Dog Exercise

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How to Stop Your Dog Pulling On the Leash

By: | Updated: October 26, 2019

Leash pulling is a huge but common problem for dog owners. Not only is pulling on the leash uncomfortable for you, but also for your dog.

Humans and dogs aren’t compatible walking partners. A dog’s natural and comfortable walking pace is much faster than ours. During a walk, a dog’s primary concern is to run and explore the environment. Having to walk beside a person’s side requires a level of impulse control. As you can imagine, this can be difficult for some dogs to develop.

Training your dog on how to walk or run on a leash may be the most difficult behavior for you to teach and for most dogs to learn. But by using positivity and encouragement, a stroll will become enjoyable for everyone. With all your help and encouragement, these dogs can change the habit of a lifetime.

Read more to find out how to stop your dog pulling on the leash.

Why do dogs pull on the leash?

Picture of a dog running in mid-air.

Pixabay

Most dogs that pull on the leash have learned to do so overtime. The longer dogs have been pulling, the more difficult it becomes for them to change. Pulling on the leash is both uncomfortable for you and your dog. So it’s important to understand why they may be doing this.

There are three main reasons for why a dog pulls on the leash:

  • Excitement. Dogs love being outside. The walk is a thrilling and exciting part of their day. They know they’re on the way to their favourite place, so the desire to get there as quick as possible is strong! This explains why there’s no pulling on the way home.
  • Fear. Your dog pulls on the way back from the park, because they want to get back to the safety of the home. This type of puller normally appears frightened of traffic noise, other people or dogs. You can teach your dog to be comfortable with other dogs passing by using positive reinforcement techniques. Alternatively, bring your dog’s beloved toy on the walk for the dog to carry in their mouth. This will often be comforting, helping your pooch feel comfortable in the environment.
  • Because they can. Whenever your pooch has pulled, you’ve let them get to where they want to go. Your dog has consequently learned that it’s acceptable to pull.
If you suspect your dog has been pulling for a long time, use a new approach. You can start by introducing an alternative leash and collar.

How to stop your dog pulling on the leash

Picture of a dog being fed a treat.

Unsplash

Follow these steps to stop your dog pulling on a leash attached to a collar, harness or headcollar:

  1. Begin training when your dog is a little hungry.
  2. Take your pup in the garden and attempt to wear them out. A somewhat less energised dog will help prepare them to respond better to you.
  3. Fill your treat bag with yummy food. Make sure you have your dog’s favourites.
  4. Get your training leash ready. Ask your dog to sit calmly before attaching the leash.
  5. Reward calm behavior. You want to prevent teaching your dog to become overly excited every time you set out for a walk.
  6. If your dog becomes overly excited, remove the leash from view and walk away. Wait a few moments before coming back and trying again. Once the leash is successfully on, it’s time to begin walking. Initially, you preferably want to go somewhere quiet and not too distracting.
  7. Walk slowly. Encourage your pooch to walk on a loose leash by rewarding them with food and praising them with enthusiasm.

If your dog pulls ahead, stop. Tempt them back to your side with a piece of food. When they do this, feed and praise them again. You can also encourage your dog to follow you with an excited tone to get their attention.

This is a very simple and easy technique to use. If your dog walks on a loose leash, they get well rewarded and get to continue their journey. Your pooch will soon learn that pulling will stop the rewards and delay the walk.

Never forget to praise for compliance. The better you make your pooch feel while walking next to you, the more they will decide to do so!

What equipment can I use to stop pulling?

Treats, harnesses, headcollars and backpacks are commonly used tools to encourage a dog to stop pulling. The most effective way to stop your dog pulling on the leash is by investing in one of the best no pull dog harnesses. These products are specifically designed with the puller in mind.

Treats

  • Always have them during walks. Make sure you don’t run out before completing your walk, so be generous with the amount you carry. Fill your pockets!
  • A worthy reward for enduring hardship. Habits are difficult to change unless there is a valuable incentive!
  • Have the influence to help improve your dog’s behavior
  • Best way to encourage dogs to repeat desirable actions
  • Super helpful for distracting your pooch away from things that trigger inappropriate behavior
  • Use stimulating treats that your dog will work for in any situation

No Pull Chest-led Harness

  • Takes pressure off the neck by circulating the pressure more evenly around the body
  • If your dog pulls, the harness will turn their body around rather than allowing them to proceed forward
  • Watch the video below for guidance on where to place your leash on a chest-led harness.

Headcollars

  • For super strength dogs
  • For dogs who may be reactive during walks, particularly if there is a risk of you being pulled over
  • Great tool for teaching your pooch to walk on a loose leash
  • Can save you time if you don’t have the time to train properly
  • Worn on the dog’s face where the point of contact is under the chin. This position allows you to have more control on the leash
  • As with all dog training equipment, it must be introduced to your dog in the correct way in combination with the correct technique. If you don’t do this, you run a high risk of your dog hating having to wear a headcollar. Instead of having fun, your dog is likely to feel distressed and aggravated
  • Will initially feel odd for dogs that have never worn a headcollar. Suddenly there is something positioned over the bridge of the nose. Most pooches will try to remove this by rubbing their faces on the ground or pawing at it
  • Not a long-term solution to leash pulling.

How long does it take to train my dog to stop pulling on the lead?

As with all dog training, it doesn’t happen straightaway. All dogs are different. Leash pulling may stop almost immediately. But it may take weeks, or even months.

The more you persist, the faster your pooch will learn.

Final Thoughts

Picture of a happy dog on a leash.

Unsplash

As a positive, enthusiastic and patient dog lover, you can certainly teach your pooch to stop pulling on the leash. With the help of the right techniques and equipment, there is nothing stopping you!

Author:

serena law Serena is the content publisher for Daydreamdog and a life long dog lover. Between walking them, writing about them and spending too much time liking pictures of them on Instagram, her day literally revolves around dogs! If you want to learn more about Serena click here.