Walk with your best friend (without the pulling)!
Dogs and human beings have been best friends since time immemorial and have stolidly stood by each other throughout the history of mankind. Carvings from stone-age caves have depicted the loving relationship that even early men shared with these wonderful creatures. Scientists have suggested that dogs started adopting humans as their ‘masters’ for the ease of obtaining food and protection against larger animals.
Humans, on the other hand, needed them for hunting, companionship and even battles. This mutually symbiotic relationship gradually developed into something more than just ‘survival’ over millions of years of being together. In modern times, when we have grown beyond the need to just ‘survive’, dogs give us unadulterated joy and loyalty in an increasingly artificial world.
Keeping a dog is an amazing way to create an emotionally healthy environment in your house. Your kids will learn a lot more about love and companionship from your dog than at school! It has been observed that kids who grow up with dogs have a higher emotional IQ and are generally more sensitive to their environment than those who have not.
However, keeping a dog as a pet entails a great deal of responsibility which includes regularly feeding, bathing and walking your dog, not to mention monthly visits to the vet. For animal lovers, these come naturally and taking care of a dog can be a source of great joy and also a time to relax.
Walking your dog is easy when it is one of those tiny breeds such as poodles, beagles or cocker spaniels. However, if your dog is of a heavier breed (think Bull dogs, Great Danes, Mastiffs), then walking an active dog can be an ordeal. Dogs do not understand the use of a leash. To them, it is something that they need to pull at, the moment they hit the road with you.
It can be embarrassing if your dog starts running aggressively the moment they spot a cat or a bird on the road and drags you behind like a sack (remember those ‘Marley and me’ scenes which made us roll with laughter)! You can end up becoming the ‘sack’ if you allow your dog to get away with pulling at the leash and running around helter-skelter when you are on the road.
Therefore, it is important to know how to train your hyper-active dog to keep its cool while on the leash and follow your lead without feeling restricted. There are many fun methods to train dogs. It does not have to be punishment-oriented and stifling for your dog or you.
3 top training aids to help stop your dog from pulling on the leash:
- The ‘treat’ method is the best and quickest way to train your dog how to behave. It involves taking a waist-bag full of doggy treats and keeping some in the hand that’s holding your dog. Your dog should be able to smell the treat. Keep giving it treats as long as it walks beside you and does not pull. The moment it starts running, stop and ask it to heel. Give the ‘reward’ when it listens to you and repeat the above step whenever it gets unruly.
- Another easy method is stopping in your tracks every time it starts to pull. Do not move till your dog comes back to you and heels. This method when repeated over time will condition your dog to stop pulling on the leash since it would realize that there is no point in doing that (since you just stop walking). This is however quite useless if your dog is stronger compared to you.
- The last and least recommended is using a shock collar or ‘prong’ collar. These training collars should be used only in the presence of training guides. They may damage your dog’s emotional connect with you and make them aggressive and violent.