So many people I talk to get discouraged because they’re trying to change their dog’s unwanted behavior and it’s not working. Oftentimes the reason it’s not working is because they are doing things that are counterproductive to the training itself.
Today I’m going to address two of these counterproductive strategies and how to fix them. I’ll explain why boring is good and yanking is bad.
Why Boring is Good
Have you ever tried to teach your dog something new at the park or while interacting with people? You probably found that it didn’t go as expected. This is simply because there is too much distraction.
When teaching your dog new behavior, you’ll want to begin in an environment with as few distractions as possible. The more boring, the better. And you may remember me telling you before that any new environment is a distraction in and of itself. So a great place to start is in a room inside your house, with your dog on a leash and no toys in sight.
Why Yanking is Bad
Speaking of leashes, who is walking whom? Are you walking your dog or is your dog walking you? If your dog is walking you, forget about yanking on the leash. It won’t work.
The reason for this is that dogs have an opposition reflex – you pull back, they’ll pull forward. In other words, if a dog pulls and gets to where he wants to go, the dog has been rewarded and will continue his yanking behavior.
So, what’s the solution? Head back inside. Yes, walk your dog on his leash inside your home. After your dog has walked successfully next to you many times inside, advance to the backyard, then the front yard, then a couple of houses down, and so on.