For years I joked about Labrador Retrievers in my obedience classes.
I would always ask: “How can you pick out a lab owner in a room full of dog owners?”
Answer: The lab owner is the one with the black eyes and arms in a cast.
Labs are not the only dogs that pull on leash.
Every breed of dog pulls, but labs are experts because they are so happy with forward movement.
You can see it in their faces: “We’re going somewhere? AWESOME, Let’s go!”
The four wheels (or paws) kick in and the human on the other end of the leash hangs on for dear life.
The dog sees a leaf on the ground, or a telephone pole, or a fire hydrant and they pull with everything they’ve got.
Once they pull (behavior), the get to where they want to go, like the fire hydrant (reward) and the behavior happens over and over again.
It’s simple, the dog is constantly rewarded for pulling. The trick is to turn this around. When your dog pulls toward, something you reverse directions.
You go the other way. The only way the dog makes forward progress is by walking on a loose leash.
SO – if you walk towards a fire hydrant and your dog pulls, reverse direction and go the other way.
Once your dog calms, turn around and approach the fire hydrant again. If your dog is walking on a loose leash, keep walking towards it.
Your dog has to learn that she or he only get what they want on a loose leash.
Not to long ago I was working with a dog owner in New Bedford. Her dog was a Lab and loved to pull. It took a few sessions but her dog is now walking with her.
If you’d like to do the same and see how it’s done check out one of our classes.
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