How To Stop My Dog From Pulling On The Leash

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Everyone knows that one dog who pulls so hard on a walk that she chokes herself knocks over people or is simply impossible to walk. But don’t worry; with proper training and management, a dog can be taught to walk calmly on a loose leash. There are several things you can do when working with a dog to teach him or her to walk on a loose leash.

We’ll begin with management. Start by utilizing the proper equipment. Did you know that flex leashes and retractable leashes exacerbate pulling? A plain 4 to the 6-foot leash is the best leash to use when working on loose leash walking. If your dog is large, use a management tool like a front-attach harness (Easy Walk Harness, or a Freedom design harness) or a head halter to save your shoulders (gentle leader or perfect pace).

Both of these tools are gentle and safe for dogs, and they discourage pulling by making it impossible. The freedom design harness will save your dog’s throat and make teaching loose leash walking easier if your dog is small. (For more information, see our blog on leashes and harnesses.)

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We move on to training once we’ve found the right management tool for you and your dog. While your dog is learning, remember to bring treats with you. It will help you if you provide distractions for your dog as well as rewards for a good dog. There are two rules that you must adhere to at all times.

First, if the leash is too tight or has any pressure on it, your feet will be glued to the floor and you will be unable to move. Second, looking back at your dog is the only way for you to get moving again. When the leash is tight, all of the management tools listed above will automatically encourage your dog to turn back, but you can also call your dog to get his or her attention. You can start moving again once you have your dog’s attention.

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Even if you don’t call your dog, use food rewards when he looks back to check in with you. We want your dog to be focused on the other end of the leash as well! Pay attention to your surroundings; if you see a person or a dog approaching from the opposite direction, use treats to attract your dog’s attention and encourage him or her to sit and wait for the distraction to pass. Don’t be afraid to call out that you’re training right now and would appreciate some space while your dog learns.

Once your dog has mastered moving on a loose leash, staying with you, and paying attention, you can progress to more difficult areas such as a park or linear trail. Even if you don’t think you’ll need them, keep treats on hand because you never know when a loose dog or a running child will appear and you’ll need to distract your dog.