Training a Service Dog not to Pull on the Leash – Step 1
Positive Dog Training
Hi! This is Christina from comehereboy.com and this is my 5 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback, Luna.
Today, I wanted to teach you one of the first things that I think a dog, especially a service dog, should learn: how to walk on a leash without pulling.
You’ll need the following supplies for this lesson:
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– A clicker (
– A 6 foot Leather Leash (
– Treats (
– A treat pouch (
– And a flat snap collar (
Before I start training, I always do what is called “priming the clicker” which just means clicking and treating a few times to remind my dog that the clicker means a treat.
Clicker training helps the dog recognize the reflexive pulling that their body does and replace it with a new behavior. Here you can see Luna pulling against the leash.
So now I’m going to intentionally pull on the leash and click immediately when Luna releases the pressure on the leash, making it loose.
This teaches her to pay attention to how the collar feels on her neck.
I’m going to continue clicking and treating every time she loosens the leash until I can see she is recognizing the pressure and deliberately moving to make the leash loose.
If you have trouble with your dog still pulling against the leash, it’s okay to make noises, clap or lure them with a treat to encourage them to move until they get the idea.
The reflex to pull against a collar is very strong in some dogs and other dogs don’t have very sensitive necks, so they might need a little help!
Always reward them when they make that leash even a little bit loose.
Now, we’re using a flat collar during training so that one day you can go for walks on a flat collar without your dog pulling.
While you are training, you will want to use the flat collar only while training and switch to something different, like a halti or a harness, for regular walks or going out.
That way your pup doesn’t get confused and you don’t have to worry about training when you’re just trying to get to the vet.
I don’t encourage long term use of haltis or harnesses because they are not good for your dog’s body, so this is just a temporary way of handling walks.
Practice this exercise twice a day for up to five minutes each time and then when your dog is responding quickly to you, make the exercise harder by clicking and treating only when your dog responds within, say, 2 seconds of you pulling the leash tight.
Then drop the time to 1 second. Then try expecting an immediate response for a while and when your dog can do that consistently, you’re ready for the next level.
Thanks for joining me today, make sure to subscribe to my videos and check out my blog at comehereboy.com for more info on training psychiatric service dogs.