When we stop my dog sits and then starts to pull again
When you stop, take some steps backward to encourage them to start coming back towards you. As soon as they start coming back, praise them. Then we need to get the dog back at your side before you start walking again. To do this, you will need to complete a 360-degree turn where you are, your dog will only be doing a 270-degree turn (or 3/4 the way turn). So when the dog starts coming back towards you and is close to you, start spinning in the direction opposite the leash (So if the leash/dog is on your left hand, turn to your right. If the dog is in your right hand, turn to your left.). Keep turning, luring the dog along, until you're facing forward again but your dog is now coming up alongside you. BEFORE they get ahead of you, treat them for being next to your side. Ask your dog for some eye contact (and treat right away!) before you take another step and treat them next to your side immediately AS you're putting your foot forward. This interrupts their habit of lunging ahead as soon as you take a step and gets their focus on you instead of what's in front of them.
Additional Info: While we do want our dogs to come back to us during the walks if they pull ahead, we also don't want to make them get in the habit of pulling in order to come back and get a treat. So the more you can focus on rewarding them BEFORE they get in front of you, then the less time you'll need to spend correcting them from going in front of you.
- Before you begin with the leash, practice walking around the house with your dog and if they follow you, pay them on the floor right next to your foot. (NEXT to, not in front of.) Keep practicing this way until the dog is inclined to follow you or even walk alongside your foot, anticipating a treat. With this exercise, you’ve already started to put “good habits” into practice for leash walking without even using the leash. They can understand why it’s a good thing to walk WITH you.
- If they get in front of you during this practice, give a casual “Oops!” and turn and start walking in the opposite direction. This will now put the puppy behind you again as you start walking. BEFORE they can get ahead of you again, pay them again next to your foot. In this way, you reward them for good behavior before it turns into the wrong behavior.
- Once they have become comfortable with this habit, place a leash on them. Hold the handle of the leash and let the rest be slack.
- Begin walking and doing the same “treat by the foot” exercise. As soon as the dog starts to get ahead of you, say “Uh-oh!” and just STOP. If a dog comes back to you, praise (Do not treat) and begin walk again in forward direction. Resume treating next to the foot.
- If you say “Uh-Oh!” and the dog keeps walking, anticipate the leash will tighten. As SOON as it does, give another “Oops!” and now abruptly turn the opposite direction and begin walking. When a dog starts coming up alongside your leg again, praise and then treat them after one more step.