Leading animal psychologist Roger Mugford continues his quest to stop the nation’sdogs pulling on their leads.
Dr Mugford believes that taking your dog for a walk should be fun for both of you, and for safety’s sake an owner must be in control of their pet at all times. Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, it is an offence to walk a dog on a designated road without a lead.
Dr Mugford’s renowned Animal Behaviour Centre hosts over 6,000 training classes annually and a shocking 80 per cent of clients report pulling on the lead as their key problem. And with over seven million dogs in the UK, it is estimated that a staggering five million of the dogs on our streets are straining at the lead.
Teaching a dog to heel is a fundamental part of basic dog training and, when mastered, will make walkies more enjoyable for you both and will also improve your relationship with your pet. Once your dog learns to walk to heel there will be no more tugs of war in the street or feelings of frustration from either end of the dog lead.
Dogs who are badly behaved on lead are less likely to be walked by their owners and, as a consequence, are more likely to be destructive and given up for re-homing. So, start training your dog not to pull today and reap the benefits of a well-behaved walking companion.
Follow Dr Roger Mugford’s top tips to stop your dog pulling and take the strain out of your relationship.
- A dog needs to learn that forward movement only happens from a slack lead. Briefly halt when your dog starts to pull, moving forward as soon as the lead is slack.
- Don’t keep the lead under constant pressure as this will result in a tug of war.
- Practice turning your dog away and towards you so he learns to keep his attention focussed on you.
- Try not to allow your dog’s pulling to result in a reward, such as sniffing a nice smell or greeting another dog.
- Reserve a command, such as “heel” or “close”, for times when your dogs is beside you and not pulling.
- Practice in a quiet area at first and avoid getting your dog over-excited before walks. Most importantly of all, make training fun and reward your dog whenever he gets it right.
The use of a head collar or harness can also help when training a dog to walk to heel, and for persistent pullers it will take away pressure from the delicate throat and neck areas.
The Halti, invented by Dr Mugford, works on the principal if you guide the head, the body must surely follow. It has been designed to be worn loose around the muzzle to gently steer your dog in the right direction.
To find out more about the Halti, visit www.halti.co.uk