New dog owners are concerned by how much their pups pull on the leash during walks. Especially excited dogs pull on the leash to the point of their own detriment. Thus, it is something that you want to make sure to “train out of your dog”. But what if a better understanding of why dogs pull could help you more easily teach proper leash manners?
One common myth is that dogs pull because they want to be in charge of the walk. While they wouldn’t mind leading the way, this isn’t an alpha or dominant behavior. There is also a myth on the other end of the leash that your dog should always be walking behind you for you to assert your dominance. Neither of these options is inherently true and can interfere with proper training techniques.
Why Do Dogs Pull?
Similar to everything else in life, there is rarely a single reason for anything. Your dog pulling on its leash during a walk could be anyone or a combination of these factors.
1. They Want to Get Where They Are Going
It doesn’t matter to them that they don’t know where they are going; they really want to get there. Walks offer a buffet of sights, sounds, and smells, and your dog wants to experience as many of them as possible. This sensory overload gets them excited to move from one thing to the next, and it doesn’t matter if they are tethered to a leash.
2. You’re Not Moving Fast Enough
Dogs want to move at their own pace, and your pace is most likely not as fast as theirs. It isn’t a dominant thing, but their pulling on the leash works to speed you up. When they pull, it makes you move faster because you don’t want to harm them. In a sense, they are indirectly training you.
3. Lack of Familiarity
If a dog is not used to going on walks or the equipment you are using for a walk, they have no idea what is going on. A lack of familiarity with the situation may lead them to react in a flight response, basically trying to get away from the situation. Dogster.com says that if the equipment is uncomfortable, they may fight harder to get away even though it makes the equipment even more uncomfortable.
A comfortable harness may be the first step in getting your dog comfortable with the situation, which is why we love the Freedom No-Pull Dog Harness, which gently and naturally teaches dogs not to pull.
4. Outside Influence
One of the hardest things to train out of a dog is their instinctual reaction to other stimuli. Many dogs pull to the point of choking themselves to chase a squirrel or meet another dog. When they do, train this behavior before something unfortunate happens.
What to Do?
So, why do dogs pull on the leash when walking? The simple answer is because they are dogs, and it’s what comes naturally to them. If you have a dog that is pulling too much on walks, you want to remedy it quickly. Not only is it annoying for the owner, but it is also potentially dangerous for the dog, and our pet’s safety is a priority. A great place to start is by using training equipment that is safer for your dog and meant to train them gently and positively. For any questions about our products or more information on what sets us apart, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.