Lead pulling is one of the most common problems people have with their dogs. When a dog pulls excessively during a walk it can make walking unpleasant and even dangerous so walks occur less and less making things even worse, it is a horrible cycle that many people find themselves trapped in.
Loose lead walking, like any behaviour must be trained for most dogs, and with any new behaviour starting in an easy area is most important. Begin inside in a very small space and attach the lead to your dogs’ collar, take a seat and manoeuvre the lead to the side so it applies some light tension to your dog’s neck, as soon as your dog yields to that pressure reward him with a treat. Repeat this process by manoeuvring the lead to the opposite side always away from your dog and treat when your dog yields.
This process of tension-yield-treat teaches a dog to self correct when they feel pressure on their neck. As your dog improves with this technique you can move to a larger inside area, then out to your back and front yards. Over time you should start to introduce distractions such as bikes, people and other dogs.
Once your dog can walk successfully yielding to pressure with reward you should change the rate of reward from when he yields to while he is walking nicely on a loose lead. This is a critical change as you do not want your dog learning the tension-yield-treat behaviour cycle is the way to walk, rather he must learn that loose lead walking is what you want. When introducing a new area or distraction you will have to go back to the basic steps of tension-yield-treat.
This method of training your dog to walk on a loose lead comes from Ahimsa Dog Training in the States, I have included a link to a few videos below that will show you exactly how to practice. You will notice that a clicker is used in the videos, they are a great training tool in some circumstances but sometimes it complicates the situation and you may not need one here. If you like you can substitute the click sound for ‘yes’ or ‘good dog’ to pin point the exact moment your dog yields or walks nicely on the lead.