#1 The first reason dogs pull on the leash is because dogs tend to repeat actions that reward them. We all know that it’s natural for them to run and jump when they are excited and sometimes pull hard when they want to smell another dog. if they are rewarded (or at least what appears to be a reward to them), they will be encouraged to repeat the activity.
In some ways it is similar to parenting a small child. The child learns early on that crying will get them attention and hopefully what they want. If they are hungry, they cry until they are fed.
Now somewhere around their “terrible twos” they will start throwing temper tantrums to get what they want. If the parent gives in to them, the child has learned how to manipulate the parent into getting what they want. Especially if the parents do not oblige quickly. So they repeat the behavior, the temper tantrum, until they get what they want.
So why do dogs pull on the leash? It is likely they have learned to repeat this behavior because it got them what they wanted. They were rewarded and they will continue the behavior to get the reward, whatever it may be. It is a subconscious behavior and like with the child, best to handle it correctly from the beginning.
#2 The second reason dogs pull on the leash is because they are just naturally faster than we are. They love to go on walks, and they are excited, so they want to go fast. They want to check out all the new smells, see all the new things to see and hear new sounds. They want to explore the neighborhood. And we just don’t move as fast as they can.
Often, we come home tired from work and don’t want to move too fast. Even if it’s first thing in the morning, we just aren’t going to want to move as fast as a dog can move. And on top of that we tend to let other things distract us. Our cell phones with calls and texts or checking out social media while we are walking. All this takes your attention away from your dog and the dog doesn’t get any interaction or praising – which they love! When considering this point alone is it any wonder why dogs pull on the leash?