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Does your dog pull on the leash?

22.02.2023 18:23

Pulling on the leash can be caused by many things: the dog overreacts to its surroundings, whether out of joy, aggression or fear; the dog is not used to the environment and is too distracted; no one has taught it how to behave on the leash; and more. And one of the causes that many owners are not aware of is the choice of inappropriate equipment.

Too short leashes tend to be a big problem. The dog needs to be familiar with the surroundings during the walk and informed about possible dangers, food sources and other important things. This is natural. We do the same when we go out and look around. But unlike humans, dogs don't orient themselves as much by sight. Their dominant sense is smell. That's why they need to smell things. They use their noses to find out who's passed in front of them and what they were like. Whether they should be wary of him or whether he's a harmless old man. They know who's been marking where and decide whether to cover their mark or not. And they also know if anything to eat ran by here, and if so, how long ago. Dogs can take in far more information with their noses than we can with our eyes. But they need space to do that. They need to be able to sniff the grass along the path, mark a tree, examine at least part of the trail left behind. And short leashes often don't allow them to do that. They don't need much. Very often, a slightly longer leash will eliminate much of the hassle of pulling. For a normal walk around town, a leash of 2-3 metres will be ideal. This will give the dog plenty of room to explore and you can easily shorten it if necessary. Such a leash is also ideal when working with reactive dogs, as it gives them a feeling of greater freedom and security. As if they can escape from an unpleasant situation at any time. But when choosing one, don't just look at the length, but also the width and material. You need to choose a leash that will hold the dog and fit well in your hand. Narrow leashes, on the other hand, often cut into the hand and make it impossible to hold it firmly.

The second necessity is a harness or collar. For dogs that pull or lunge forward unexpectedly on the leash, I recommend using a well-fitting harness. This will protect the sensitive parts of their neck, which often suffer greatly in the pull. Unfortunately, problems with an overloaded cervical spine or a stressed thyroid gland usually only become apparent after a long period of time. At the point when the dog's health problems are unbearable and it is necessary to move immediately to expensive and demanding treatment. However, even a harness can help in unlearning pulling. Although it is easier for a dog to pull in a harness, if he is not used to it, he may not pull on it at first. This is due to the fact that he suddenly feels pulling and rubbing on unaccustomed parts of his body. It is similar to a small puppy getting used to a collar. He often stops, doesn't want to go any further, scratches himself. Similarly, many dogs do not pull on the harness. But this period is unlikely to last forever. Eventually the dog will get used to the harness and will pull on it as well. But if you are starting out with a harness, it can be a huge help. Then all you have to do is encourage the dog to walk calmly on the leash, reward it sufficiently and the dog will learn everything very quickly.

Of course, a longer leash and harness won't always be the solution and many dogs will need consistent training. But very often I find that these two elements solve a large part of the problems associated with pulling on the leash.

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