Do you have a sore back or shoulder because your Doodle walks you?
Did we just hear dozens of people saying “me, me, me”. Well its likely everyone reading this has experienced it and if you are reading this now then you are probably currently dealing with some soreness from a Goldendoodle that pulls on the leash.
So why not train your dog to walk along side you without pulling and enjoy every walk without any pain or pulling!
The great thing is its not as complicated as you might think! Like most things worth mastering it will take some time, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes it can be a 5 minute turnaround as expert dog trainer, Doggy Dan, demonstrates in his video below.
But let me first walk you through some of the key mistakes that people make when walking their dog.
We mentioned earlier there are several tricks to walking your dog on the leash correctly so that they walk along side you. And if you have a determined dog you may well need to know all of them before you can master the walk.
Generally speaking, the tips I am about to give you now will really help. So lets get into the training.
The most important thing to remember is to keep your dog calm. If your dog is charged up like a raging bull as you head out of the door, like the one in the video then getting them to walk calmly on the leash is going to be a lot harder than if they were calm.
So how do we calm them down?
1 – Calming your dog down.
Think about your build up to leaving the house. You bring out the leash and BOOM! Your calm beauty becomes a chaotic tornado. They jump up, tail wagging, racing around wanting you to put the leash on them. Now if you simply oblige and put the leash on them they get even more rowdy don’t they!
The reason is simple. You are reinforcing their excited behavior with a reward, the leash. This behavior gets more and more troublesome as you continue to reward them with what they want. They become more excited not less excited as they get to go on more walks.
Now think about what happens as you go out the front door. Your Goldendoodle drags you to the door and right out of it and down the street. The same thing is happening here as when you first put the leash on. They are being rewarded for what they are doing so it becomes habit. You’re reinforcing the pulling and excited behavior and they just get more excited as this is allowed to go on.
So for the next walk you plan to take try this. Pick up the dog leash and instead of just putting it on when they get all excited, wait. As long as they remain crazy just simply continue doing what you were and ignore your Doodles antics. Once they do calm down then put the leash on and if they do not then simply put the leash away.
This can take some time and may take several attempts and in some cases a longer period. However, your dog will eventually calm down. Once they are calm you can try again and repeat the process until they are relaxed as you put the leash on.
You can use the same process and repeat it through getting your dog down to the sidewalk. You can wait calmly with your dog on the leash until they do calm down before continuing or can go back and take the leash off and hold off a few minutes.
You may feel like you are making no progress here. But you need to take some time and work on this. It is better to work it out now than continue to let your dog lead you and drag you around the streets of your neighborhood for the next 10 years or so. You cannot just ignore it, it will not fix itself.
The next step is a basic exercise that involves you turning around whenever your Goldendoodle pulls ahead on the leash.
2 – Change direction
You may know which way your dog likes to go when you go for walks but if you don’t remember just start going and see which direction they try to lead you and go the opposite direction. If they try to go right then go left. Just turn the direction you wish to go. Take a step in that direction. Do this again and repeat till they take notice of what you are doing.
On a larger scale you could change direction and go the other way whenever your dog starts to pull on the leash.
When you do this do it quickly. Do not let your dog pull you or get far out in front. This exercise puts your dog behind you every time. This can take time and lots of practice but in the end would you rather walk your dog or be walked by your dog?
3 – Chose an appropriate device
Looks at some of the various types of devices available to help you to get your dog to heel. In the video you can see Doggy Dan uses a special harness where the attachment is under the dogs chin, a leader leash. This is different from the traditional harness where the attachment is on the back and the dog ends up pulling like a sled dog.
4 – Remember the pack leader leads
A pack leader leads from the front. If you are not the pack leader in your dogs eyes then they will fight for the spot at the front. Its just their nature. You need to learn to become the pack leader and is a lesson all on it’s own. It is the basis for Cesar Millan’s book where he points out that before any training takes place you first need to establish that you are the leader.
5 – Lots of extra tips
As we mentioned earlier there are lots of other tips and tricks like knowing when to tug a little on the leash without going to far. Knowing when and where to let your dog have time and freedom to sniff and pee is another great tip to know.
If you are looking for some training on how to become the leader on your dog walks then I recommend you check out Cesar Millan’s Be The Pack Leader book.
We all want to enjoy our time with our dogs and that includes walking them, so don’t put up or put it off any longer, get control of your dog so you can enjoy a relaxed walk!