog being naughty its an important bit of information your dog is giving and it also gives your dog something that they need in that moment. Maybe their...

read more
How To Help Your Reactive Dog

How To Help Your Reactive Dog

Reactive Dog Training Edinburgh Tips To Help Your Dog Living and working in Leith, Edinburgh is hard work when you have a reactive and anxious dog, I should know I live with my own barking lunctic Ally in the heart of Leith. Ally is a 3 year old, Old English Sheepdog...

read more
Dynamic Dog Case Study: Brodie

Dynamic Dog Case Study: Brodie

The problem isn't always straight forward, check out Brodie's Red Herrings. Brodie is a very handsome and playful Old English Sheepdog, his owners reached out to me over problems they were having, with Brodie growling and barking towards his family in the home, at...

read more