How you train your dog not to pull on the leash.
by Brian DeMartino January 10th, 2022
Hey everyone, I am Brian DeMartino, dog trainer and behaviorist on Long Island, NY!
So many dog owners get walked by their dog instead of the owner walking the dog, which makes it unenjoyable and frustrating. The walk should be a nice relaxing time where you both enjoy the outdoors and this is how you do that.
This is a training system and I will break it down into steps to teach you, and as long as you stick with it you will be able to enjoy the walks even with dogs walking by.
Yes it takes practicing and yes it takes learning like anything else in life BUT it is a lot of fun to do! Let’s get to it!!
Get a treat bag that you can clip on your waist and leave it filled with high value soft treats for a training session which is only 15-20 minutes. You’r going to use a treat in your hand as a lure by holding it between your fingers so your dog can follow it but not be able to eat it out of your hand. Put the treat by her nose and move it back away so your dog follows it but move it away at a pace where your dog can stay engaged on it. Once she follows it for a step or two say “Good” and release the treat. Then reload your hand with another treat. Don’t take to long to reload with another treat because if you do your dog will quickly find something else to focus on. This takes practice by repeating it over and over and over until you become very fluid (like learning how to dance) in the way you move and lure your dog to shape or create the behaviors you want (in this case its showing where you want her by your side by saying “good” and giving a treat when she is in the right spot repetitively.
Learning that part with the marking the action she did (saying the word “good” and then giving a treat is the most important part to practice with not too many distracting things going on. That is how you teach your dog to stay on the side of you when walking, turning, and stopping. You will walk while holding a treat over your dogs head so she is looking up at you and when she is not pulling on the leash and is walking in the right spot you say “good” and then give her the treat. But you will focus on walking in a straight line where you want to go, don’t focus on her pulling you and going in the direction that she wants go because that defeats the purpose and it is what you have become used to doing, just learn to keep her engaged treat after treat after treat, as she is in the right spot by your side as you walk forward.
The way that you hold the leash and how much slack or amount of leash that you have out loose is very important while doing this. You want to hold the leash in your left hand but only have enough leash out for your dog to walk comfortably on your side without being able to swing in front of you, behind you, or to pull toward the sidewalk or away from you. Loop up the excess leash like you would roll up a water hose this way it fits nice in one hand. You want to practice this away from the sidewalk or a grass area because the scent of the grass and where other dogs and animals walk and eliminate will be too distracting during this learning phase.
This takes time and practice, which means that you do not rush this but learn the system and make sure that your marker the word good is coming at the right time and then reward in the spot that you want your dog to stay while walking.
If you have any questions about how to do this please feel free to email me or ask in the comment section below!