If you find walking your dog to be an Olympic event with you being walked rather than the other way around then hopefully these tips will help you gain more control and enjoy those walks!
I too had been dragged down the street by a dog. This can easily happen especially if the dog is quite big, but even those smaller dogs can have quite the tug when they want to go in a different direction from you!
I did take my dog to obedience classes and she would do everything she was supposed to do while in class and in a room, but out in the real world, not on your life!
The trainer would give me the evil eye when I would mention how my dog would act while out on walks, as if I was doing something horrid, as she would do everything right for the trainer!
But after many hours of having my arms ripped out and dragging my heels to stop her from running I had finally had enough. I talked to many other trainers and I didn’t want to sign up for more classes, I wanted something I could do right then and there that did not include screaming her name at the top of my lungs while being dragged down the street!
First Tip – Walk a Tired Dog Not a Wired Dog
This helped me out especially when my dog was younger. When I would get home she would be going nuts to see me and also go outside, but this usually involved being jumped on when I got home, then dumping my own stuff down and trying to get the leash on her and then full tilt out the door and if you were lucky you actually got to close the door!
The suggestion was to do something to get her tired first, such as get out by guiding her to the back yard and throwing a ball or a Frisbee and tiring her out. If you don’t have a yard, then this gets a bit tricky but does work. Putting on your running shoes and running around the block with her on leash first before settling in for a walk.
Or in your basement, if you can, roll a ball and get her to bring it back, anything just to take that edge of hyper excitement off of her before you head out for a walk. Even just running up and down the stairs will get them burning off some energy.
Second Tip – Do NOT Use Extended Leashes
You simply do not have the control to pull your dog back if there is danger or simply to keep in control. You can easily fall or get tangled in the leash if your dog is not super well trained. Those long extended leashes are great for those behaving dogs, but right now yours is not one of those well behaved dogs and should not be given 24 feet of freedom on a leash.
You simply cannot pull back on the leash to stop them from doing anything bad, you have no control. So yes it is nice to give your dog more running room or to smell the roses, but in reality he is most likely heading for that little kid’s ice cream cone or tipping over garbage cans at the park. So until you have your pooch under control, its best to keep them on a regular 6 – 8 foot leash.
Third Tip – Chang Directions Suddenly – This is the best part!
Your dog thinks they are boss when you both go on walks, that is why he or she will pull and decide where you are going. Basically they are taking you for a walk not the other way around. As most dog trainers will tell you, you need to be boss. You need to be the pack leader. Dogs in the wild will follow a pack leader, and right now yours’ seems to be an “independent”.
This will look odd while walking but I know from personal experience this works. Keep your dog on a shorter leash; meaning have your one hand holding the leash handle and then the other hand closer to your dog, approximately about a foot or two away from dog, this will keep him closer to you as in “heel”
Now at the slightest hint of pulling suddenly turn a sharp right, then another sharp right, then walk a couple of steps and do another sharp right. Your dog has no choice but to follow you and he has no idea what you are going to do next, so for the first time, he may actually follow you and look up at you!
Yes you look like you are having some kind of fit out in the yard, but believe me, I did this numerous times each day, and by the 5th day “by George she got it”.
We would then carry on with our walk, and if she saw something and that bad habit reared its ugly head again, I would suddenly turn sharp right, then again and again, and then get her to sit. She would look at me like I was nuts, but she did sit. Then we would start to walk again.
Yes, this will make for a much longer walk when you have to turn in circles, so allow a bit more time, but it is an effective way for your dog to start listening to you.
Always get them to sit right after a few of these turns, sometimes I did these sharp turns 4 or 5 times, then said “sit” and pushed on her rear if I needed to. With her being on a shorter leash she had no alternative but to sit.
Doing the sharp turns then getting them to sit makes then realize that they kind of need to listen to you if they want to go anywhere!
If your dog won’t sit and is still defiantly looking at you, then take the leash and start to stand on it and get closer and closer to her, and she will be forced to lay down. I don’t mean in a mean manner, just slowly stand on the leash and tell her to “down” she will.
Then use your own word for “go” or “walk” pick something and stick with it. Dogs prefer one word commands at least that is the only ones my dog will listen to!
My walks with my dog are great now. She stays close and we enjoy it. I let her sniff at things, but I don’t let her get too far. Maybe one day we will venture out with a longer leash, but her personality is such that she needs to be on a regular leash, but I actually look forward to these walks now and my arm sockets are intact! That makes for a good day!