TIP #1: HARNESS YOUR DOG'S PULLING
Front clip harnesses do a good job of reducing pulling. Like any tool, these harnesses do not teach your dog how to walk nicely, but they do help you control him while you practice. Try any one of the top-rated front clip/no-pull harnesses as reviewed by Whole Dog Journal.
TIP #2: HOW YOU CAN SPEAK DOG TOO
As we wrote last week, communicating with your dog is a two-way street. Here are more tips to enhance your relationship and your training.
4. Don't hover. Leaning over a dog can cause the dog to become afraid and possibly defensive. When we bend over dogs to pet them or to cuddle them, we are unwittingly offering a posture of threat and intimidation.
5. Pet appropriately. Approaching dogs by petting them on the head is ill-advised. Envision the interaction from the dog's point of view; a palm approaching from above can be alarming. It's not that dogs should never be petted on top of the head, but that head-petting (or petting over the dog's shoulders, back, or rump) should not be used as an initial approach. It is wiser to make a fist, hold it under the dog's nose is to allow her to sniff, then pet the dog on the chest, moving gradually to the sides of the face and other body parts, assuming the dog is comfortable. Likewise, a hand moving in quickly to grab for a dog's collar is more potentially fear-inducing than a hand moving slowly to a dog's chest, scratching it, then moving up to take hold of the collar.
6. Stoop, don't swoop. Small dogs in particular are often swooped down upon when people want to pick them up. Fast, direct, overhead movements are much more frightening than slow, indirect ones. To lift a small dog, crouch down, pet the dog for a moment, then gently slip your hands under her belly and chest, and lift.
7. Watch your smile. While humans interpret a smile as friendly, a dog might not be as fond of seeing your pearly whites. A show of teeth is, after all, a threat in the animal kingdom. Smile at dogs with a closed mouth.
- Whole Dog Journal
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, IAABC-ADT, FFCP, CTDI