How To Make Dog Stop Pulling Leash
Edward R. Forte
November 24, 2021
Collars, Leashes, And Harnesses
Many dogs will naturally “lean in” when they feel pressure on their collars and strain forward.All dogs need plenty of social, mental, and physical stimulation every day.Regular leash walks may help with mental and social stimulation, but they rarely truly satisfy a dog’s need for physical exercise.Unstructured exploration and low-stress walks in a quiet location are an important part of wellness for most dogs.Here are a couple of items to consider before getting started:.Has my dog had a vigorous exercise or play session today?Has my dog had an opportunity to sniff, explore, and interact with the environment today?It should be wide enough that even if the dog pulls, you will not have a friction burn on your hands, but narrow enough that it is comfortably light weight for the dog to wear.Avoid the use of retractable leashes; these can result in serious friction burns to both people and animals.Some dogs will not stop pulling until the pain is quite severe.Some training collars do not have a limit on how tightly they close, putting the dog at risk for strangulation if entangled.Harnesses should only be worn when the dog is on a leash.Some deep chested dogs, like Greyhounds, may need a “Double-H” harness for safety.Dogs are not accustomed to wearing things on their faces!Dogs, like any animal, do what “works.” They will repeat behaviors which have a favorable or meaningful result.Each training plan will be unique to the dog and the family, but most pulling can be prevented or reversed using a positive reinforcement based training approach.Remember, your dog can only see the world through his own eyes.Tell your dog “Yes!” when the leash is slack and quickly deliver one or two wonderful treats either putting them in his mouth or dropping them on the ground near your foot.In the beginning, it can be helpful to use luring.Begin walking, just a few steps at a time, consistently delivering tiny treats as long as the dog stays near you and the leash remains loose.C = You stand still or take a few steps away from the thing that is interesting – then wait for any sign of loose leash and quickly reward as above.If your dog can’t disengage from the distraction, move further away and try again.C = Progress is made toward the point of interest, and small delicious treats are intermittently delivered as well!Attending a group class in a controlled environment allows a professional training coach to help you develop excellent timing and to modulate the number and type of distractions your dog learns to walk around while keeping the leash loose.For dogs who lunge to the end of their leash, bark and frantically try to chase or approach other animals, people, moving cars, bicycles, etc., additional help is needed. .
Leash Training a Puppy
Choose a head collar for dogs with aggressive tendencies or for those that need the maximum amount of control such as a small owner with giant-breed dog.The front-attachment harness and head collar should only be used with leashes that are a maximum of 6 feet long.If your dog is completely uninterested in you, take him inside and then try again later at a time when he is a bit more hungry.Practice until your dog is staying beside you more often than not.Say "let's go" in an up beat voice, slap your thigh the first few times to make sure that he notices you and turn and walk away from your dog.If he catches up to you very quickly, give him an extra reward.Your dog needs time to sniff and relieve himself while on the leash, but it will help him to learn better manners if you decide when that will be.As you are practicing your leash walking with your dog, about every 5 minutes, at a time when you would usually give a food reward, instead say something like "go sniff" and let him sniff around or go potty while he is on the leash.When you are ready to end the free-time, say "let's go" and begin walking.Reward him if he can stay by your side during these challenges.Begin to reward him less frequently for walking by your side in normal circumstances.On your neighborhood walks you will apply the same techniques as you did in your yard, but now there will be additional distractions and challenges such as friendly strangers, squirrels and other dogs.If he is lagging behind a great deal, he could be frightened or not feeling well, so use lots of encouragement instead of pulling him along.If after you've practiced these steps, your dog seems to be alternating between walking beside you and pulling, stop rewarding coming back towards you after he pulls and instead concentrate on rewarding him for taking a larger number of consecutive steps by your side.Place a treat in your fist and let him sniff it.Continue to praise and reward for every couple of steps that he follows your fist.Your closed fist will remain as a hand signal for "heel".If you did enjoy the article I would love it if you would consider becoming a customer of ours or sharing this article with a friend. .
Tips and Tools to Stop Your Dog from Pulling the Leash
Between the interesting sights and smells, the tendency to encounter other dogs, cats, and wildlife during walks, and the fact that they generally just walk at a faster pace than their humans, it’s no surprise that dogs that aren’t taught otherwise will pull when they reach the end of their leash.Fortunately, with patience, consistency, and clear communication with your dog, it’s easy to teach your dog to walk nicely!You’ll need to teach your dog that NOT pulling on their leash is more rewarding than pulling.That’s it!For some dogs and their owners, it may take an entire week just to make it to the end of the driveway without stopping.Although clearly communicating what you expect of your dog is most important, there are some tools you can use to stop leash pulling from occurring while you’re training your dog.That way, when the dog reaches the end of the leash and pulls, they’ll be redirected, unable to move forward in the direction they’re pulling.When a dog wearing a head harness reaches the end of their leash and begins to pull, their head is turned, making them unable to continue pulling forward.Many dog owners find that their dog will walk nicely on leash when they’re wearing one of these specialty collars, but revert to pulling when a traditional collar is worn, indicating that they haven’t learned what’s expected of them on a walk.Remember, although the above tools can be helpful in stopping leash pulling, they are not a replacement for training. .
How to Stop Your Dog From Pulling on the Leash
“From a relationship perspective,” explains Sarah Fraser, a certified professional dog trainer and co-founder of Instinct Behavior & Training in New York City, “if your dog is walking nicely on a leash, it likely means that your dog is paying more attention to you, making it easier for you to provide direction and guidance as needed along your walk.”.“Teaching your dog to walk nicely on a leash allows you to take her more places and for longer walks, because it’s more comfortable and enjoyable for the both of you,” Fraser says.One of the easiest and most effective ways to start teaching a dog to walk properly on a dog leash is to reward the dog for paying attention to you and for being in the desired position (next to you or close to you) when out for a walk.“As the dog learns that walking next to you is a pleasant, rewarding experience, she’ll spend less time pulling and more time walking nicely beside you,” says Fraser.Hold on to your leash and take several backward steps away from your dog.The backward movement is inviting, so your dog is likely to turn and follow you. Say “yes!” as your dog approaches you, then immediately reward him or her with a treat.“The game helps your dog focus and move with you,” says Fraser.Finally, remember that walking on a leash is a skill that takes time and practice for both the pet parent and dog, so celebrate incremental improvements and successes! .
No-Pull Dog Harnesses
And for canines who like to pull on leash, no-pull dog harnesses are a true lifesaver.We’ve considered expert trainer advice, online reviews, and our own experience testing a handful of these harnesses on Rover dogs (indicated as “Verified Reviews”) to determine the best.Read on for our list of the no-pull dog harnesses that really work.This popular Wonder Walker no-pull harness places control around your dog’s center of gravity rather than their head or neck.By attaching your dog’s leash to the chest ring, you can gently guide your dog in the direction you want them to move.I tried collar training with her to keep her on track but I finally threw in the towel and decided to try a harness.The harness looked slightly small for an XL, and I wasn’t sure it would fit my bulldog’s wide chest.There are multiple size adjustments, making this a fairly versatile product (I was able to fit it on my low and sturdy English Bulldog, as well as my 95 pound Lab/Husky mix!).The alternate colored strap makes it easy to ensure the harness is correctly being placed on your pet (it rests on your dog’s back).This heavy-duty, multi-functional harness is ideal for BIG dogs who like to pull.Padded chest plate and wide straps keep your dog comfortable.This heavy-duty no-pull harness can withstand even strong pulling from larger breeds.Performance fabric stands up to heavy use, and a reflective trim offers maximum visibility at night.Another front-hook harness that stops pulling, the 2 Hounds Design Freedom offers even more control.Comes in lots of bright colors for a visible, fashionable look.You can clip in the front or back, and it’s easy to figure out which side is which because the straps are different colors.”.With back and front leash attachments, plus a handy back handle for extra control in tight spaces, it gives you tons of options for walking your dog.Breathable yet durable material designed to withstand weather all year round.Online reviewers rave about how adjustable the harness is, allowing for a custom fit.Sizes small and medium work for dogs from chihuahuas to cocker spaniels.Instead, its padded sherpa “sleeves” gently tighten to discourage pulling.The Easy Walk is a front-hook harness that gently steers your dog back towards you when they pull, making it easier to enjoy a walk with no pulling.Differently-colored straps, top and bottom, help you align the harness correctly every time.The Softouch Sense-ation harness gently helps you teach your dog to walk at your side by redirecting them via the secure steel O-ring leash attachment in front.The padded chest distributes pressure so your dog enjoys greater comfort. .
Easy Walk® Harness
But when you try to pull her away to keep walking, you have to pull against her whole body weight, and she nearly chokes herself on her collar.With an Easy Walk Harness, Phoebe's a completely different dog on a walk.The harness rests against her chest and controls her torso, so when she pulls, the harness moves her whole body the way you want, instead of just choking her.I was so pleased when you came out with the Gentle Leader Easy Walk Harness (I did not want to use a choke or pinch collar.).Thank you so much for such wonderful products.No matter what type of training collar we used, she would always pull the first 3 or 4 blocks of our walk, then she'd mellow.Did I mention, I am just about 65 years young.Pepper gets so excited when she sees other dogs and people that she would constantly pull. .
How to Leash Train a Dog: Stop a Puppy Pulling on Leash While
We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.Until they start getting into their senior years, Labs are excitable, curious, and powerful animals.Every scent tells them more about what things are and who’s been there before.And of course they’ll want to leave their own mark wherever possible, which means frequent pee stops.Before long, your dog is so caught up in seeing, smelling, exploring and peeing, that all training goes right out the window.Now your dog knows that pulling on the lead pays off in spades.Teaching your Lab any new behavior can take some time, and walking nicely on a leash is no exception.It won’t happen right away, and will require much patience on your part.Let’s begin at the beginning: getting your dog leashed up and ready to walk.You’ll need to teach that the leash doesn’t go on until there’s calm.QUICK RECOMMENDATION: We love our leather training leashes especially when working with a heavy pulling Lab.Because they are softer and when your dog pulls it’s much more forgiving.Your dog will be less distracted if he sees the same things repeatedly.Have an exercise session before your training walks to help combat this problem.A dog that’s already tired will be less interested in trying to yank you around the neighborhood.QUICK RECOMMENDATION: Our favorite toy for fetch is the Chuck It Dog Ball Thrower.Being a fairly large breed, your Labrador will have no trouble outpacing you without much effort.Of course this can lead to more pulling, because you’re not moving fast enough for his liking.Now that some of the first steps have been established, here are some techniques you can try to help your Labrador learn to walk without pulling on the leash.(This technique may be difficult for smaller individuals, the elderly, or anyone with a physical disability.).If they continue to walk along beside you, repeat your praise word and offer another treat.Begin offering treats less frequently; start by giving a reward every 5 steps or so, and then gradually space them out over larger distances.Though not generally a preferred technique, using negative reinforcement can be an effective method of stifling an unwanted behavior, provided it doesn’t go on for too long, and that the punishment involved is not overly severe.First, start with a verbal warning cue for your dog when they are about to run out of slack.Keep walking in the opposite direction, and praise your dog as they catch up to you. Once your Lab is back beside you, resume walking in the original direction.Use this method if positive reinforcement is not having the desired effect.Watch for signs that your dog is under extreme duress; cringing, cowering, yelping or any other outward display of fear or pain are clear indications that this method is not working.Again, this should only be tried if positive methods are not proving fruitful.As you can imagine, this is not a pleasant feeling for your dog, and it should quickly correct the behavior (perhaps a day or two), if it’s going to work at all.Tugging too hard can lead to physical damage of your dog’s neck or throat.Anyone who’s had a stroll through their local pet store knows there are many options when it comes to collars, harnesses, and the like.Choosing a good collar and leash will help as you teach your Lab to walk nicely.For a selection of classic collars recommended by us, please click here.If you’re having some issues with pulling your might give the Easy Walk Harness a go.Many dogs will respond to pressure around their neck by pulling even more in the opposite direction.They make your dog easier to control, and discourage pulling almost entirely on their own.When yours truly bought his first leash, the selection was based on color and not quality, a decision I regretted when my very eager puppy snapped the leash and made a run for it!As mentioned earlier, negative reinforcement can be helpful if used cautiously and sparingly.However, to use it as your sole method for loose leash training is not acceptable.For further reading advice on how to stop a dog from pulling, please see the following articles:. .
How to Train a Dog to Stop Pulling on the Leash
If your dog pulls on the leash, then the walk is neither healthy for your dog nor relaxing for you. It's also a sign that you and your dog are not paying attention to each other -- it takes two to pull, after all.What do I mean by this?NOTE: Keep in mind that a dog that's beside you on a tight leash is still pulling!Let's say you are addicted to gambling, that you have a habit of gambling until you run out of money that you actually need for something else.Training for Loose Leash Walking.Practice walking on leash or even off leash in the house, where your dog probably doesn't pull.Soon he will begin to think that it is a very good thing to be near you, on your left side.Give her a two seconds to see if she happens to move in a direction that loosens the leash.On your walk, even if he is not pulling, suddenly change direction, letting leash slide out of your hand so you can move without dragging him toward you. This is where a 15-foot (5 meter) leash comes in very handy.If your dog was pulling, do a Slow Stop before walking backwards (one of the BAT Leash Skills).Any pressure is not meant as correction, just meant to keep him from getting the reinforcer of forward motion, so don't jerk the leash.As time goes on, you will stop walking backwards, just reward your dog at your side and keep moving forward.This is similar to Silky Leash, but you can do it on your regular walk.Do not allow the dog to go where it wants to on a tight leash.You can just stop, be a tree, and wait (or back up or keep walking forward, letting line out as you go).When the leash pressure eventually eases up - you should feel this in your hand, though you can see it by the way the leash begins to sag - click and give the dog a treat at your side.A popular technique is to "be a tree" if the dog gets to the end of the leash.Slightly before they arrive at the end of the leash, you have the option of slapping your thigh or saying something like "easy" and if s/he reaches the end, either stop (speed = 0) or do the Cha-Cha (speed = -1).Let's say your dog is on your left, leash in your right hand.After about ten times in a quiet setting, your dog will probably follow the target with no food in the target hand.If you take him out to train and he is pulling every which way, he is not going to learn, and you will just become frustrated.You need to learn how to use it first, but using a longer leash well helps your dog pull less.Front-attachment harnesses offer great control but are best used with two points of attachment (clip on back of harness with one end of your leash and the front of harness with the other end).Learn how to use the BAT leash skills so that you can use a regular harness instead of a no-pull harness.I like harnesses that have multiple points of attachment, a Y in the front, and fit so that the straps are not in the armpits.For example, if he’s lunging at another dog, use the back clip to hold him back and only light touches on the front to get him to turn.Adding in a front clip is one of my favorite management options, because dogs take little or no time to get used to a change in leash configuration and it works very well.If a martingale is currently being used to keep the dog from backing out, an easy option is to attach a carabiner from the front of the harness to the martingale.That way, if the dog were to get out of the harness, your leash is still attached to the dog.Be sure to fit the martingale in such a way that even if it did tighten all the way, it’s still no smaller than the dog’s neck.I prefer not to use a retractable leash, because that puts constant pressure on the dog.If you'd like to learn more about leash walking, check out my Walk With Me!That video covers the BAT Leash Skills for long lines and also several training tips for loose leash walking and heel.See you in the 21-Day Leash Walking Challenge!If you ever feel that you, your dog, or others are at risk because of your dog, please seek the services of a professional dog trainer. .
Loose Leash Walking: How to Stop Pulling
Loose leash walking, or in other words, putting a stop to pulling on the leash, is by far one of the most common goals among our clients who seek dog training.If you’ve allowed your dog to pull in the past, this reinforces the behavior.At the Lodge, our Elementary School class tackles loose leash walking among other basic obedience skills.Here’s the bottom line: to stop pulling, you need to make not pulling more rewarding than pulling.If you are laughing when imagining your dog achieving composure, we understand, but be patient, they will get there.You may only get a few steps at a time, but your dog will learn that they don’t get to go where they want to go if they pull.Choose which side of your body you want your dog to walk on and hold the leash with the hand that is on the opposite side of your body.You don’t want to be fumbling for a treat when your dog is doing something good only to get it out when they are pulling again.There are two things that also help with this: A treat pouch for quick and easy access Clicker training so that you can communicate to your dog the exact moment when they are practicing the behavior you want them to repeat.You can read all about the harness and how to use it in another one of our blog posts A Freedom No-Pull Harness is a great tool to help train your dog to walk nicely on a leash.Its design gives you control of the strongest point of your dog at their center of gravity so that they are no longer able to use all of their force to pull you. You can also configure it so that if your dog pulls, they will turn and face you instead of moving forward.Best of all, it is a kind, pain-free tool.You can read all about the harness and how to use it in another one of our blog posts here. .