At K9 Bridle, we are dedicated to helping you to stop your dog pulling on the lead. Although our bridles are a way of managing the pulling and not a training solution in themselves, in the long term they can help to stop a dog pulling by breaking the habit. The reasons behind this will become clearer if we can understand why dogs pull on the lead.
1. We have inadvertently trained them to pull.
The main reason why dogs pull is because pulling on the lead is self-rewarding.
In your dog’s head, as soon as she leave the house, they want to get in front of you to sniff everything, so they pull to get there quicker – AND THEY GET THERE!! When you are walking up the drive towards the gate, they want to be out of the gate as soon as possible so they pull forwards – AND THEY GET THERE! Once you are out walking, they want to get to the field where you let them off as soon as possible, so they pull – AND THEY GET THERE! And even better, they get let off the lead for a good run. Do you see the pattern? As soon as they see another dog, they want to go and say hello, so they pull towards the dog – AND THEY GET THERE. We inadvertently train our dogs to pull without even realising it. We reward their pulling by taking them to where they want to go.
Dogs usually get into this habit when they are young puppies without much strength, when pulling is not a problem. After just a few weeks of walks, they have trained themselves to pull, and they are so convinced that this is the only way to do things that they don’t even mind that it hurts their neck or almost chokes them. It gets them to where they want to go, so it’s worth it!
2. The Oppositional Reflex
Dogs also pull due to a subconscious reflex called the “oppositional reflex”. When part of the dog’s body is pulled in one direction, the body will lean or even strain in the opposite direction to maintain balance. When the dog pulls, we pull back, and the cycle is maintained…
So, being able to understand why your dog pulls on the lead is important because it enable us to see how we can break the habit. To find out more about different training methods for training your dog to walk on the lead, please see have a look at our ebook “How to stop a dog from pulling on the lead.”