Behavior Tip of the Month
By Carole Beck Schatz

Pullin' Teenager

Are you tired of your teenage or older dog pulling you down the street?

John Rogerson, internationally known trainer and behaviorist, has a new technique for teaching dogs not to pull. It was introduced at his latest trainer seminar last May 2003.

His new technique is based on the scientific principle of Thigmotaxis. Simply put, this means that dogs have an oppositional reflex; if you pull them in one direction, they will pull even harder in the opposite direction. That's why jerking a dog doesn't work very well. If we jerk a pulling dog back to us, they will pull forward with all their strength.

John Rogerson uses the principle of Thigmotaxis to our advantage. He suggests trying the following steps:

1.   When your dog pulls, step up along side him and grasp the leash down by the collar.  
2.   Propel the dog forward gently and say sweetly, "good dog". He will naturally follow the oppositional reflex and pull backward. Thus he will be right by your side, just where you want him.
3.   Turn completely around following step 2. As you propel him forward, be gentle and sweet talk him. This shouldn't be a punishment.
4.   Do step 3 again. This should take you back to your original direction.

       Follow these steps EVERY time your dog pulls. NEVER let him pull you or he will revert back to his pulling behavior.
I would add some additional steps:

1.   Carry high level treats such as tiny pieces of hot dog.
2.   When your dog is NOT pulling, say "Yes" in a high pitched tone of voice and give him a treat.
3.   Treat him every time there is slack in the leash.
4.   Say "OK" at times and release your dog so he can sniff and be a dog. After all, he needs to read the newspaper too. Dogs do this through sniffing. A walk should be fun for both of you.

       Loose leash walking is my idea of the perfect walk with your dog. Heeling 1/2 inch from your left foot is necessary for competition obedience at a dog show. However, it is not fun for your dog when you're out for that daily stroll.

If you want even more help, look on the web for the Comfort Trainer by Miriam Fields. It's comfortable for the dog and will give you power steering. You can find and order the Comfort Trainer at or through Alternatively, you can call Miriam Fields at 540-659-8858 and order directly by phone. She also has a book, "Dog Training with a Head Halter" that could be very helpful. You can buy it through her or at

Good luck and thanks for being such a wonderful friend to your fur-person,


Carole Schatz, CPDT Certified Pet Dog Trainer
Best Friend Behavior Counseling and Training
San Diego, Ca.
619-460-6888 and click on "Behavior Tips"

"Positively teaching pets and their people since 1977"

Do you have a question for Carole? You can reach her at this email address -      Perhaps she will use it in an upcoming article on this Web site.

The information contained on this site is in no way intended to replace that of proper veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment.
It is meant to provide resource, so that we can better understand canine health related issues.

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