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Teaching your dog to heal next to you on a walk

I heard many of my clients say to me, “My dog pulls and pulls and won't slow down let alone walk beside me”. This is a very common complaint.

Teaching you dog to heel or walk on a leash with you can be one of the most most pleasant or annoying things you can do with your dog. I see people all Around my neighborhood being drug down the road and pulled in all directions. This is not only hard on the owner's arms and hands but you are teaching your dog that HE/SHE IS THE PACK LEADER AND NOT YOU.
This sets a bad president and can be the start of many behavioral issues to come. All dog training should start with the walk this is how we establish ourselves as a pack leader in the dogs eyes. Watch animal planet or the national geographic channel and watch the wolf pack. Who's in front: the alpha wolf, or a lion pride, again who's in front? With deer its the same thing, the leader is always in the front position. It is the same even with a mother duck walking down to the pond with her ducklings, she walks out in front. But how do you accomplish the task?

In training your dog to heal you will benefit tremendously by using a few different methods. The pet warehouse method is to lure of bribe your dog with food. Simply walk with your dog and when he looks up at you and is at your side give him a treat. The problem with this method is that you are teaching the dog nothing, you are simply bribing him with food. You could get a tiger to heel by dragging a peace of meat around. I know I have a tiger and I have done it. The first method I would try is the about face. Get a strong leash and a collar. A flat collar or slip loop will work fine. Start walking with your dog when he forges ahead make a fast about turn and let him hit the end of the leash. The faster you make your turn the faster he will turn around and then run to catch up to you. He must learn that sometimes he has to do things that he doesn't want to: you are the pack leader and you need to have control. Your dog must walk with you not you walk with him. You can also stop and let him hit the end of the leash, then start again. Most dogs after 20 to 25 about turns will slow down, once they realize they will hit the end of the lead each time they pull. If your dog is pulling make an quick turn in the opposite direction that your dog is going this should stop him from pulling after a few sessions. For those of you who have a really strong willed dog or a dog with a high threshold to pain you may have to use a metal collar. In terms of producing pain for the dog it looks a lot worse that it is. If you put the collar around your leg or arm and pull it you will see that there is not much discomfort. This is a very effective way to correct a dog that likes to pull you down the street also you will be using only one tenth of the strength you normally would have to control your dog. It also works wonders with stopping lunging and dog on dog aggression. Make sure you consult a professional and have it fitted properly once this is done even the most egregious pullers fall into place. However training collars though useful with aggressive and dangerous pulling are not something to have your dog wear all the time, it is a tool to use to correct aggression pulling problems until he learns not to pull you dangerously down the road. When he/she learns to heal next to you, you can go back to your flat collar, martingale or slip loop or choke chain. Remember leadership is the key, walk strait and look ahead act like a pack leader dogs don't want to follow someone timid. Don't look back at your dog - looking back at him will only teach him to slow down. If he sits and puts his rear on the ground and refuses to go forward just give him a slight tug on your leash and say walk he will come forward when he does reward him with lavish praise. Always praise and talk to your dog when on the walk. You want the walk to be a fun and enjoyable experience there is nothing wrong with talking and praising your dog while on the walk. If you are still having trouble please consult a professional handler.

Good Luck and Happy Training,