5 Reasons Your Dog Pulls On Leash
- The dog’s opposition reflex [is the] instinctive reaction to push against a push.
- Dogs have a natural resistance to pressure called the opposition reflex.
- If dogs are pulled in one direction, they will automatically pull in the other direction.
- The opposition reflex is your dog’s natural instinct to resist pressure.
1. You've practiced it over and over. Your dog thinks she's good at it.
If you had any interesting is what the 5 reasons are, I'm pretty sure you've got a dog with a habit of pulling on the leash all the time.
You've kept saying in your mind over and over, "I wish my dog didn't pull on the leash, but I don't know what else do."
Chances are you've tried a technique or two, it didn't work and you just need to get your dog out for some exercise. You are trying to get from point A to point B and back again, and so far the easiest way is to just hold on and possibly say, "Leave it, leave it, leave," while you semi drag you dog along with you.
It's frustrating, less than desirable, but you put it up with it. It causes underlying anxiety you keep in check, but it's not the fun times you'd imagined with your dog.
2. Your dog is not connecting that this isn't what's supposed to happen on every single walk.
Your dog thinks in pictures. Everything that they do and learn is a snapshot in their mind.
The snapshot you're dog is seeing in this scenario is:
Dog coming towards him, or in the vicinity.
Starts to pull toward other dog
You tighten up on the leash
As he pulls just a little harder you say, "Leave it, leave it, leave it."
You get past the dog and keep walking and you say, "Good leave it." after the whole ordeal is over.
Here's the deal....
If you dog could speak English and she had a new dog friend with her on one of your outings, one she was trying to show off what she knew, she'd turn to the other dog and say. "Watch this. Here comes a dog. This is leave it, leave it, leave it. My person holds onto the leash tight and I do my best to get to the dog and then just as we get past the other dog, she always says, "Good leave it."
Ok ready? Here's a dog, let play!
It happens every time. Repetitively.
Your dog seriously has no idea that this isn't the intended game.
3. You have been duped into a harness will stop your dog from pulling
The truth is, if you're strong a harness can help you keep control because you can hang on harder when needed.
As far as a method to stop your dog from pulling, it's a bad option.
First, some context. I gathered the following quotes about the “opposition reflex” from a selection of dog training articles.
In real life terms what does this mean?
If someone walked up to you out of the blue and pulled on your arm, chances are, you'd immediately pull back, resist. Maintain your own control.
Harnesses on dogs don't stop them from pulling. The chest is the biggest and strongest part of a dog. If you look at working dogs ( Example: Iditarod) you want a dog to pull, put a harness on them.
*Note: harnesses are great for dogs who have been taught impulse control and how to walk on a loose leash. It's just not great equipment to teach the concept initially.
4. You fall prey to "my dog just wants to say hi"
Listen to me on this one... my dog just wants to say hi happens when your dog is pulling at the end of a leash to get to another dog, a person, a moving leaf. It's the equivalent of the floozey in the high end bar throwing themselves at everyone for attention. No self esteem. No impulse control. Yes, they usually get attention with all the designer attire (breed).... But in the long run it's the wrong kind of attention, leaving everyone involved unfulfilled.
You'd be completely put off if someone you didn't know ran up to you, put their face in yours and said..hey I wanted to say hi. Ummmm rude...
Don't let your dog do it.. unless you'd like to encourage your dog to forever pull on the leash and inappropriate greetings.
5. You only practice getting your dog to pay attention to you in highly distractive situations
The only time you ask your dog to pay attention is when they've lost focus totally setting the situation up for failure to start with.
You're walking your dog and you wait until your dog's lost all focus before you start even asking for attention. It's a set up for failure.
Practice in low distraction. Reward. Add more distraction. Reward. Add higher distraction. Reward.
If you only go straight into high distraction and hope your dog's going to get it, you're setting the whole situation up for failure.
Basics fundamentals get skipped way too often. If your dog can't walk by your side in low distraction, it's going to be impossible in when there's chaos going on all around you.
Practice fundamentals. It's the only way anyone, including your dog can perform when there's pressure, distraction or a lot of action going on around you. Make a habit so solid you can do it without thinking about it when it's easy, then practice the same thing when there's added chaos going on around you!
Join me at Dog Life Unleashed Calming the Chaos for more detailed help with your dog.