English Springer Spaniels need plenty of physical, emotional, and mental stimulation and interactions, and a walk is a perfect activity to meet these needs. However, a leash can be restrictive at times, leading to your pup pulling on the lead.
Many English Springer Spaniels pull on the lead when taking walks. These dogs are known for their relentless dispositions, including a strong sense of smell and endless energy, which may make them overly excited on walks.
The rest of the article will explain a few topics related to this question, including why English Springer Spaniels pull on leads? Why is it dangerous to them? And what tips you can consider to train and control the pulling effectively.
Why Do English Springer Spaniels Pull on the Lead?
If you think for a second, English Springer Spaniels are known for their agile behavior, vibrant energy, and keen sense of smell. Thus, it’s no surprise that your dog may be excited to sniff for new smells while on walks.
English Springer Spaniels pull on the lead when they are excited by factors in the environment. Combined with other distractions, such as running after birds, their keen focus on looking for different scents may make your dog pull on the lead suddenly.
Unless you properly train your Spaniel on leashes, it may irritate you as the owner or become dangerous to them, as it puts significant pressure on their windpipe.
Other Reasons Your English Springer Pulls on the Lead
Your English Springer Spaniel may pull on the lead because you inadvertently reward him for the behavior. For example, the dog may know that if they drag you to the park, you will eventually remove the lead and let him play with the other dogs. Thus, he will pull on the lead to get to the park faster.
Your dog may also yank on the lead if he feels uncomfortable. You may have unknowingly tightened the collar, causing him to pull the lead to relieve the pressure.
Why Is It Dangerous for Dogs To Pull on the Lead?
It is dangerous for dogs to pull on the lead because the constant pressure exerted by the collar and leash can cause inflammation to the dog’s neck. Repetitive pulling on the lead may harm the dog’s windpipe and thyroid gland.
Excessive Lead Pulling Can Cause Hypothyroidism
In turn, the dog’s body may try to rid itself of the inflamed cells, translating to the production of low thyroid hormone levels, ultimately causing hypothyroidism. A dog with this condition may exhibit fur loss, weight gain, decreased appetite, skin issues, muscle loss, reduced activity, slowed heart rates, and ear infections with this condition.
If this happens, you should take your Springer Spaniel to a veterinarian. The doctor may conduct blood tests and treat the condition with oral drugs such as levothyroxine.
Lead Pulling Can Put You at Risk
Additionally, if your Springer Spaniel is distracted and follows the distractive scents and smells, their continued pulling on the lead may put you at risk.
Your dog may pull you into oncoming traffic, causing accidents. The dog may also drag you through bushes or cause you to trip and fall on rocky areas, which can result in injury.
While pulling, they can also yank the lead from your hands hard enough to cause palm tissue damage. Thus, training your dog to get used to leashes is crucial.
How To Lead Train Your English Springer Spaniel
Getting your English Springer Spaniel to stop pulling can be a complex process that requires patience, time, and consistency. Fortunately, training these breeds is fairly easy because they are bright and learn quickly.
Introduce the Lead Early On
Familiarize your English Springer Spaniel with the collar and lead while he is young. Make sure you introduce them to their walking gear as soon as possible to mitigate resistance in the future.
A simple trick entails using a comfortable lead that doesn’t injure your dog. I never used a headcollar so I asked my vet and they use the Goodboy (available on Amazon.com) brand because of the extra padding it has on the snout.
Keep Your English Springer Spaniel Calm
Ensure you do not shout or get angry enough to strike him. A stressful training session may increase the risk of your Springer getting scared, fearful, or becoming pushy and irritating.
As such, you should consider using short and calm commands. Suppose your Spaniel is running around creating havoc at home or in the park; you can express your unhappiness with sharp but calm commands such as, ‘no,’ ‘stop,’ ‘sit-stay,’ and ‘leave it.’
These phrases will let you make your point without having to punish your pet. As soon as they follow your commands and behave correctly, ensure you praise them and show affection.
Train Your Pet To Associate the Lead With Happy Moments
As mentioned earlier, training your dogs to associate positive moments with the lead is crucial. Thus, you should introduce a reward system. For example, suppose your English Spaniel starts pulling, and you use a specific command on him, such as “come” or “stop.” If the dog follows it, reward them with a treat. I found these treats by Wellness Natural (available on Amazon.com) and my dogs love them.
If you command them and present them the treat, you lure them to perform the activity and associate doing the right thing with something good.
Additionally, check out my article – How To Lead Train a Springer Spaniel: The Complete Guide which will provide more details on how to lead train your Springer Spaniel.
Tips To Stop Lead Pulling
Pet owners often have their own tactics to stop their dogs from pulling the lead. These tricks vary from one pet to another, depending on the environment and owner. Below I have outlined some essential tips that apply to most English Springer Spaniels.
Be Unpredictable on Walks
If you are taking a walk and your Spaniel starts pulling on the leash, consider pivoting and walking in the opposite direction. Repeat this every time he pulls on the lead. Shifting and walking in a different direction may throw him off his game and help him avoid collar tugging.
Use the Right Dog-Walking Gear
The right gear can make a huge difference when walking your English Springer Spaniel. If yours is always pulling on the lead, it is high time that you invest in well-suited H-style or Y-style harnesses. These chest-led harnesses are even more important than your choice of the leash. They are effective because they allow you to clip the leash or lead on the dog’s chest instead of the collar around his neck.
For instance, the Rabbitgoo Dog Harness (available on Amazon.com) is a suitable H-style harness. It is handy and easy to remove, does not cause chafing, and allows free movement of the dog’s shoulder joints.
I highly recommend picking up this online based training program that will walk you through the steps to train your dog. At just $47, you get a structured and detailed training program from a professional trainer for just a fraction of the cost of a local trainer. This program will make training your Springer Spaniel to walk on a leash so much easier.
As an English Springer Spaniel owner, it’s important to understand that training is not always a simple process. The reality is that consistency is vital in the training process, and it may take a while.
To control your dog from pulling on the lead, consider using a reward system. It’s also essential that you remain calm while training the dog and use the right dog-walking gear.
You can try different training aids and reinforcement techniques to find what works best for your dog. Pick a specific training method and stick to it for optimal lead pulling progress.