Does your puppy pull on leash when going for a walk? Are you that person frantically trying to keep up with your pet who has decided he is in charge of walks?
Today I’m going to teach you a great game called “Stop & Go.” This is how you play. Put your puppy on leash and prepare to go for a walk. Start moving in any direction you choose. The second your puppy puts tension on the leash, stop. Yep, do NOT move. Plant your feet and do not budge or allow your dog to drag you, not one inch. Ever. Wait until your puppy turns back toward you as if to say, “Hey! Why aren’t we moving?”
As soon as he puts slack back in the leash, continue walking. Your dog wants to go somewhere and walking is his reinforcement. Teach him that you only move if there is slack in the leash. If he feels pressure on his collar, movement stops immediately.
At first, this may take time. You might stand in one spot and not move for a solid ten minutes. Patience is the “other” name of this game! You must hold out! The first time will take the longest, but if you persist, your puppy will catch on quickly that to move he must walk by your side so as not to put any pressure on the leash.
Remember to stay consistent; once you start this game, you must always use it. It will do no good to let him pull sometimes, but then expect him not to at other times. Don’t confuse your pup! I recommend bringing along tasty treats to reinforce him when he is walking right next to you in what we call the “Reinforcement Zone.” Every so often give him a treat if he is walking nicely by your side. Also, forget going around the block for now. Start with your driveway, the path to the mailbox, or a neighbor’s house first. Then build up more and more distance when your patience and pup can handle it! Mix up the walk by changing directions, turning in circles, zigzagging, etc. Happy walking...with no more pulling!