Dealing with your dog pulling on their leash during a dog walk can be frustrating. As dog owners, it's not easy when your sweet, playful puppy suddenly starts lunging and pulling for no apparent reason.
But there are plenty of reasons why your dog might be pulling on the leash: maybe they’re excited to get out of the house on their walk, or maybe they see other dogs across the street and want to play.
However it happens, leash pulling can cause injuries to your dog’s neck over the long term, so it’s best to train them to stop as early as you can. Luckily, we know how to stop a dog from pulling on their leash. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Keep a Loose Leash
Most dogs pull on their leash when they feel too restricted by their dog walkers holding the leash too tight. The first thing to try is loose leash walking. Keep your dog's leash relaxed when you are standing still, walking, turning, going up or down stairs, and so on. If you're not sure what this looks like, practice with a friend who has a dog and see how they handle their leashes.
A loose leash walk means that he doesn't pull when you walk together because he has more space to explore if he wants to sniff something out slightly ahead of you.
Don’t Give Your Dog Attention When They Pull
When your dog is pulling on a leash, never give them the attention they are seeking. It's important to be consistent with this principle so that your dogs learn that pulling will not get them what they want from you.
If you allow them to believe that their behavior is acceptable, it won't be long before it becomes a habit! Instead of rewarding their bad behavior of pulling on their leash by giving them attention, try positive reinforcement by praising or rewarding them when they don’t pull instead.
Pick The Right Leash and Collar For Your Pup
It’s important to determine which is the right leash and collar for your dog so that you are both comfortable during your walks.
A dog pulling on their leash can cause serious injury to him or her. A no pull harness is a great option to prevent neck injury to your dog. A no pull harness goes around the dog's upper torso and shoulder joints, making it difficult for dogs to pull on their leash. Harnesses can be a bit uncomfortable for your pet, though, so it’s worth figuring out which option works best for you both.
You may also want to try a head collar. Head collars can improve a dog's tendency to pull because it places a little pressure on pain-free points of the head and face instead of the dog's neck. Many dogs have learned to stop pulling using this type of collar.
There are also many types of leashes, and you should always get the size that is best for your dog. Larger breeds require a wider leash, whereas smaller breeds can usually get by with a thinner one. Many pet parents like the retractable leash for its convenience of shortening or extending the leash as needed. However, many pet trainers advise against using them since retractable leashes may actually encourage leash pulling in some cases. The bottom line is to figure out what’s comfortable and effective for you both.
Train Your Dog to Heel
To make your dog more focused on you, start by teaching them the basic heel command. This is a command that tells your dog to walk at your side and not ahead of you. Start training in a quiet place with no distractions.
First, take a few treats from your pocket and hold them up so that your dog sees them but does not get one until they obey the command. Then say "heel" as you start walking forward slowly for a few steps (or about 5 seconds). If they stay focused on their treat instead of pulling ahead, reward them with one of their treats when they reach this point. After giving him/her the treat, go back to where you started and repeat this process until your dog understands what “heel” means without needing any rewards after each step!
If he pulls ahead or stops walking altogether, stand still until he comes back toward wherever his front paws are pointing towards (if one paw points outwards then move forward slightly so that all four paws are now pointing forward).
If you are still having difficulties, you can always hire a certified professional dog trainer to help you through the early stages.
Stop and Stand Still if Your Dog Pulls Ahead
If your dog pulls on their leash ahead of you, stop and stand still. Don’t pull him back, as this will teach him to pull harder next time. Instead, keep his attention by calling his name or telling him “good boy” whenever he stops pulling ahead. Wait for your dog to come to you before proceeding down the path again. If he doesn’t stop pulling, walk away from him in the other direction until he comes back to heel position.
Use Treats as Rewards for Good Behavior
Positive reinforcement is one of the best training methods for teaching your dog good leash manners. Treats are a great way to reward dogs when they walk nicely, but you have to do it right. If your dog comes when called or decides to walk calmly next to you, give the treat immediately after they come. Don't wait until later and don't give treats every time they come, because this will reinforce the bad habit of leash pulling.
There’s a fine line between a reward and a bribe! When dog training, always reward them with treats when they do well and never offer them just because you want them to do something. Treats should only be given when the behavior is done exactly right so that it's clear what is being rewarded.
Stay Calm and Composed
With your dog pulling on the leash, it can be frustrating, but it's important to stay calm, no matter what. If you get frustrated and angry, you might even say or do things that are counterproductive.
Don't yell at him or yank on the leash. Don't let the dog pull you around. And above all else: don't give up if the results aren't immediate!
We hope that this guide has helped you understand how to stop your dog pulling on their leash. No matter how frustrated you are, stay calm and composed when training your pup not to pull on his leash. When he does something wrong, take a deep breath and let it go before trying again.
What's important is that your dog learns not to pull on his leash so you both can enjoy a nice walk without hurting the dog's neck, but also making sure that your dog is not getting into anything he's not supposed to. For more tips to stop leash pulling, or anything dog related, or simply to check out some really stylish acrylic feeders, gates, playpens, and more, check out ShopHiddin.com.