What are some tips on how to stop your dog from pulling on the leash?
Original Question: We have just taken ownership of our daughter’s 3-year-old Boston Bulldog. Since puppyhood he has pulled and run on the leash causing us to walk/run him at a 45-degree angle and no harness changes have curbed this habit. Is it too late to train him? If not, what would you suggest to get him to walk at our pace? Two seniors asking. We'd appreciate your advice. - Elaine
Thanks for your question. I’m sorry that you’re dealing with this and good for you for taking it on and trying your best.
Just like our children, our dogs need discipline. This may sound harsh but in fact most dogs thrive under discipline. The more they are incorporated into our lives and the more peaceful that relationship is, the more happiness the relationship brings.
In this situation, it sounds like early training may not have occurred. Most dogs can be trained to walk appropriately so that you’re not dealing with this frustration. The first thing I’d like you to do is try to figure out why this is happening. Maybe it occurs because the dog can’t wait to get the park or it becomes too excited when he sees people on the street. If these were the reasons for this behavior, then you could consider walking around the block instead of going to a park on a regular basis, or walking at times when there are less people and other dogs around. My guess is that this is his behavior all the time regardless of a stimulus for it.
This can be a challenging behavior to correct. You could start by getting a dog harness, like you already have, but using it appropriately. You’ll have to keep the dog on a very short leash and keep him walking beside you very closely. As you do this, you can give treats in order to reward this type of walking behavior. Although this is easy to say, it’s very difficult to do and as you mentioned in your question, being seniors, may make it a bit physically challenging.
So my best advice is to employ professional help. I think you should contact a trainer and get them to work with you. You could also find a group training class for older dogs that could help you address this problem. By having someone show you exactly how to manage and reward your dog, you’ll likely have better success.
I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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