By Vicky Kelly
Have you ever felt like your dog is taking you for a walk rather than the other way round? Do you have two dogs, who both want to take you for a walk? Occasionally I’ll look out of the window to see a young man who lives in my road being taken for a walk by his two dogs. The word ‘waterskiing’ often springs to mind! Dogs pulling on the lead are doing so because they think that they are in charge of your pack and it is therefore their responsibility to lead the way. If your dog pulls on the lead, no matter how relaxed or obedient it may be at other times, it is thinking that it really ought to be in charge of the walk…
Often we don’t realise this because we have in our minds the common misconceptions that dogs pull because they are so excited to be going out. Or husky owners are told that their dogs pull because that is what they have been bred to do. This is not true. What looks like excitement to us, is adrenalin surging through your dog’s body. This is the same feeling that we get when we are extremely anxious about something – for instance if you are about to give a presentation and notice that your heart starts beating really fast. In either case the surge of adrenalin is not appropriate. A dog that looks excited is getting ready to take charge of the hunt. In the wild, the Alpha pair are in charge of the hunt and the others just wait to see what is required of them, and follow when requested to. Therefore if you can take the role of Alpha, part of that will include you taking charge of the walk and your dog will choose to walk with you (not because it is being ‘checked’, or is on a halti).
If you are interested in knowing more about this, I’d recommend reading “The Dog Listener” by Jan Fennell. If you would like one-to-one help, dog training to help you to learn how to stop your dog pulling on the lead (and any other behavioural problems you may have) then I provide in home consultations in Essex. If you are looking for Dog training in Essex, then please visit my website: www.adogs-life.co.uk – I am a Highly Recommended Associate Dog Listener.