Equipment and techniques you can use to help prevent your dog pulling or lunging on its leash.
Teaching your dog to walk politely on its leash takes time, practice, consistency and patience. In addition to training you need to think about the equipment that you are using to walk your dog. If your dog pulls a lot when you are walking them, one of the tools that is very effective is a harness where the leash attaches to the “D” ring on the dog’s chest. The harness I usually recommend is an Easy Walk Harness. Traditional harnesses where the leash attaches to the dogs back encourage them to pull harder because of the opposition reflex which causes the dog to pull against the pressure. When the leash is attached to a dogs chest this helps to stop pulling by steering the dog to the side and redirecting his attention towards you. The most important thing is for the harness to be fitted snuggly, meaning that you can only put two fingers underneath the harness all the way around. Once it is fitted correctly, the harness will sit properly on the dogs body and will move in motion with the dog whereas if it is fitted loosely can cause uncomfortable chaffing. Additionally once fitted correctly for example, if your dog pulls out of a six-foot leash, the harness will pull them to one side and the dog will soon learn that pulling does not get them to that smell or to that thing any faster and encourages them to walk beside you.
If your dog pulls, lunges or jumps at people, other dogs, joggers or cyclists that go by, then you need to think about trying something else. What I recommend to my clients in these cases is the Gentle Leader Head Collar. The Gentle Leader is not a muzzle so your dog can eat, drink, bark and pant while wearing it. But as it is a head collar, you have complete control of the dogs head so if your dog wants to jump or lunge or pull, it simply can’t. The fit of the head collar is very important and the straps fitted high behind the dogs ears must be snug in order for the head collar to do its job and to prevent chaffing around the ears. Also, with this type of equipment how you acclimate your dog to wearing it is equally important and should be done over a period a time. Once your dog gets accustomed to it, it will be so much easier to redirect them away from triggers helping your walks to be more pleasurable. You as the owner are empowered to communicate positively and effectively what you want your dog to do and therefore making you feel more confident about walking your dog outside rather than stressed and worried.
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