My Dog Goes Crazy On Walks. What Can I Do?

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Question submitted by Jenny-Lee
Hi, I have a four-year-old Yorksire Terrier. She is usually a good disciplined dog and she listens to me when I talk, but when we go for walks, she goes mad. She is a small dog but she can sure pull very hard on her harness. She barks at everyone (and their dogs) and even cars that pass us. I have tried talking to her and pulling her back to make her sit, but as soon as we start walking she will pull as hard as she can on the harness. This usually then makes her cough but she just carries on. She also likes one specific house were she and the other dog barks at each other, like she wants to fight with him. We don’t regularly go walking because I study away from home and my father doesn’t take her out for walks, but we do have a really big yard for her to run in. She also has toys but rarely plays with them. We don’t own other dogs and she hasn’t been to discipline school. I would really like to go out and enjoy the walks and not just fight against my dog the whole way.
What are your suggestions?
Terry’s Answer:
It would be best if you could take your dog to a basic obedience class. You will learn in that class how to keep your Yorkie’s attention. Until then, start by taking her out on the leash in the back yard – like you are going for a walk. Work on keeping her attention while walking on the leash. Change directions several times while walking so she can’t determine where you are going, and must pay attention to you in order to keep up. I am a little confused when you say that she pulls on the harness, but it makes her cough. Harnesses do not go around the throat, so that would not be the source of the cough. Once you have her paying more attention to you, go into the front yard and do the same thing so she gets used to paying attention to you no matter where you are (there will be more distraction in the front yard – that’s why starting in the back yard first should show success).
Terry Meeks is a dog trainer, APDT Member an CGC Evaluator in Pinellas County, Florida.  Find Four on the Floor Dog Training at and on Facebook.

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