Your Question:


I have a very rowdy Lab mix who seems impossible to walk. She pulls me down the street, almost at a run. I have given up walking for way too long now and she’s got a new hobby – digging in the yard. I know I should walk her, but what can I do to control her?

My Answer:

I’ve written before about problems with digging, and the root of the problem is usually boredom or pent up energy. In a way you are lucky to know the root of this new bad habit — your dog needs to go on walks again. I have five steps to taking control of your walks.

  1. While you are out for a walk with your dog and he begins pulling on his leash, simply stop. Become immovable until he stops pulling and allows some slack in the leash.
  2. The minute there is slack in the leash, praise your dog and begin walking again.
  3. Continue your walk until the dog starts pulling again, stop dead in your tracks once again. Remain neutral. Wait for slack, praise.
  4. Sometimes, if you simply stop, change your direction and start walking, your dog will have to stop pulling and try to catch up with you going in the other direction. This strategy will also teach your dog to pay attention to you when you walk.
  5. Do not let your dog go sniff and investigate whatever he wants. You must control the walk.

Keep practicing and you should see an improvement. Daily, structured walks can’t be neglected, as you learned when your dog took up digging.

(C) Jim Burwell 2010