Dogs Pulling on Leash – How to Stop It


Dogs pulling on leash is one of the most common misbehaviors seen with all kinds of dogs. Puppies and adult dogs alike can often be seen taking their owners for walks, instead of the other way around. Dogs pulling on leash can be much more than an annoying habit. Leash pulling can lead to an escape in the case of a break in the collar or leash. And an out of control, off leash dog can be both destructive and dangerous to itself and to others.


Let's dive right in.


How to Stop Dogs Pulling on Leash

Dogs pulling on leash can result from a variety of different things. In some cases, the dog may simply be so excited to go for a walk that he or she is unable to control themselves.


In other cases, the dog sees itself as the leader of the pack. And he or she simply takes the “leadership position” at the front of the pack.

If excitement is the motivation for dogs pulling on leash, simply giving the dog a few minutes to calm down can often be a big help. Simply stand with the dog on the leash for a couple minutes and let the initial excitement of the upcoming walk pass.


After the initial excitement has worn off, many dogs are willing to walk calmly on their leash. This method cuts down on a number of dogs pulling on leash.


If There is a Control Problem

If the problem is one of control, however, some retraining may be in order for dogs pulling on leash. All dog training starts with the owner establishing him or herself as the alpha dog, or pack leader, and without this basic respect and understanding, no effective training can occur.


For dogs exhibiting these type of control issues, a step back to basic obedience commands is in order.

These types of dogs pulling on leash can often be helped through a formal obedience school structure. The dog trainer will of course be sure to train the handler as well as the dog. And any good dog trainer will insist on working with the dog owner as well as the dog.


Accepting the Collar and Lead

The basis of teaching the dog to walk calmly on the lead is teaching it to calmly accept the collar and lead. A dog that is bouncing up and down while the collar is being put on will not walk properly. And will lead in to dogs pulling on leash.


Begin by asking your dog to sit down, and insisting that they sit still while the collar is put on. If the dog begins to get up, or gets up on his own after the collar is on, be sure to sit them back down immediately.


Only begin the walk after the dog has sat calmly to have the collar put on, and continued to sit calmly as the leash is attached.


Preventing Dogs Pulling on Leash through Calmness

Once the leash is attached, it is important to make the dog walk calmly toward the door. If the dog jumps or surges ahead, gently correct them with a tug of the leash and return them to a sitting position.


Make the dog stay, then move on again. Repeat this process until the dog is walking calmly by your side.

Repeat the above process when you reach the door. The dog should not be allowed to surge out of the door, or to pull you through the open door. These are sure indications of dogs pulling on leash.


If the dog begins this behavior, return the dog to the house and make them sit quietly until they can be trusted to walk through the door properly. Starting the walk in control is vital to creating a well mannered dog and stopping dogs pulling on leash.


Keep the Dog Focused on You

As you begin your walk, it is vital to keep the attention of the dog focused on you at all times. Remember, the dog should look to you for guidance, not take the lead them self. When walking, it is important to stop often to prevent dogs pulling on leash.


Every time you stop, your dog should stop. Getting into the habit of asking your dog to sit down every time you stop is a good way to keep your dog’s attention focused on you.

Make sure your dog is looking at you, then move off again. If the dog begins to surge ahead, immediately stop and ask the dog to sit. Repeat this process until the dog is reliability staying at your side.


Each time the dog does what you ask them to, be sure to reward them with a treat, a toy or just your praise. This goes a long way in stopping dogs pulling on leash.


Do Not Reward Dogs Pulling on Leash

Remember that if your dog pulls on the leash and you continue to walk them anyway, you are inadvertently rewarding that unwanted behavior.


Dogs learn whether you are teaching them or not, and learning the wrong things now will make learning the right things later that much harder.

It is important to be consistent in your expectations with dogs pulling on leash. Every time the dog begins to pull ahead, immediately stop and make the dog sit. Continue to have the dog sit quietly until their focus is solely on you. Then start out again, making sure to immediately stop moving if the dog surges ahead.


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