A dog dragging its owner along the road or across the park is an all too common sight and a problem that it is not only annoying but also dangerous for both parties. Consistent pulling, is damaging for the dog physically and mentally. An owner could be doing damage to the dogs delicate cartilage around the windpipe or causing trauma to the soft tissue and vertebrae in the neck, in addition the potential for physical injury of the owner via constant trauma or a sudden incident is high. There is also a psychological impact as the owner will not be in a viable position to protect the dog from harm or make decisions for the dog’s welfare.
Ensuring you have good manners on a lead from your dog at the earliest age possible is essential to avoid a long-term problem.
The dog does not have the rationale to step back from a pulling force but instead is designed to pull into it. In short, the more tension created on the lead, the more the dog will pull, it’s a self-perpetuating cycle of frustration all due to a breakdown in communication between dog and owner. Having an appreciation for this will enable you to think clearly about your approach and where you may be embedding poor behaviours. It also highlights the work that needs to be achieved to teach the puppy good lead manners when they of an age to be easily receptive to it and a size to ensure it is physically possible.
Despite the array of physical restraints on the market, there is no better way to prevent a lead problem than to make sure it isn’t encouraged in the first place. Use a standard flat collar made from good quality, soft leather such as those you will find at Kera Pets. This will ensure the safety and comfort of your dog during the training.
Here are my top tips to introduce a new puppy to the collar and lead efficiently for the first time.
Choose the appropriate size of collar, it should fit securely, not pull over the dog’s head but have at least a two-finger gap between the collar and dogs neck
Apply the collar ideally during a play or feeding session, ignore and distract if the puppy pay’s too much attention to the collar
Don’t attach a lead straight away, wait until your puppy is comfortable with the collar
Attach the lead at home and do NOT put any pressure on it at all, just let the puppy get used to dragging the lead around
Distract as before if they show any interest in the lead
You must see the lead as yours, do not allow them to play with it or chew it, use distraction to achieve this
Get your puppy used to following you around and make yourself interesting. They should naturally be interested in you so this should be straight forward.
If they are ignoring you, add energy to the training and incite a chase by running in another direction and calling them
Once the puppy is happy with the lead at home, you can then begin to pick the lead up and encourage them to follow you using praise, treats or a favourite toy
Gradually work your way outside until your puppy is happily trotting along next to you.
If you experience problems or would like further guidance you can find the help you need via www.puppycoach.com.
Jo Croft MA J