Three Tools To Get Your Dog To Stop Pulling In One Week: No Trainer Needed

Published: May 13, 2020  

Imagine; it’s a nice day so you want to take your dog for a walk. After all, it’s been a few days and you’ve been pretty busy with work. So you both head out and that’s when your beloved lap-dog turns into a frantic explorer and suddenly is pulling you to every tree to see what’s been going on. He zig-zags, sniffs every blade of grass, and lunges at dogs and people, pulling your arm out of its socket a bit more with each tug. You’re starting to feel more frustrated than you’d like to admit and your nice, quiet walk is now ruined by your pooch. Sound like you? Yeah, same. Sighs.

I was a first-time dog owner with an 85-pound American Bulldog dragging me along the neighborhood. But after using the following tips and tricks, he trots alongside me allowing us both to get some endorphins, and no longer cortisol, flowing during our strolls down the sidewalk.

I’m going to give you information on three tools that you can use to get your dog to stop pulling in one week, all without the need to pay an expensive dog trainer.

I’ve worked in an animal hospital where the dog trainer would work only for about an hour some days and somehow “train” at least six dogs. Let me paint this out for you. You drop your dog off around 8:00 a.m. and pick your dog back up around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. The trainer says the dog is worked on all day and socialized with other dogs. But the trainer worked with your dog only for maybe 10 to 15 minutes (remember, there are six total dogs) and then walked your dog straight back to its kennel where your dog stayed for the rest of the day. Unless you love to throw money at other people (please see my contact information if that’s the case), I wouldn’t be paying someone $40 a day to work with my dog for fifteen minutes. Plus, there’s a super bonus to training your dog yourself: you get to build a relationship of increased trust and loyalty with your dog. Your dog wants to work for you; it’s in the dog’s blood. Let him!

So without further delay, let’s get to it!

I was a first-time dog owner with an eighty-five pound American Bulldog dragging me along the neighborhood. But I used these tips and tricks to train my dog. Now he trots alongside me allowing us both to get some endorphins flowing during our previously cortisol stricken strolls down the sidewalk.

I’m going to give you information on three tools that you can use to get your dog to stop pulling in one week, all without the need to pay an expensive dog trainer.

I’ve worked in an animal hospital where the dog trainer would only work for about an hour some days and somehow “train” at least six dogs. Let me paint this out for you. You drop your dog off around 8:00 am and you pick them up around 5:00 or 6:00 pm. The trainer says the dog is worked on all day and socialized with other dogs. But they only work with your dog for maybe 10-15 minutes (remember, there are six total dogs) and then your pup is walked straight back to its kennel where they stay for the rest of the day. Unless you love to throw money at other people (please see my contact information if that’s the case) I wouldn’t be paying someone $40 a day to work with my dog for fifteen minutes. Plus a super bonus! By you training your dog yourself, you get to build a relationship with increased trust and loyalty. Your dog wants to work for you, it’s in his blood. Let him! 

So without further delay, let’s get to it!

Your dog pulling on her leash poses many harms, both socially and physically. Walking a dog that doesn’t know how to behave is embarrassing! It’s equivalent to your child behaving rudely in front of everyone, and you just shrug it off. More importantly, your dog’s trachea is at risk here. If your dog is like mine and could probably pull a small stagecoach, you don’t want that force of energy coming into your dog’s throat when she sees a bunny or another dog. Lastly, if you have a child that sometimes takes the dog for a walk, your child’s safety is also at risk here. Your dog needs to know how to behave no matter who is on the other end of that leash, including your child. It’s safer for all parties involved. And you won’t be publicly ridiculed by your dog.

There are a few tools you can use to help your dog from pulling on his leash. Two you can use right now! Well, after you’re done reading this.

First, question whether to use your retractable leash, if you have one. Retractable leashes confuse dogs by not giving them a clear idea of what distance away from you is acceptable. Please read the following alternative collars with an open mind as some of these might spark debate. Do your research and try only what feels right to you. I’ve seen all of them used on many different dogs, with varying but largely effective results. Remember, what works for you might not work for others and that is okay. Additionally, before going out and doing any work in a place where your dog might be triggered, allow your dog to gain comfortability with any new equipment, ideally somewhere he knows. 

Pro Tip: Cheese is always recommended. 

Put Your Coach Hat On

Next on the free and immediate tools list is to put your “coach” hat on! When your dog stops to sniff, before tugging on her leash, give her a chance to respond to your voice. In your best coach voice say, “Let’s go, come on!” Not in a mean way … we’re not yelling. Just a nice, loud, firm command. I even drop my voice low to sound a bit more like my boyfriend (I’m the worst, I know). Another tip, walk through the door before your dog does. This reminds your dog that you’re in control of the walk, not the other way around. Thank you to All Things Pups (listed below) for that idea.

Try a Martingale

Look into using a Martingale. These work great for puppies, especially those that you know are going to be strong, like German Shepards, Rotties, Pitbulls, Huskies, and Mastiffs. The Martingale pulls the flat collar, creating tension around dogs’ necks resulting in the their releasing the tension themselves. Also, if you get one with the metal links they will get to know the sound the links make and respond quickly to your leash communication. Puppies at the animal hospital I worked at responded well to these and behaved a tad better while growing up. I’d watch 8-week-old puppies, at their first vet visits, grow to 6 months old at doggy daycare; it was so cool to watch them grow. And here’s a dirty secret: we all could tell who took time to work with their dogs, and we all talked about it after they left, too. Martingales are also a quick fix for a more easy-going dog that has a slight problem with pulling.

Use a Prong or Pinch Collar

Here’s the one you were all afraid I’d mention: the prong collar (dun, dun dun)! It’s useful in some situations, and I’ve seen it have positive results. It’s not intended for a tie-up, it’s for leash walks only. The prong collar institutes a clear communication between you and your dog. The prongs are rounded at the edge and when fit properly, they work great. When your dog starts to create tension on the leash, the leash will self-correct and your dog will, ideally, loosen the tension on his own accord. Some dogs might not react this way, however, and some will get used to it (then it becomes useless and dangerous). 

Follow my dog on Instagram: @thepandaboy_

Front Leads Work Wonders

If you have a dog that doesn’t respond well to prong collars, or you’re just not into pronging them, I’d look into a front lead. I recommended this method the most, as  I’ve seen huge results with them!

A front lead is great because it’s pure physics, baby.

You can opt for a head collar or a harness. 

When wearing a front lead, if your dog creates tension on the leash, he will pull the front of his body (or head) back to you. I love this! If my dog wants to say hey to another dog and walk forward, he’s required to have the perfect amount of slack on the leash to do so, keeping my arm happy and him safe. I can easily put him in any command by creating tension on the leash and regaining his focus. The front lead creates a lot of confidence, making walks so much more pleasant than they were without the front lead. Sometimes I even take my cup of tea to enjoy (substitute drink of choice here) now that I have minimal risk of spillage.

The Loose Leash Method

The hardest method to grasp is the loose leash method. Watch the video below, if you have a few moments, to see what I’m talking about. This method is better learned from watching it than reading about it.

The video, if you didn’t watch it, is full of golden nuggets of information. I’ll do my best to summarize. The trainer advises that you reward your dog only if your dog’s leash clasp is loose and hanging vertically. Also, if your dog is pulling, don’t reward him by allowing him to pull you to the distraction. Turn around and reward your dog once he starts walking with a loose leash. Eventually, your dog will learn that by not pulling he receives the reward (greeting the dog, sniffing the tree, saying hi to a neighbor). Be verbal with your dog saying commands like, “Easy” or “No pull.” The more proactive you are, the better.

And my favorite tip that I use ALL of the time: Be more interesting than what your dog is distracted by!

You can do this by using a super high-value treat or even a toy that they love. If my dog and I go on a walk with his ball, he knows it’s game time and isn’t even worried about those little dogs! But without his ball, he’ll look for fun in all the wrong places. 

There you have it, three tools you can use to get your dog to stop pulling, all without throwing money at a trainer. You can adopt a coach-like attitude (this energy will be received by your dog through the leash). Also, a specialized collar could help you see some quick results. Don’t forget to always abide by the loose leash method! You and your dog will enjoy walks so much more now that you can relax and not be on the lookout for triggers. 

I have to shout out a few resources that I use regularly. They have made my dog and me stronger: him, a well-behaved, well-mannered dog (we get compliments often; it’s verified, guys) and me, a self-taught, amateur dog trainer.

If you enjoyed this, let me know!
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Good luck and have fun working with your pooch! 

 

Comment below with any other suggestions or if you have any questions.

Comment below with any other suggestions or if you have any questions!

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