The effort that goes into making your pup wear a leash or a harness can really be exhausting at times. Not to mention, stopping your dog from pulling their leash each time you go for a walk. Due to these difficulties, these pets have no choice but to stay within the walls of their homes.
However, there are ways, like the right practice and training that can solve these issues and let the owner and their pup enjoy the great outdoors and its benefits. The manners and behaviorisms of dogs that display aggression or pull their leash is known as leash reactivity, and if it is a severe case then it’s known as leash aggression.
This issue is not considered as a disorder and can be treated. There are various conditioning factors that result in this behavior, and they are linked with the inborn fear of being restrained that is present in dogs.
Why Do Dogs Experience Leash Aggression or Leash Reactivity?
Firstly, the well-known belief that dogs show their dominance on purpose by pulling on their leash, making them appear to be rebellious or making attempts in taking the lead is purely false and is a myth. In order to fix the issue, an owner’s first step will be to change their perspective and do a thorough research regarding the dog’s psychology.
Generally for a dog, their owner is their matriarch or dominant alpha because they are aware of the fact that this person will provide for them, unless they are taught differently. One of the major reasons that triggers leash reactivity from a dog is due to their fear. A dog that has been badly mistreated in the past will definitely show signs of aggression whenever it’s being restrained.
Hence, whenever the dog is restrained, its first instinct will be to run, avoid, or free themselves from it. But, it is extremely rare, unless it is really needed, that the dog will become fully aggressive due to being on a leash. An owner can condition and train their canine pet when it comes to handling aggression. Moreover, if a dog’s behavior is aggressive due to medical factors then it can still return to its original instinct to attack or kill. However, when it comes to domestic dogs, this very instinct has faded long time ago.
When they are scared, majority of the dogs tend to fight against their restraints. Once they are confined to a leash, they are unable to act on their initial will to run away. This will convert their behavior into aggression.
Furthermore, another reason dogs tend to pull on their leash is because of their excitement which occurs naturally. Dogs are known to love the outdoors and nature, and they only seek shelter whenever they want to rest. Major part of a dog’s life is spent running and playing freely as they explore their surroundings with their ears and noses, digging holes and eating anything that comes in contact with them. Hence, it is natural for a dog to get excited during their walks and want to lead the way. Every day they experience new scents, and your pup just wants to know the location of those scents.
Hence, each of these reasons, like severe abuse, can be handled with patience, training, and of course, love. With keeping that in mind, listed below are a couple of simple steps and easy hints through which you can work towards getting rid of this forceful behavior in a loving and friendly manner.
Things You Can Do To Stop Your Dog From Pulling On Its Leash
Your dog can make leash pulling their habit if they realize that it’s successful. In order to prevent this from happening, you need to teach your pup through consequences. This does not involve any physical harm or damage. For starters, you can stop or lessen the quantity of their special treats in order to teach them the value of their behavior. Plus, yelling at your dog is a big no-no, as it can result in further aggravating your pet. This will lead to anxiety and depression.
Once your dog starts pulling on its leash, stop immediately and stand still until your pet steps back or turns to look at you, and its leash relaxes. Through this exercise, your dog will learn that you two are connected and should move together. Hence, once your dog understands that it can move only when you allow it, then the journey can go on. This method is a slow one and requires a lot of practice unless your pup is young.
On the other hand, you can try a method that is quicker. You can start by stopping, turning around, and issuing your “let’s go” command, which your pup would know about as you start walking the other way without pulling on their leash. Once your dog starts following you willingly, then you can reward them with treats whenever they stand next to you again after following you.
In the end, there are plenty more methods and techniques that are out there for you to try. Besides these practical training techniques, there are varieties of humane products that are available for you to try, for instance shock absorbers or leash extensions that can help you in fixing the situation. Furthermore, these products are extremely useful for dogs that are much bigger in size and can easily overpower a person. Finally, you know the basics of what you have to do in order to stop your dog from pulling on its leash.