Dog Exercise

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Why do Dogs Pull on the Leash

By: | Updated: September 3, 2020

Nothing quite screams “struggling dog owner” like seeing someone being dragged down the street by a dog that’s decided it’s time to take it’s human for a walk. If you’ve made it this far you’re probably wondering; why do dogs pull on the leash? Are our dogs really trying to assert their dominance or are they just overly excited for their walk? There’s so many questions and luckily you’re about to find out all the answers! Let’s jump right in.

Why do Dogs Pull on the Leash?

Dogs pull on their leash because it gets them where they need to go. Pulling can often occur because a dog hasn’t been trained to obediently walk side by side with their owner. Dogs can also pull on their leash out of pure excitement. When they’ve been at home all day waiting for their walk and now the time has come, they’re full of energy. Unfortunately, some dog’s don’t get the memo that leashes are supposed keep them under control. Dog’s can also pull on their leash because of nerves and anxiety. For example, they may be startled from an encounter with another dog and be pulling to try and get away from the situation.

Pulling because they can

As Dogstrust mentioned, dogs learn that pulling allows them to move forwards more quickly. For those of you who let your dog get away with a little too much, this point might hit home. If your dog has identified your weak spot for it, chances are that it will try to get away with anything, including yanking you along by it’s leash.

Pulling because of excitement

If you think your dog’s pulling because of excitement, it can prove challenging to train the habit away. Not to mention, who are you to not get your dog hyped for it’s favourite time of the day? That said if your dog is a little excitable, you might want to go down the route of investing in equipment such as training aids to discourage pulling.

Pulling out of fear

If your dog only pulls when it’s nervous or scared (perhaps of another dog or people) it can be really difficult to prevent the pulling. After all, your dogs in a situation it doesn’t like and wants to get away from it as quickly as possible. The constraint of a leash around it’s neck may even add to the anxiety and encourages its pulling. Nobody likes to see their dog scared and there’s no need to get mad at it as it’s probably under enough distress.

How to Stop Your Dog Pulling on the Leash

We’ve got an entire article dedicated to stopping your dog pulling on the leash and we also recommend reading this excellent article from PetMD.

Here’s a couple of ways you can stop your dog pulling on its leash;


You should spend time training your dog to stop pulling on the leash (see our article above for tips on this). Proper training will help you get rid of the problem without having to spend any money on specialist equipment to discourage your dog from pulling.

Use Equipment

If you’ve gone down the training route and are still having trouble with your dog tugging on it’s leash then it can be worth investing in some equipment to help you out. You specialist harnesses which are designed to deter your dog from pulling and many owners find these works wonderfully according to plenty of dog owners. We’ve written a guide on these harnesses and rounded up some of our favorite no-pull dog harnesses.

Can Dog Pulling be Dangerous?

A dog pulling on the leash can be dangerous for both of you.

If your dog only has a leash rather than a harness, lots of pressure can amount around the throat.

This is a very sensitive area and if you’ve got a heavy puller using a neck leash it’s a wise idea to switch to a harness sooner rather than later. A dog’s pulling can also be harmful to you as an owner as an unexpected yank could easily cause someone to topple over and hurt themselves,


You now know all about the reasons dogs pull on the leash, how you can stop them and the dangers to your dog and yourself if it’s an aggressive puller. Hopefully you’re ready to make the necessary changes and make walk time a bit more enjoyable for both of you!

About the Author:

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.