Dogs pulling on the lead is always a bone of contention for most dog owners, especially when the dog is as powerful as a Staffy. Many’s the time I have been out and about and witnessed a dog walking the owner. I’d like to bet that particular owner is frustrated beyond belief when they go for a walk. They might also need some physio for their shoulder joint.
It’s essential to point this out, but Staffies don’t pull on the lead because they want to be the Alpha or the pack leader; that’s such old-school thinking, and it does a massive amount of damage between the dog’s and their human relationship.
Why Do Staffies Pull on the Lead?
Staffies love the outside and exercise the same as any dog, and they’re excited. Even though they might have nowhere, in particular, to get to, they still want to get there as fast as they can. It’s also fair to say a dog’s natural walking pace is so much quicker than the average human; Staffies do have four legs.
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Staffies, in general, don’t quite have a handle on impulse control. When they are excited and want to be off sniffing, exploring, or just generally enjoying having a romp around, they probably cannot comprehend why they need to walk calmly by their owner’s side.
However, as a Staffy owner, that’s not what you want; you need them to be well-behaved and obedient. This is where training your Staffy to stop pulling on the lead is vitally important.
How to Stop a Staffy from Pulling on the Lead
There are several steps you can take that will help teach your Staffy not to pull on the lead:
- Socialisation will help prevent behavioural issues and help your Staffy maintain a well-balanced personality, reducing the risk of any aggressive tendencies to strange dogs.
Try to begin socialisation training between eight and sixteen weeks. Once your Staffy has all of his vaccinations and gets the vet’s all-clear, start introducing your dog to other animals, strangers, different sights, and sounds. A puppy training class is a perfect way to begin. Before your Staffy is allowed out, you should still introduce them to as many family members, friends, and children as possible.
- Buy a front attachment harness and fasten the lead to the ‘D’ ring positioned at the front of the harness. This is an excellent training aid for lead walking because when your Staffy pulls the harness turns the dog’s body to the side rather than the dog being able to pull in a forward direction.
- When dogs pull, they are rewarded by the owner allowing the dog to go where they want. So you must not let this happen. Stop instantly your Staffy pulls and wait for the lead to go loose. Don’t budge until your Staffy stops pulling. Then continue on your walk. You’ll have to resign yourself to doing this several times on a walk.
- Should you find this doesn’t have any effect on your Staffy, and they are off like a train again, say something like, “Come on,” and turn around and walk in the opposite direction. Don’t yank or drag your Staffy around in the opposite direction; encourage them to follow you by your body language and a positive or excited tone in your voice. In the beginning, this will take many turns until your Staffy gets the message.
- Reward your Staffy with their favourite treat when they walk calmly alongside you.
How to Train a Staffy to Walk on a Lead
Once your Staffy is listening, now is the time to teach the dog how to walk on a lead. This will require you to be unpredictable on your walks together. Taking the same routes doesn’t prove your Staffy is listening.
So, mix up your routes, take a different direction, turn down a street you wouldn’t usually go down. Reverse your direction suddenly when your Staffy isn’t expecting it. Even sometimes walking around in a circle, anything that throws your Staffy off-balance, you will quickly find out if your dog is listening to you or not. Remember to reward your Staffy with a nice treat when they remain calm and by your side.
Consistency, time, and patience are prerequisites to stop a Staffy from pulling on the lead. If you feel a little self-conscious trying to teach your Staffy in public, start in your backyard or somewhere quiet where there are fewer people and distractions for your Staffy.