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Dog Training Notes - Stop Pulling

If you are reading this, then it's likely that your dog is already pulling, so you're looking for training notes on how to stop pulling. This is quite different from teaching your dog to walk to heel. Why? Well, it's because there are a few other things to consider here - the fundamental question is WHY is your dog pulling?

Why is my Dog Pulling?

Some answers might be

  • to get to the park faster
  • to get home faster
  • to get to people across the road
  • to get to dogs that he can see
  • to get to dogs because he wants to play
  • to get to dogs because he hates them
  • because a car has back fired
  • because he... er.... loves sheep.... or rabbits!!
  • because he has too much energy
  • because he likes to choke himself?
  • it's in his genes!!
  • all of the above!!
  • because he's being dominant...

Once you figure out why your dog is pulling, then you have a chance to put together a training program to help to stop your dog pulling.

If you only think along the lines of - training your dog to walk to heel - then you're not going to be 100% successful, because you're not thinking of the big picture.

So many people say.... "oh yes, my dog walks nicely to heel - well unless....." or "he knows what to do, he just is bad sometimes....".

These comments simply aren't valid. What's happened is that you have taught your dog to heel under a specific set of circumstances, and not then considered the next stages. So, if your dog is already pulling, then on top of actually teaching your dog to walk beside you / or "to heel", you also need to deal with - WHY? Some answers to consider are below. (Please be patient with this - your particular answer may not be here - your particular circumstances may not fit into the norm - YOU may be special!!)

Why is my dog pulling, answers.....

To get to the park faster Ask yourself - why is the park so exciting? Is it a rare event to go there? Is this where your dog has the best fun? Has your dog always pulled you to the park - a habit well learned......
To get home faster Why does your dog want to get home faster than you? Is dinner waiting? Will Dad be home? Is this where your dog feels most safe?
To get to people across the road Why does your dog want to get to other people instead of staying with you? Are you your dog's best buddy?
To get to dogs that he can see Why is this? Does he like them? Is he fascinated by their smells? Does he hate them?
To get to dogs because he wants to play And similarly here? Why does your dog want to play with other dogs more that you? Are you sure he wants to play?
To get to dogs or people because he hates them If this is the case, your dog is being aggressive, then please don't try to deal with this yourself - please contacted a trusted behaviourist at the CAPBT
Because a car has back fired So your dog is scared of noises. Again, you'll benefit from help from a good dog behaviourist who will be able to help you to stop your dog being scared of noises, and feel generally more relaxed with life.
Because he... er.... loves sheep.... or rabbits!! Some people are happy with their dogs rabbit chasing... but no-one should be happy with sheep chasing... Here we need to teach your dog to ignore these things.
Because he has too much energy Well - why? Is he getting enough exercise? Is he getting too much, and this hi-energy level has become the "norm"?
It's in his genes!! Some dogs, seem to just need to pull - well ofcourse huskies etc are understandable - but why do Cockers and Springers seem to need to pull? For these types of dogs it is imperative to get the training started as soon as possible. Get help at home from a dog trainer, if you can't take your puppy out because of vaccination restrictions etc.
All of the above!! Hmm.... well no wonder you're having difficulties - really you do need help from a professional dog behaviourist.
Because he's being dominant... If you really really think that your dog wants to rule the roost and needs to prove that by puling you behind him to the park or whatever, then my question to you is - if for a few minutes you put yourself inside your dogs head.... does this perception give you something pro-active "to-do"? I certainly can't get my head around that - I can't think of tasks that will deal with that. To understand things better, in the brave new world of our scientific understanding of the dog's brain, then you may like to read some of the following:

Does this help? So, what we need to do is to

  • help your dog to stop doing what they habitually do
  • to deal with the underlying problems
  • and to teach your dog to walk to heel

Simplesss!!!

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