It sounds easy enough but how do you stop your dog pulling? Some dogs can pull so hard that they harm themselves – or their owner. If you allow your puppy to pull then your dog will think that it is the normal thing to do. Choose a collar – not a harness. Harnesses are for sled dogs and the like, and are made to spread the dog’s pulling power across the chest, enabling them to pull harder. Choke chains are outmoded and kinder ways have now been introduced to keep your dog at heel. Head collars can be useful for an older dog who already has a pulling habit but they must be used correctly. Jerking can damage the dog, and using with a retractable leash may cause a whiplash injury. Start early and your dog will learn that pulling doesn’t get him anywhere. Food treats can be used effectively to keep your puppy by your side. Keep the leash loose at all times. Stopping and starting, changing direction, treating and praising all help to encourage puppy to walk by your side. Lengthen the gap between treats, but always reward your puppy for stopping next to you.
For further help or advice, contact Behaviourist Katie Green or a good trainer near you. Katie has a lot of experience with the larger breeds, as well as training puppies right from the start, so that problems are not allowed to develop. Katie is based in West Yorkshire.