Your Pet Question:
My 8-month-old puggle puppy pulls when I walk her. How do I get her to stop?
The Expert Says:
A puppy that pulls can be a pain, but the key is to get started correctly and it will take some patience to get it right. The goal is to keep your dog by your side with a small amount of slack on the leash as you walk forward. Your dog should begin each walk by sitting first and then following YOU out the front door. As soon as the leash tightens, stop and have your dog sit or even take a few steps back, and then start again. Continue until she gets it right and don’t walk forward unless the leash is slack. Small tasty food rewards can also be used as encouragement. This exercise can take a great deal of time and patience so I would also consider some additional aids such as a body harness with a front-control (mid-chest) or a head halter, or working with a reward-based trainer who can guide you through basic training. Walking your dog should be a treat for BOTH of you, good luck!
Dr. Gary Landsberg, BSc, DVM, DACVB, dipECVBM-CA, is a Veterinary Behaviourist at North Toronto Animal Clinic, Toronto, Ontario.