How to Stop Your Puppy Pulling on a Lead

The bane of most people’s life is a dog dragging them to and fro and pulling off course – in an ideal world where every dog was trained from 8 weeks of age this should not be the case so why do so many dogs pull?

Many people fail to realise that a tiny puppy of any breed can be trained from day one to walk nicely on lead and collar– do not delay training!

Puppy Training IQ Puppy Heelwork

If a puppy can learn to link a tin opener with food delivery, the door knob sound indicates going in the garden it can link the command heel with not pulling on a lead like young children their senses are alert, they learn and they don’t have a problem generally, its the people who seems not always to grasp training techniques that should be clear, concise and excitingly delivered to our pup.

Puppy Commands; Language

First, few owners understand dog language, but even fewer dogs understand English. They do, however, learn to associate different levels of voice tones, so commands should be delivered in a short, crisp voice. The command is “HEEL”.

IQ Puppy Training

When one trains a puppy on a lead and collar (fixed collar) not a slip collar or retractable line, then these little creatures are incredibly malleable and can learn to walk next to you in a matter of several weeks providing there is enough motivation in your handling.

A puppy has no idea what you want or that walking on a lead and collar somehow involves not pulling. Using a tit bit or and a squeaky toy – puppies are easily distracted by your actions this is the eye (I) of the pup following handlers movement the cue(Q) of the food and command HEEL.

I walk off command “Heel” ahead and when the puppy surges ahead of me I turn to the right, simultaneously bending down with an outstretched left hand which is either holding a squeaking toy or proffering a tasty treat (very tiny) as the puppy takes a cue and follows my hand I command “Heel” give the tit bit or let the puppy mouth the toy. After repeating this action 10 or more times I throw the toy for the puppy making a little game and finish. Then begin a new lesson later. The puppy has now begun to pay attention, learn the command “heel” found that by being aside my person at all times brings fun, rewards.

The next stage is to practice the heel exercises in different training locations as well as those previously described, i.e. the street, park and other public places. [Note; when near a road, or on a pavement, all exercises must be carried out on a lead – NO EXCEPTIONS].

Puppy Training Tips Recap

  • Heel means change of direction
  • Food / or toy presented on nose connects the command to the reward
  • Throwing the toy adds another reward and swift fun game

Complete the exercise in less than a minute with a final treat, release the puppy and play a little game.

You have now set the psychology IQ conditioning of command HEEL equals walk alongside my left side where food or toy are rewards for doing so consistently. At first it can appear a little all over the place after 3 lessons a day the real result of heelwork forms for life.

Dog Training & Psychology TIPS

  1. Before you commence training your dog, be sure you fully understand the exercise you are about to teach. Do not attempt any exercise if you are in doubt. If this is the case, refer to the book again.
  2. The motivation for your dog to learn is praise, delivered in a very pleasant tone of voice. Very few puppies need physical correction – just more patience and repetitive training, with play period at the end.
  3. You can be sure that if the puppy appears to be making errors, the fault lies with the trainer not communicating their message clearly enough to the animal.
  4. When training, the puppy may begin to lose interest, or apparently understand and pre-empt your requirements. Get him to do an exercise he likes, praise him, finish training, make a short game, then begin again later on in the day.
  5. You should be aware that different breeds, bred with different working instincts, progress in training at varying rates. For example:
  • A Basset Hound will progress at a slower rate than a Labrador.
  • A confident dog will progress faster than a nervous or shy dog.
  • It is not important whether you dog learn quickly or slowly, as long as it learns.

Colin Tennant – Expert Dog Behaviourist – MA Canine Behaviour & Psychology