Dog pulling on a leash: Why? What to do ?
Dog pulling on a leash: Why? What to do ?
Do you have a dog and do you dream of enjoying the nearby park, the surrounding forests or a simple walk?
Yes but problem; your dog pulls on the leash and gives you no respite.
What should be a moment of complicity and simple happiness becomes a real obstacle course?
Don’t worry, things can work out.
Dogs often tend to pull on a leash, but good training , a few simple techniques, and the right equipment should help you change your dog’s behavior on outings.
Is your dog one of those who pulls hard on the leash? Here’s what you need to know to rectify this mania, and take full advantage of your walks.
My dog pulls on a leash: Why?
Dogs can tend to pull on a leash for many reasons. Here are the main causes of this behavior:
Obviously, the number one reason for a dog pulling on its leash is excitement.
Our companions are indeed true explorers, who love to sniff, track, meet other animals and play with all the objects they find in their path.
Nothing more normal therefore, when it is time for the daily outing, to want to go on an adventure in the face of all these novelties that await them.
Does your dog explode with joy when you show him the leash? Jump on the door when you’re about to open it? Pulls forward when outdoors? So he’s probably just excited to discover this world that’s open to him.
Especially since the more your dog pulls, the faster you tend to move forward. And the faster you go, the faster he will discover the world around him.
The logical consequence of this excitement is that you unwittingly reinforce the behavior of pulling on the leash.
Because the more your dog pulls, the more you probably tend to bring him back to you to hold him back.
Problem ; this action on your part ashes him and forces him to pull on the leash even more. And so on. The vicious circle is in place.
Also related to excitement, external stimuli can make your dog distracted and inattentive to your expectations.
This behavior will vary a lot from one place to another, depending on the stimuli surrounding your dog.
For example, your dog may not pull on a leash in a quiet, animal-free environment, but start pulling like crazy in a crowded dog park.
Another reason that can explain why a dog pulls on a leash is stress .
Like us, dogs can suffer from phobias ( storms , other dogs , etc.), trauma, or even simply be fearful in nature .
A dog can therefore pull on the leash hard out of fear and in order to avoid the trigger of his fear.
This can for example be another animal that is in the vicinity.
A dog may also have had a traumatic first outward experience, such as an aggressive encounter with another dog.
If this is the case, he may associate the outside with this bad experience, and therefore be afraid to go outside .
Likewise, dogs tend to like routine.
If you have decided to walk yours in an environment that he does not know, he can show reserve and pull the leash to return to the car.
All the reasons related to fear, stress and anxiety can thus explain why a dog pulls on its leash.
My dog pulls on a leash: what to do?
Several techniques can help you limit this behavior, including obedience sessions and the reward system.
Indeed, if your dog does not know the basic commands such as “At the feet”, “Sit”, ” Stay ” or “Stop”, it will naturally be less easy for you to control him when you go out on a leash.
By teaching him to stay by your side and listen to your orders during training sessions, he will learn to walk more calmly by your side.
Here are some other tips to stop your dog from pulling on the leash.
Start in a calm environment
To start teaching your dog to walk on a leash without pulling, it is essential to get him used to wearing a leash in a calm environment and without stimulation that could compromise his concentration.
For example, you can start by walking together on a leash in your yard, in your garden, or even in your house.
In his environment, he will indeed tend to be more concentrated and less entertained by other things.
This will make it much easier for your dog to learn new behaviors.
Objective? Maintain the dog’s interest and attention.
So practice several times a day at home or in the yard with minimal distractions.
Then, as your pet develops the right behavior, gradually add distractions.
Start with small steps
It is better to take one or two steps at a time and keep the dog in the right position, rather than trying to accomplish a long walk.
Your dog will indeed tend to stay more focused on short walks and you will be able to more easily rectify his behavior if necessary.
As he learns, take longer and longer walks with more and more distractions.
Go for example from a walk in the garden, around the block, then to a walk by the sea.
Stop walking when your dog pulls
If a dog begins to pull forward, pulling back on the leash and collar will cause resistance.
Either blocking may stop some dogs, but it will generally cause most to pull even harder forward.
This resistance can thus create frustration, causing the opposite behavior to what you want.
Worse, fearful or defensive dogs may become more aggressive if you pull on the leash , as they may feel trapped and unable to defend themselves if needed.
Constrained and limited by the leash, they are therefore more likely to defend their personal space or their family members (defensive or protective aggression).
Also, depending on the type of collar and your reaction, every time you tug on the leash, you may increase your dog’s anxiety and, therefore, his aggressive attitude.
To rectify this behavior, do not pull on the leash.
Teach your dog that walking beside you with a loose leash means he can walk, and pulling means he can’t.
For this, and if your dog pulls on the taut leash, stop and wait for him to return to a level where the leash is looser.
Do not move, stay calm and do not move forward until the leash is relaxed.
Just stand, and wait calmly and quietly.
When the leash is slack, continue your walk and reward your pet.
Repeat this operation if necessary.
Opt for positive reinforcement and the reward system
The best technique for teaching your dog to walk on a leash is the positive reinforcement or reward system .
This method consists of reinforcing good behavior, by rewarding your dog with treats or toys, for example.
In practice, take two steps with your dog.
If he doesn’t pull on the leash and stays at your feet, reward him.
Take a few more steps, then longer walks, and reward your dog each time he performs the right behavior.
If your dog pulls on the leash, stop walking, wait for him to come back, then try taking a few steps again.
Reward him when he does the right thing .
Always keep in mind that the walk itself is the ultimate reward and if the leash is not slack the walk will not take place.
The goal here is to associate walking on your feet with a positive experience; the rewards.
Once your dog stays close to you on your walk, gradually reduce the treats, replacing them with something positive like a pet.
Associate your dog’s movements with commands
If you find this technique too slow, you can try the method in reverse.
For example, teach your dog not to move when he pulls too much on the leash and it is tight.
Concretely, if your dog reaches the end of the leash and begins to pull on it, say the command “Stop” , followed by a slight pull on the leash to attract the dog’s attention and stop it.
Give slack again and if your dog obeys (i.e. does not move), immediately give him a reward to praise him.
After several repetitions, your dog will understand that he will be rewarded for keeping the leash loose and that the word “Stop” means he should not move forward.
The “Stop” command can then be used to stop your dog pulling on the leash while walking, and to obtain a stable and controlled position, especially when approaching a fire, an obstacle, other dogs or danger.
Choose comfortable equipment
A traditional leash can be unpleasant and affect your dog’s breathing if he pulls on it.
It is therefore essential to put him at ease, so that the outings remain a happy event.
Associating outings with a stressful event may cause him to pull on the leash to get home, make your dog anxious or even aggressive.
You are probably wondering for a dog that pulls on a leash, collar or harness?
Instead of a collar, always prefer a harness.
A dog harness that pulls on a leash is a perfect training aid, as it takes the strain off a dog’s sensitive neck, distributing pressure more evenly around the body.
Likewise, if your dog’s traction is too strong and your companion takes you with him, know that there is equipment for humans to help you keep control of your movements, and at the same time of his own. .
Finally, and among the accessories that you can use, the halter can be a good way to obtain immediate control.
Indeed, when the dog pulls forward with a halter, the pull on the leash makes the dog’s head turn towards its master.
At that point, you can therefore regain your dog’s attention, bring him back to your side and continue.
Similarly, and thanks to the halter if you pull the leash up, the dog will back up and sit.
Once seated, reward him by saying “Sit”, so that he understands that this is the behavior to adopt when you pronounce this order.
However, be careful with the halter. This accessory can be dangerous for overly crazy dogs and puppies. Use with caution therefore.
Be motivating and present the exercise as a game
You can prevent your dog from pulling on the leash by motivating him to follow you in an excited voice to get his attention.
When he follows you and the leash is loose, turn around and continue on your way, continuing to motivate him to follow you as if it were a game.
Also show treats to your dog next to you to come over and reward your dog once they position themselves as desired.
Increase the difficulty gradually
Once your dog listens to you more, you can vary even more by becoming unpredictable yourself.
This means that your dog has to listen to you at all times because he never knows when you’re going to turn or where you’re going to go next.
By changing direction from time to time, your dog will learn to watch you closely.
Gradually add distractions , but remember to always go at your dog’s pace.
If he is struggling, go back to a stage where he was successful and take it slower.
Instead of turning away from him when you give him the go signal, reverse the direction by turning towards him.
You can spin in a circle or do a figure eight. All of these variations will get your dog’s attention.
Don’t forget to praise him for his obedience, because the closer you make him feel like you’re walking, the more he’ll choose to do so.
Start at the front door
Training should start as soon as you leave home.
Ask your dog to sit and not move, then open the front door.
Whichever technique you choose to use, make sure your dog is seated before you walk through the door.
It is essential that he begins the exercise calm, and that he understands that he must be calm to have the right to his walk.
If your dog starts to run away, try commanding him to sit, using food bait, or waiting for him to sit (close the door if necessary).
Again, the halter can be a quick and effective way, as an upward and forward pull should bring your dog back to a sitting position, and the tension should release when the dog sits.
Remember to reward your dog when he is calm and seated.
Be patient and don’t use punishment
Some owners resort to forms of correction or punishment (such as strangulation devices).
It’s not a good idea.
Punishment can make your dog anxious so that he begins to fear having the collar put on or he becomes increasingly fearful and hesitant to walk around.
Another serious consequence is that owners who correct their dog every time he pulls, such as when he meets new people or new dogs, can create a negative association. That is, the dog associates social encounters with something painful.
In other words, dogs that are anxious or aggressive toward people or animals may become so in part because their handler has used punitive and corrective techniques.
Especially since some dogs will learn to stop only when the correction is applied and others will continue to pull despite the pain and discomfort.
To be effective, the techniques used to correct fear and anxiety must aim to ensure that each new outing or encounter is associated with rewards.
Therefore, dog leash walking training should aim to teach your dog that rewards, including the walk itself, are only obtained when he walks on the leash correctly and without pulling.
Assistance dogs and other assistance pets
They say that dogs are man’s best friend, and there are increasing reasons to believe so. Dogs are not only your greatest company, your comfort, your entertainment, your family and your faithful companion, they also save lives and help disabled people!
These animals serve to help people in many ways. There are police dogs that help control drugs, rescue dogs that manage to save many lives, guide dogs that make life easier for the blind… and many more! All of them manage to do these extraordinary feats thanks to painstaking training and the great skills they possess, which make them incredible animals. Dogs are there for everyone in need, and new ways are found every day in which they can offer their help to people.
Pets and emotional assistance dogs
Dogs are not the only animals that can help people. Monkeys and horses are trained to offer assistance of different kinds to people in need. They have been trained to help people with different disabilities and make life easier for those who cannot fend for themselves. Although there are other animals, the most common animal is the dog, since they are easy to tame, familiar, and very faithful.
There are therapies with assistance dogs that seek to improve the physical, social, emotional or cognitive functioning of people using the bond that is created between the person and the animal. Dogs are living beings that provide people with company, support and peace of mind. Thanks to the help of these animals, people with some type of psychological problem can lead a more comfortable life and reduce their anxiety.
In addition to emotional assistance dogs, which are the ones used in these therapies, there are also emotional support dogs. These provide the owner with very important support for their mental health. They are people who need the constant presence of their dog , so they do not separate from them as much as possible, and they rely on their company. These dogs make it easier for the mood of these people to be calm and prevent them from getting upset.
Emotional Support Animals are expanding in the United States. They are dogs that, due to the dependence that their owners have towards them, allow them to travel in the cabin of airplanes. Thus, people with health or psychological problems will be able to travel with their faithful companion, so that they are calmer and feel more secure.
There is no need for the dog to be trained. It is only necessary that they know how to behave in public, so that they are not annoying or a danger to other people.
Assistance dogs for disabled and children with autism
Assistance dogs, unlike emotional support dogs, are previously trained so that they can help people with disabilities as much as possible. They are trained for 9 months so that they can perfectly help their future owner.
The golden and the labrador retriever are two of the most used dog breeds for this task, since they are characterized by being docile and calm. Once trained, they are able to guide people with visual disabilities, help people with physical disabilities to pick up objects from the ground, open doors, and many other things .
These dogs are currently being used to help in some cases of children with autism , for example. These animals become authentic co-therapists, helping to clearly improve their quality of life, improving communication and the relationship with their parents and calming anxiety levels .
Tick removal dog | How do you do that the right way?
Tick diseases in dogs
Ticks and dogs are not a good combination, although it is common. Dogs love to run through the woods, lift their paw under a tree, or sprint through the meadow. These are exactly the places where ticks live and dogs regularly have a tick bite.
Ticks are present for a large part of the year, as long as it is above 7 degrees. According to the RIVM , most bites occur from March to October, so you can hardly escape them.
In general, a tick bite does not cause much harm, but it is important to remove the tick as soon as possible. In the worst case, the tick transmits a disease to your dog and you want to prevent this. For a tick to transfer a disease to a dog, the bite often needs to be ‘nested’ for about a day, so a check after every walk is sufficient.
The diseases that a tick can transmit to your dog are Lyme and Anaplasma in the Netherlands. Most dogs don’t get that sick from this, but you still want to prevent it. Tick prevention is the best way to prevent your dog from getting sick.
Ticks are generally not that big, a few millimeters. However, you sometimes see a fairly large animal sitting on your dog, this can also be an engorged tick on your dog. It’s amazing how big some ticks can get.
An engorged tick on your dog sometimes releases itself. It just means that it has been there for a while and there is therefore a greater chance that a disease has been transmitted. Try not to let a tick grow so big, but remove it immediately.
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Tick remove dog
The best thing you can do is check your dog for ticks every day. Here you have to keep your attention, because they are often no bigger than a few millimeters. It is best to do this check after you have returned from your walk through the woods or when your dog has had a great time in tall grass. Some places that you should definitely check for ticks are:
- On the head and neck
- On the legs
- Around the toes
- Round or in the ears
- Under the tail
Fortunately, removing a tick is not that complicated. With a simple drawing pliers you can go a long way. However, it is wise to read the tips below before you get started with the pliers. That way you can be sure that you are doing it right.
Tips for removing ticks from your dog
- Use a tick remover to remove ticks, preferably not your hands because diseases can also be transmitted in this way
- Grab the tick as close to the head as possible and do not press on the body
- Gently pull the tick straight out of your dog’s body
- Disinfect the wound only afterremoving the tick and not while the tick is still there. This allows the tick to infect your dog
- Don’t forget to wash your hands and the tick removerafter removing the tick from your dog. You never know what might have stuck to your hands or the pliers
- Note the date you removed ticks. If your dog still gets sick, you can help the vet with as much information as possible about the infection
Dog tick removal failed
Sometimes it happens that removing a tick from your dog fails. For example, does the head of the tick stay in your dog? Then you run the risk of infection. This is not a certainty, the tick may already be dead, but in this case it is better to be on the safe side and call the vet.
A tick often empties its contents into the host when it dies or is pulled incorrectly.
Symptoms of a tick bite
It sometimes happens that you overlook a tick, they are very small. As a result, your dog may start to get a little sick. Do you notice one or more of the points below? Then it is possible that your dog has a tick somewhere and has become ill. Consult your vet immediately:
- Your dog loses his energy, is lazy and does not want to move anymore
- Appetite disappears (completely)
- Your dog has a fever
- Your dog is in pain, this can be expressed by scratching a lot or wanting to lick the place where the tick has been
- For example, was the tick in the paw? Then it can become stiff and cause a strange walk
Preventing tick bites in dogs
The best thing you can do is prevent your dog from getting a tick. Going through the hair with a comb every day is already a very good way to do this, at least check the places indicated earlier in this article. In addition, there are more good measures that you can take preventively to prevent ticks in your dog.
The Sereto tick and flea collar is a hugely popular preventive collar against ticks. One of the reasons why the tire is so popular is because of its long service life, namely a whole season (about 8 months). The belt has a repellent effect on fleas and ticks and is also odorless in contrast to other (smelly) belts.
How do you choose a pet that suits you (and vice versa)?
Pets are addictive. Whether it concerns children, adults, or the elderly: once you start with pets, you often don’t want to be without them. Logical, because pets have many positive effects on people. Fortunately, suitable animal housemates can be found for every stage of life!
Babies are surrounded by animals from birth; plush or in picture books, for example. A pet then seems like a logical next step. Growing up with a pet has many benefits, both for young children and adolescents: research shows that pets provide social support, help the child feel safe, and are good for self-confidence. Children themselves call the animal their best friend from whom they receive unconditional love and whom they can always trust.
For this, the child must receive good guidance and a good example from his parents. And of course, the animal must fit well with the child and the situation, because a pet that is disappointing becomes a source of frustration rather than joy. So that choice is important. Rabbits and guinea pigs don’t want to sit on your lap and hamsters, especially Syrian ones, often sleep when the children are awake. Rats, on the other hand, can be tamed well, are often active during the day, and are easy to handle by children who are not too young. Budgerigars or cockatiels are nice companions for older children. Keep in mind that they are not stuffed animals and that they can live for more than fifteen years; what happens to the birds when the children go to their rooms?
To come home
Those who are busy with a first job and their own household after school often have little time for pets. Yet, if chosen well, a pet can be a resting point in such a period, providing structure or companionship for those who live alone. An aquarium takes relatively little time and continues to run even if its owner is late at home, but it can still offer a lot of fun and relaxation. Reptiles or nocturnal and twilight animals, such as the Syrian hamster, often combine well with a work rhythm in which people are away from home a lot during the day.
Take care together
If you have children, you may also want to get a pet for the kids. Parents must also like such a pet themselves because they are ultimately responsible. When the children are older and can participate in the care, animals that require more time and attention, such as a dog, cat, or rabbits, but also parrots or other birds, can also be excellent options.
Time for company
For the elderly, pets can help to stay active longer and maintain social contact. In addition, pets are something to take care of, they provide structure in the day and help against loneliness. Retired people often have more time to spend on their pets, which in turn makes other animal species eligible. A smaller dog or cat, for example, preferably adult because these animals can get quite old. But maybe this is the moment when people finally have the time to set up a beautiful terrarium or expand a birding hobby.
Never too old
Even in a nursing home, animals can be valuable, keeping people more alert and providing companionship. Questions such as: which species are allowed, how old can the animal become, how intensive is the care and who will take over the care of the animal if it is no longer possible? Canaries or other small birds may be suitable and care is not complicated, but bear in mind they can live well over ten years. Fish require little care, but help with cleaning can be nice.
With some puzzle work, it is often possible to find an animal species that fits the picture. Do you want to know which factors play a role and which animal species can be suitable? under ‘Living with animals’ you will find various articles about the role of pets in different phases of life, with points of attention for the purchase. The pet specialist is also happy to help you find the ideal pet for you.
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