The right equipment to stop pulling
Using treats during your walk is extremely important as they have the power to help change your dog’s behaviour for the better. Before you say this is bribery, think again! Treats are a worthy reward for hard work – for example would you be so keen to work all day for half your salary? No, we didn’t think so… Also, it’s important to remember that it will be hard to change habits of a lifetime unless there is a really worthwhile incentive.
Using treats as rewards is the best way to encourage dogs to repeat the things that you want. They can also be extremely useful for distracting your dog away from things that cause inappropriate behaviour. Just knowing that you carry food around with you will automatically make you more interesting to your dog and you’ll find that they pay greater attention to you as a result.
No rubbish and boring treats allowed – the only things you can use are the treats that your dog will work for in any situation. Here at Blue Cross we use a variety of hotdog sausage, cubes of cheese or fresh cooked chicken and ham.
The other important thing to consider is to make sure that you don’t run out before your finish your walk, so be very generous and remember to take out enough. For the fashion conscious among you – you may find that compromising your street cred and sporting a bum bag will make this a lot easier.
For really strong dogs or dogs who may be reactive out and about, it’s worth considering using a headcollar at first, especially if there is a risk of you being pulled over. As they are worn on the dog’s face and the point of contact is typically under the chin (much like a horse headcollar), you have more control enabling you teach loose lead walking safely.
There is a wide range of headcollars available on the market. As with all good dog training equipment, it must be introduced to your dog in the right way and it must be used in conjunction with the right technique. If you don’t do this, it is likely to result in your dog hating having to wear it and feeling distressed and frustrated during a time when he should be having fun.
For a dog that has never worn a headcollar, it will feel very strange to suddenly have something placed over the bridge of his nose. Most dogs will attempt to remove this by either rubbing their faces on the ground or pawing at it.