Some dogs are ‘pullers’, rather than walking side-by-side with their owner, they tend to hurry forward, pulling the leash with all their strength. If you recognize your dog in this, you probably know that going for a walk with him can be pretty challenging for both of you. And you probably want to put an end to such behavior.
To stop your dog pulling, jerking, and twisting the leash, you need to train him properly. Depending on his age and breed, his training can last from a couple of days only to as much as several months. Luckily, there are some tricks you can use to speed up the process. Getting a harness for your pup can help you with this quite a lot.
The reason why a harness is an incredibly good choice is that it distributes the weight across your dog’s chest. This way, it removes any potential pain that he would experience during the walks. And it also gives you much more control of him. Unfortunately, simply buying a harness won’t get the job done. You need to properly harness-train him. If you don’t know how to do it, just follow these seven incredible tips!
1. Buy a Front-Clip Harness
If you go to any local pet shop, you will see that a majority of harnesses on offer come with a back-clip. The problem with these types of harnesses is that they allow your dog to pull forward and change his direction any way he wants. Basically, these harnesses let the dog lead you on a leash, not the other way around.
The solution lies in buying a Front D ring harness. It clips up front, where the dog’s center of gravity is. Thanks to this fact, your dog will not be able to pull forward with all of his power. If he tries to do so, he’ll just spin on the spot. In order to move forward, he will have to take it slowly.
2. Harness-Train Him at Home
No matter his breed, your dog is definitely a curious explorer deep in his soul. And with nature, he probably finds it difficult to concentrate on one task at a time. If he gets distracted easily during the walks, the solution is to harness-train him in the environment that’s familiar to him.
Once you see that he’s doing well with a harness in the comfort of your home, it means that the time has come to take him outside.
3. Make Sure He’s Properly Fed
Your dog’s mind can wander off easily and one of the biggest distractions for dogs is food. Dogs just love eating, but when they’re properly fed, they can control themselves. But, if your pup is hungry, you can be sure he won’t be too focused on the training. Instead, he’ll be focused on trying to find something to eat.
Of course, you shouldn’t feed him right before training as it can make him feel nauseated. Harness-training can be pretty exhausting for dogs, especially the ones that like to pull the leash vigorously. This is why our advice is to give him a meal at least half an hour before his harness training.
4. Make Sure He’s Had Enough Water
Same as food, water can be a big distraction. If your pup is feeling thirsty, he will spend his harness training session looking for a pond where he could drink some water. This is why you ought to make sure he’s had enough water before the training.
Another reason why this is important is his health. He can get dehydrated if he hadn’t drunk enough water before an exhausting training, especially during hot summer months.
5. Teach Him How to Stay Focused
By now we’ve established that every pup has trouble concentrating, but with your help, he can learn how to stay focused. The process is long, so be prepared to cut him some slack if he gets distracted. If he comes upon some food or notices another dog (or some other animal), your pup will probably react.
To deal with this, all you got to do is give him a command to back off from the distraction. Whether you’re going to do it by raising your voice at him or jerking the leash back, it’s totally up to you. Sometimes he’ll listen to your command right away; sometimes, you will have to be more persistent.
6. Have His Favorite Treats Ready
In order to teach a dog something, you can you two methods. The first one involves giving him the so-called negative motivation. What this means is that when he behaves badly, you raise your voice at him, showing him you’re not satisfied.
The other, more effective, method, is to reward good behavior. Basically, you need to bribe your pup into behaving well. And the easiest way to do this is by giving him his favorite treats every time he obeys your commands.
Of course, nothing is stopping you from using both of these training methods when teaching your dog how to walk with a harness. You can raise your voice at him when he starts pulling vigorously and reward him with a treat when he behaves exactly the way you want him to.
7. Practice Makes Perfect
Your dog doesn’t understand English, so you can’t just explain to him how he needs to behave on the leash. Instead, you need to slowly show him how to do it. Obviously, teaching him to walk elegantly with a harness is going to take a lot of time. But, it will pay off!
How long the harness training will take depends on many factors, including your dog’s age, his breed, his personality, and so on. Still, you should expect to see some major improvements after a couple of weeks. But, even if he takes a bit longer to learn it, you shouldn’t give up on him. You need to remember that practice makes perfect!