Why do dogs pull on leash?
Being dragged down the street by your dog is not anyone’s idea of a good time but from your dog’s point of view it may be a great way for him to get where he wants to go. Once a dog discovers that, pulling on leash gains him access to things he wants, pulling then becomes the preferred strategy when out on a walk. Besides, there is no point of a dog giving up something that works so well. Dogs are highly motivated to explore and if a tight leash gives him that freedom to do so then pulling will continue to happen. A variety of motivational factors may exist for this behavior, the desire to explore the proverbial marking areas, investigating another dog or person, or just to be able to move faster than the slow boring pace of his owner. Clearly if you have a dog that pulls on leash the main culprit is the fact that pulling on leash produces success, he gets to move forward.
Pulling on leash can be dangerous for everyone involved, not to mention embarrassing when you don’t have control. Dogs that display this behavior unfortunately are much more likely to be isolated and not walked. Less walks mean poor leash manners will be more difficult to break later on. There will also be less opportunities for the dog to become properly socialized and the more likely to develop aggressive tendencies.
Walking your dog on leash shouldn’t mean that you’ll have to make frequent trips to the chiropractor. In fact it doesn’t have to be painful at all, there are great solutions that don’t require you to have super human strength or to be forceful. A good place to start is making sure to have good quality equipment such as a 6 to 8 foot leash that feels comfortable to hold. For collars we recommend a good fitting flat collar or no-pull harness. The next step has to do with your dog failing at forward movement with a tight leash. Your dog wants to move forward and if he learns the only way to do so is with a loose leash, pulling becomes a thing of the past.
At Rover Rehab we are experts at fixing dog behavior problems and are always here to help with providing solutions to all your dog related issues.