Dogs communicate through nonverbal signals. Have you ever had your dog charge through a doorway in front of you half knocking you over in their excitement to get where they want to be, such as a walk or to greet a visitor?
When your dog makes the choice to “pull ahead” while on leash, or charge through doors in front of you, he is basically saying he doesn't view you as his leader and is showing you disrespect.
BEGINNING YOUR WALK First, prepare your body language and nonverbal signals. Keep your shoulders back and your head high. Keep your voice FIRM and project your confidence. Remember YOU are the Leader.
Make sure your dog's collar is on properly in the “P” shape. Instruct your dog to “heel” on your left side and move forward beginning with your left foot. He should be directly beside you with his head in close alignment with your hip, not behind or in front of you. If he pulls behind, that still means he is tying to avoid being “in the area of control” as well.
Verbally encourage him if he responds well to you with a “good heel”. Give him a correction with the leash and a verbal correction such as “no” or “uh uh” if he tries to move ahead or behind you.
We often hear our clients say, “I think my dog is dumb, he just doesn't seem to “get it!” The truth is, these dogs DO get it, and they are smart enough to figure out that they can control you. They sense hesitation, uncertainty and lack of consistency and are simply taking advantage of the situation. NO “DUMMIES!”
SHOWING RESPECT AT THE DOOR When you come to a door, instruct your dog to “sit” beside you. When he holds his sit, and maintains his self-control, then you c an instruct him to “heel” again and walk through the doorway. Practice this until he shows you respect by allowing you to walk through and staying directly at your side and not trying to “forge ahead” of you.
When guests come to visit, the same rules of respect apply. Instruct your dog to “sit and stay.” Use your body language to enforce your control. “Step into” your dog if you observe him thinking about breaking his sit,, and tell him “no”. Stay consistent with your instructions each time, and let your dog know you are his leader! Remember a leader leads, and a follower follows…..which do you want your dog to be?