My two-year-old Siberian Husky pulls so hard on the lead when we go out. It is a job walking her now and I’m not enjoying the process at all! Please help.
Nick Jones advises…
I recently addressed this problem in a smaller breed with similar traits (she was a Pomsky – a Siberian HuskyPomeranian cross). Primarily, I taught her owner to stop as soon as the dog started to pull; wait a few seconds as she stood or sat with the lead loose; and only then (once she was calm) to move off again with an encouraging ‘OK’. We also looked at ways to deter ‘tram-lining’ at certain spots – where the dog literally gets into a rut and pulls down a long, clear strait, making it very hard to stop them – as this is often a problem for owners of physically strong dogs. So try to keep away from hedges, grass verges, rows of lampposts, and other enticing places that she may be keen to explore and sniff.
In the early stages of your walk, it’s fine to give her the opportunity to stop and relieve herself, but after this, she shouldn’t be stopping to scent mark or pulling you towards distractions every few minutes. During evening walks, where she may be more anxious, it’s a good idea to frequently reward her forward movement and calm behaviour with supplies of high-value food. Be sure to carry plenty with you, and use it to lure her forwards if needs be. Equipment is worth a mention here.
My starting point with a dog that pulls is a soft lead and collar, and a good ‘walking to heel’ technique. But moving on from that, I have been enjoying good levels of success with a Ancol ‘Happy at Heel Harness’, that works by having a ‘running strap’ across the dog’s chest. There are many other good harnesses on the market, of course, but this has been a favourite of mine in recent years, especially with larger dogs.