Dog Blog | Locke's Dogs

Lead stroking to help with pulling while walking

Posted on


All dog owners know the struggle of walking from lamp post to lamp post, getting dragged along to the next exciting smell, have our arms so sore by the time we get home and our legs so exhausted that we feel as if we have just done four hours in the gym. It's not fun. It's embarrassing. It's disheartening, and can even be a root cause of behavioural issues (and rehoming) when the owner decides they can't cope with walking the dog, and the dog finds his entertainment elsewhere, perhaps being destructive, or by barking or Acral licking, or all manner of other things we would prefer him not to do. So what can we do about the dog who pulls? (Bearing in mind we at Locke's Dogs do not use punitive equipment or other outdated methods.)

One of the many ways in which we at Locke's Dogs like to amend the pulling behaviour, is by simply not walking when the dog is pulling. The dog is pulling as he feels it will get him where he wants to go... So we need to change that thought process. The dog pulls, so we stop. Just stop completely. No walking, no talking, just stop. We wait for the lead to fall loose again, when the dog eventually takes a step back or shifts his body slightly and the pressure of the pull drops off, we say "Good Dog" and away we go.. for three more steps until he is pulling again, or lunging at next door's cat, or so on. Then we stop, wait for the lead to fall loose, "Good Dog", carry on walking. By the fourth or fifth time of stopping, the dog begins to realise something is amiss, his pulling is not working. He may try harder at this point - do not panic it is normal. Then again he might not - just stick with it. The time it takes for him to take a step or shift backwards gradually gets shorter, and the amount of steps you take in between stops gradually increases. It might take one sesson, it might take six months, but gradually your dog will learn not to pull, all without the need for horrible choke chains and the like.

Lead stroking (a TTouch technique) while walking can also help to relieve the pressure of a dog pulling you while out walking. The movement of your hands along the lead mean that there is nothing for the dog to pull against, while at the same time, your arms and hands will feel so much more relaxed for not being pulled at. Pop the handle over your wrist and then simply allow the leash to run through your fingers as you slide your hand backwards along it towards your body, and with the other hand reach over and in front of the first hand and slide along that hand too - sliding one hand at a time, over and over again, like a nice massage.
Naturally it is best to practice this before you take it out on the road as you need to find your ideal tension, and remember that the dog can still lunge - this is not a magic trick but rather a way of teaching your dog gently to walk without feeling the need to rip your arms from their sockets.
I find this works best with a 2 metre lead (plenty of room to sniff about without the need to pull you to the grass verge / enticing roadkill / suspicious substance / fox poo), and a pocket full of high value treats. Add in some focus techniques ("Look at me", "Touch" or even just the dog's name) and the odd emergency "sit" and you are probably going to enjoy walks so much more, and if you work in the stop/start technique above when the dog reaches the end of his leash or lunges suddenly, you can still implement loose leash training at the same time.

Add a comment:

Leave a comment:


Add a comment