Cocker Spaniel Leash Training - How to Stop the Pulling

Walking your Cocker Spaniel should be an enjoyable experience for you and the pup. However, sometimes you find yourself in an embarrassing situation by your dog pulling you uncontrollably down the street or through the park. We all have been there. While you struggle to maintain your arm in your socket you begin yelling at the dog which only makes matters worst, not to mention making us look foolish. This article will provide you with solutions to stop the pulling by gaining control of your Cocker Spaniel. Leash training is easier than you think.

Taking control inside your house before taking your Cocker Spaniel for walk is critical to changing the pulling behavior. Let’s think about this for a minute as this is the area that most people fail to understand and struggle with correcting leash pulling. Here are two scenarios that will help to understand the leash pulling behavior.

The Leash Puller

Most people get their dogs all excited before going for a walk. They call the pup and use words in an excited tone of voice such as “let’s go for a walk” or “who wants to walk” or something similar. You attach the leash on the dog collar and before the door even opens the dog is jumping, attempting to chew the leash and maybe doing back flips. The pup is in high gear and ready to bolt at the first chance he gets. In the process the dog ends up taking the embarrassed owner for a walk stopping and turning as he pleases.

The Walker

In this case the owner calls the pup and to attach the leash to the collar and instructs the dog to sit before opening the door. The owner ensures that the dog is calm, opens the door and makes the exit first with the dog behind on a short leash. The dog takes its rightful position next to the owner and the walk is off on the right note. No pulling.

The difference between the two examples above is that the dogs are doing what they have been set up for. One owner is in control the other is not. In the first case the dog is all excited rearing to go. In the second example the dog is following the owners command. This is only possible because the owner has set the ground rules and is seen as the pack leader by the dog. The dog has confidence in the owner.

How to Correct and Stop the Pulling

It starts in the house. If your dog is all excited and acting out of control the best thing to do is stop and stand still or turn your back on the dog and simply walk away until the dog has calmed down. Leave the leash attached if you got that far. What you want to do is calm your dog down so that he will listen to you and let him know that the behavior is unacceptable. If the dog does not calm down then abandon the walk until does. This will be an important lesson to teach your dog and should only take a couple of times before the dog gets the message. What you want to do is to take control of the situation and have the dog understand that you are in charge.

Once the dog has calmed down, call the dog to the door (if he isn’t there already) and command him to sit or lay down. Grab the leash and open the door slowly and see what the dog’s reaction is. If he starts getting crazy again, repeat the process. You should be able to open the door without your dog moving until he receives your command. Once this behavior is instilled you’ll be able to command the dog to sit while the door is open. He should be looking at you for your next command.

Walking on the Leash

Now that we have started the walk on the right foot it is time to train while walking. If your dog starts to pull on the leash stop and pull the leash up and  towards you. This next point is very important to understand in order to continue your success. The walk should only continue when there is sufficient slack in the leash. If your dog is giving you a little tension with the leash then a little pull to regain the slack will do. If you don’t get the slack, stop the walk until you do. What you are teaching your dog here is that he is allowed to continue walking as long as there is no pulling. This will take a few times but you can practice this in your back yard or even inside the house. Hold the leash and walk around stopping and turning as you please. The object here is to teach the dog not to pull and stay by your side. Snall corrections by pulling the leash up and towards you is all that is needed to get the dog to focus on you.

Leash training puppies may be a little easier. It’s a good idea to start  early. Many older dogs have been successfully retrained as well. Some take a little longer to break a bad habit, but it can be done.

To instill the proper behavior a little treat may be in order. Never reward a dog to stop a bad behavior. This only works against you as you are only associating the treat with what the dog was doing. Training your Cocker Spaniel should be fun for the both of you. Never hit or punish the dog as it will only complicate the training. The secret to leash training is to be persistent and consistent. Let your dog know that you are in charge and you will see results rather quickly.

One last tip, place the collar from the dog leash just below the dogs ears high on the neck. This will make it easier for you to control your dog by pulling up on the leash to correct your pup.