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My Dog Pulls Like Crazy

‘Flash, Flash Stop Pulling And Walk Will You!!!’ That was me along time ago with my then dog Flash to try and get him stop pulling and just walk. I almost willed it on most walks, I began to hate our walks up the street not only that my shoulder just ached.
I somehow expected Flash to know what I wanted, yet I hadn’t properly trained/shown him what I wanted. Yes there had been walks where he walked as I wanted by my side but in reality these were rare.

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Does It Sound Familiar?
One of the main problems I hear a lot from dog owners is ‘They just pull like crazy’. It is a common problem and unfortunately it is the dog owner who has caused the problem. I don’t say this lightly but you the owner are the reason your dog pulls and I have been right there with you my dog Flash and it’s a bloody nightmare sometimes.
No Matter what the size of your dog pulling isn’t good and it’s plain bad manners. It’s turns a simple walk into a stressful event for your dog never mind you. If you aren’t enjoying the walk then what’s the point?
If you got your dog as a puppy you may have been lured in a false sense of security because your darling cute as a button puppy liked to walk by your side. However over time the pulling started happening and before you knew it your puppy just pulls all the time. Or you might have tried to convince yourself the pulling is just a faze, but he didn’t grow out of it and now you have a sore shoulder, arm, tennis elbow or wrist pain.
Or if you adopted your dog he maybe so accustomed to pulling you decided that is how life is going to be. Well it doesn’t have to be if you have the time and patience to show your a dog another way.

Pulling Is What I Was Born To Do!
You see from the moment we put a collar or harness on a puppy they are naturally designed to pull against it. Think about it there are breeds of dog’s out there who we want to pull against their harness like the Husky sledge dog’s. It is part of the dog’s inherited instinct to resist the restriction.
So when I put a collar and lead on Flash to go for a walk, the pulling would start. For Flash there are lots of sights to see, smells to sniff and dog’s to meet. Flash or ‘Bloody dog’ I’d say under my breath just wanted to get to the next one and will pull to get to his desired destination.
Now I went through a ritual of light tugs at his lead to full on collar jerks get him to stop, I even told him no and occasionally I just stopped dead and said nothing. I swear I may have even begged him not to pull.
All that it got me was a brief moment of no pulling and Flash would simply resume pulling. From Flash’s point of view he had pulled and got EXACTLY what he wanted the sniff, to meet the other dog in the street or he’d got to the park where I’d let him off lead to play. I hadn’t really done anything to prevent him pulling. Now Flash had learnt that to get what he wanted on our walks he just had to pull and pull he did.
Can you see I had inadvertently rewarded Flash for pulling by failing to prevent it. He now had no incentive to stop doing it EVER. You have just realised you’re in the same situation as I was.
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What Can Be Done?
First and foremost we need our dog’s to be calm and relaxed before starting a walk, if they are hyper then they are less likely to walk calmly once we’re outside.
If like my Flash your dog will do somersaults, endless bouncing and ‘talking’ when they realise it’s time to go out then we need to calm them down before anything good happens.Once I have my shoes and coat on Flash would circle me, as I reach for his lead he would be about to burst with excitement. Before I put he lead on I would stand and wait for him to sit and calm down.
Once his lead was on if he started bouncing again, I stand back, ignore him and wait for him to sit and be calm again. ‘Good’ I say as I reach for the door, if he started bouncing etc again I’d take my hand away from the door and stand back. I repeated this until we could make it out of the door in a sensible manner. It takes time but believe your dog will learn what you want.
It’s really important to make this part of your walking routine, initially it will take a while for your dog to work out what you want. But the more you repeat it this the quicker your dog will work out that if he wants to go for a walk he must be calm. Always praise your dog when he does what you want by simply saying ‘good’.

Outside You Are The Last Thing On Your Dog’s Mind.
Once we’ve made it outside I let Flash do their toilet business and then we continue with our walk. But out in the big wide world I am literally the last thing on my Flash’s mind as he wants to put his nose to the ground and follow ALL the smells along the road dragging me along too.
I need to make myself more interesting then the smells and the answer is food. I kept good treats in my pocket, I showed Flash what I had, kept them in my hand and placed my hand held loosely at my side so he could easily sniff them as we walked.
Flash became more interested in my hand and me then the pavement. He wanted the treats in hand so he started walking along with me,No pulling and lunging…. Well almost!! Every so often I’d say ‘good’ and let him have a treat.
This has to happen on every walk, the more Flash was walking with me the less often he gets a treat but he always gets praise. Over time I started adding in the word ‘close’ and I’d say it before I gave a treat.
You must keep practicing and practising and practicing. Patience is the key here because all your dog has known for a long time is that if he pulls he gets what he wants, it will be hard for him to change how he behaves. But it does come and things do improve.
The Right Equipment.
It is important that if your dog is puller you don’t walk him on a collar, all that tension and pressure around their neck can cause damage to their throat, windpipe and seriously impact their breathing.
Try a harness or Head collar I recommend going to your local pet shop as they usually have a wealth of information about different Harness’. The wrong harness or badly fitted one can affect your dog’s natural movement around their shoulders, this is turn can cause joint damage.I would stay away from pet supermarkets as their own brand harness’ don’t generally help with anything.
Failing a local pet shop I do recommend Ezydog Harness’ these are great and well made, additionally Ruffwear also make a great range of harness’. Canny Collar has been the best head collar I use. All of these brands help with a dog that pulls.
To be clear a harness or head collar won’t magically stop your dog pulling but it will help you gain control over your dog without causing their body any harm.
Your lead should be a good quality nylon or cotton webbing lead, do not use a flexi lead if your dog pulls it doesn’t give you any control.
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This Is Just The Beginning.
The above is great way to start getting your dog to stop pulling, there is much more you can do with your dog to turn him into twinkle toes.
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

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