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FAQ - Pulling

Q: How do I get my dog to stop pulling on a leash?

A: You can't.

Not what you wanted to hear, huh?  The problem is that pulling is not the problem.  We have taught them for untold generations TO pull. We select for pulling. We cull for lack of pulling. They will pull. Good dog.

Pulling is not the problem.  Walking on a loose leash is the problem.  If your dog pulls you on the leash, you never taught the dog to walk on a LOOSE leash.  You can not teach NO PULL.  You can teach a mutually exclusive behavior like LOOSE leash walking.  

We have to stop thinking about punishing behaviors -- tight leash -- and start thinking about REWARDING behaviors -- the loose leash..  We should reward loose leashes, look for opportunities to reward your dog and your dog will look to you for rewards. If he is looking to you, that's attention, that is NOT pulling.

It's the same principal as -- How do you teach a dog not to jump. A: You can't. You can, however teach a mutually exclusive behavior like sitting.

Any dog who is pulling on a leash has NOT been taught to walk with a loose leash. You teach walking with a loose leash by teaching moving attention. You teach moving attention by teaching stationary attention. You Will find stationary attention in the archives. <G> You'll also see it under FAQ on the website and clicker training.

But the basics are -- load the clicker, then click for eye contact (which is attention!), then while clicking for eye contact, back a step, then when they can maintain eye contact while you back ONE step, you turn and start walking, while click/treating for eye contact. If they are maintaining eye contact and being rewarded, the leash is LOOSE, unless you have 10' rms.

Once you have taught the dog to move on a loose leash, you will understand that yanking the dog just encourages them to pull harder.

However, if you are in the process of teaching moving attention and they haven't gotten the hang of it yet, you can practice being a tree. 

Moving forward is the reward. So when they move forward with a tight leash, I become a tree, plant my roots, and don't move. They loose the reward until the loosen the lead, and then we move forward one step.

You can also reverse direction WITH CLICK/TREATS because they will loose the reward of moving forward, but you won't have to pop your shoulder OR THEIR NECK out of joint with a pop correction.

Pop corrections DO NOT WORK. They increase your frustration, their frustration, and they do NOT communicate what you really want, they do NOT teach anything, they are blind punishment. The dog doesn't UNDERSTAND why they are getting yanked around, you are not communicating to them why, you are just releasing frustration -- the frustration that you have not taught them loose leash walking... <S>

Summary

Load the clicker

click/treat for eye contact - stationary attention

c/t for attention in motion

make like a tree

reverse direction with c/t for loose leashes

(I feel your pain, I taught Storm to weightpull ONE TON before I taught her attention in motion.... sigh.)

--
Sidney Helen Sachs
www.Wayeh.com
4/6/2008

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Contact Wayeh    *    423-365-6039    *    Spring City, (East) Tennessee
Wayeh Alaskan Malamutes last updated 08/29/2010

Member Oak Ridge Kennel Club since 1996, member TN Working Dog Association since 2008

Temperament, health, structure, working ability, and then type --
because a good Malamute has to be a good dog first.