Today’s anti-pulling technique comes from John Rogerson, author of The Dog Vinci Code. I recommend the book, in fact, I believe I gushed about John Rogerson weeks ago. His technique for stopping a dog from pulling is unique and designed for dogs who pull so hard they can pull you over. First, if you do have a dog with strong pulling tendencies, buy a different leash to break the association between the leash and gearing up for a pulling session. Secondly, start the training in your living room. With the new leash attached to the collar, tether the dog to a very heavy piece of furniture. Let him take a few minutes to figure out that no matter how hard he tries to pull, this new leash will not allow him any success. When the dog accepts this fact it is time to take him for a walk. When the dog begins to pull ahead of you, take a couple of quick steps and use the lead to pull the dog as far forward as you can. When the dog is at the end of the lead, make a 180 turn, apply some forward pressure (no tugging, popping or other leash correction motion) causing the dog to run to catch up with you. This pressure should be from under the chin and not from the top of the neck. Depending on the size of your dog you may have to stoop to apply pressure to the front of the dog. Repeat the process. The longer the lead the better effect you will have. You will be pulling the dog forward and then again pulling forward when he is behind you. The result will be a dog that lags slightly behind you or at your side, but he will not be pulling you forward.
After a couple of repeats, walk with the dog until he looks like he might be ready to pull and repeat the process. John tells us that dogs can learn not to pull from this technique in ten minutes. Tomorrow may be a different story, but I know from my own experience that the number of repeats is less each day.
There are other practical considerations that you might consider. There is no need for clickers or rewards with this process as the reward is the walk itself. Food becomes an unnecessary distraction for the dog. Also, forget the ‘heel’ command. It takes a lot more concentration from the dog and what you really want is a reliable loose-leash walk. And finally, let the dog be a dog, with sniffing, exploring and generally having a good time.
As always, keep the training sessions short. As progress is made the walks become longer and more enjoyable.