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Question
Posted by: Corne | 2011-04-09

dog too strong

My golden retriever is very sweet but when I walk her she pulls so hard on the lead I can hardly keep my balance. I make her sit before I put on the lead and before she goes out the gate and I have the lead at the start so short that she has to be right next to me but she pulls it almost out of my hand and carries on pulling. She does follow scents a lot but even when there''s no scent she still pulls. So I keep on stopping and tell her no pulling then go on again, but it doesn''t help. If I let go of the lead she does not run away, stays fairly close to me although she might be a bit ahead or to the side. I am scared to walk her without a lead even though it would be much more comfortable.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Corne, nice to hear from you and i know just how frustrating this can be! The more she pulls and you pull back, the worse the situation gets - try getting somebody to hold onto one side of a rope and you the other and one person pulls - instanctively you start to pull back, called the opposition reflex. There are several ways to address this:-
1. You can try the very simple Red Light/Green Light method. What you do here is similar to what you are doing before going out gate. If dog pulls, stop-dont talk, interact at all. As the lead slackens, even a midgon, say 'lets go' and walk forward. Again, second dog pulls, stop and repeat. If you are currently having a 5km walk, you will end up initially with about 50m this way so be prepared! If you get into what i call a 'standoff' - dog remains leaning into a pull, without saying anything, turn around and walk the other way a few steps, as dog comes and lead goes slack, say 'lets go' and turn around in the normal manner.
2. A way i find wonderful and use a lot is the balance lead or else to points of contact using a harness and collar. It keeps a dog right next to you and in balance, and as you pull upwards as opposed to against the dog, the dog automatically stops, body goes into balance and off you go. Have a look at the friendsofthedog website and you will see several articles on lead pulling that you can have a look at and decide which is the best option for you and your dog. Good luck and let me know how you go if you get a chance. Must make the next article for Health24 on this topic, will make it much easier for all!

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2011-04-09

Hi Corne, nice to hear from you and i know just how frustrating this can be! The more she pulls and you pull back, the worse the situation gets - try getting somebody to hold onto one side of a rope and you the other and one person pulls - instanctively you start to pull back, called the opposition reflex. There are several ways to address this:-
1. You can try the very simple Red Light/Green Light method. What you do here is similar to what you are doing before going out gate. If dog pulls, stop-dont talk, interact at all. As the lead slackens, even a midgon, say 'lets go' and walk forward. Again, second dog pulls, stop and repeat. If you are currently having a 5km walk, you will end up initially with about 50m this way so be prepared! If you get into what i call a 'standoff' - dog remains leaning into a pull, without saying anything, turn around and walk the other way a few steps, as dog comes and lead goes slack, say 'lets go' and turn around in the normal manner.
2. A way i find wonderful and use a lot is the balance lead or else to points of contact using a harness and collar. It keeps a dog right next to you and in balance, and as you pull upwards as opposed to against the dog, the dog automatically stops, body goes into balance and off you go. Have a look at the friendsofthedog website and you will see several articles on lead pulling that you can have a look at and decide which is the best option for you and your dog. Good luck and let me know how you go if you get a chance. Must make the next article for Health24 on this topic, will make it much easier for all!

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