Round the Clock for Timely Leash Connection

When our dogs pull forward on leash we often trigger them to pull even harder because we pull back on the leash. This oppositional response is natural with vertebrates, but is no fun at either end of the leash. We humans begin to think (incorrectly) that our dogs are “stubborn”, our dogs are thinking that we are annoying boat anchors, and everybody gets cranky.

Try these ” ‘Round the Clock” techniques to support a happier connection as you and your dog explore your world together.

  • Imagine that your dog is always walking towards 12 o’clock.
  • When you find yourself at 6 o’clock with your dog pulling forward, walk around the numbers of the clock to either 3 or 9, neither adding to nor releasing the pressure your dog has put on the leash.
  • Moving to your dog’s side in this way automatically releases the forward pressure, so your dog has to rebalance.
  • At this point your dog is very likely to look back to you.
  • Take this opportunity, however fleeting, to invite your dog to move with you.

Flyer on 'Round the Clock technique.

This approach works well if you have a little elbow room, and it doesn’t take much. It’s also effective for staying in one another’s awareness when you and your dog are wandering open fields on a long line.

The fabulous artist, Lili Chin, has created a flyer for us illustrating this approach in bigger spaces, and when space is tight.