How to stop a dog from pulling on the leash

How to stop a dog from pulling on the leash
How to stop a dog from pulling on the leash

Do you constantly find yourself being pulled down the street when you are walking your dog?? You might have a sore arm and shoulder from try keep your dog under control. No wonder, big dogs are strong and if you have to fight it every time you walk well that is a drag.

What if you could have your dog walking nicely and calmly beside you, without pulling? What you say? I have tried everything but it just don’t seem to work, my dog just won’t get it and pulls me all over the place.

Well, I am going to show you the reason why your dog is constantly pulling the leash and the solution to it. On top of this I will show you where you can get assistance with training your dog, should you need more help.

First of all, take a look at this video, it will show you how professional dog trainer doggy dan handles a dog pulling on the leash.

You might need to practice a little before everything works as well as in the video and some dogs are really stubborn and they might need a little bit more work but as you can see it is really not that complicated. Now I am going to give you a few tips that I am sure you will find very helpful.

1. Start the walk with a calm dog
If your dog is really exited and is jumping up and down even before you leave the house then it is going to be very difficult to calm it down once you get outside. Most dogs really love their walks and seing the leash gets them even more exited. If you simply put the leash on and leave the house with the dog in this condition then it is going to be hard work teaching it to walk properly.

So you need to get the dog calm before you can get anywhere. How you might ask? How can you get an overly exited dog to calm down when he/she is so exited about his/her walk? The answer is simple, you put away the leash and turn your back on your dog until it has calmed down and then you try again. If your dog gets exited again, you repeat the procedure and wait.

The reason for this is that if you put the leash on your very exited dog and leaves the house like that then you reinforce this behavior. That means you reward the dog with a walk for being exited. Your dog must understand that in order to have a walk he/she must calm down first. Remember this: Reward good behavior, ignore bad behavior.
Once your dog is really calm and relaxed then you can leave the house.

This might take a bit of time but it is really worth it and it is going to make teaching your dog to walk nicely a lot easier. Now once your dog is calm attach the leash and walk out the door, if your dog gets really exited right away and start pulling, get back in, take off leash and wait for a few minutes, then try again.

2. Change direction
Once you start the walk, take a look at where your dog is heading, if your dog is trying to go to the left, you head to the right and vice versa. If your dog pulls straight ahead, turn around in the opposite direction. This will constantly leave your dog behind you, and thus suddenly you are leading the walk and not your dog. It is important to do this early and not wait until your dog is far ahead of you.  This will take a little time but by repeating this exercise several times your dog will learn that you lead the walk.

3. Using a proper lead
Using the right type of leash and harness will help in teaching your dog to heal. Take a look at the different devices available and you will find one which is going to work great for your dog. The harness used by Doggy Dan in the video is a special one where the attachement is under the dog’s chin instead of at the back like on a traditional harness.

4. The Packleader walks in front.
In a dog’s world, the leader of the pack is the one who is leading the walk. You should be the packleader and walk in front, not your dog. Now being the packleader is a topic of its own and has to do with many other things then just who is leading the walk. The thing here is that if your dog considers him/herself to be the packleader then he/she will always try to get in front and lead the walk.

If you establish yourself as the packleader then it is going to be much easier to make him/her walk nicely beside you and stop pulling. This is true to all other aspects of dog training as well, if your dog considers you to be the packleader, he/she will follow and obey you.

Inside of Doggy Dan’s website you will find a section called the “Dog Calming Code” and inside this section there is the “Five Golden Rules” to become the packleader. The five golden rules covers how to act and what to do when it comes to certain situations. For example what to do when you feed your dog, when you walk it, if your dog reacts to perceived danger, when and how to give your dog attention, and after you have been separated from your dog.

I have already given you one example here, that is the walk and the fact the leader (that is you) walks in front. Another example would be how to handle food. The packleader controls the food. The leader(s) eat first then the others. You eat before your dog and when your dog has finished eating you put the food away, you don’t leave it on the floor, thus you control the food, not your dog.

These things might mean nothing to us but they do mean a lot for our dogs and by following the steps in the five golden rules your dog will start to consider you as its leader and once it does, it will be far easier to train and thus much easier to walk.

5. Where to find more dog walking tips

You can find a lot more on leash walking at Doggy Dan’s website the Online Dog Trainer. There are currently 7 videos about leash walking and a lot of information. The great thing with this site is that it offers a lot of support. If you need any help you can always contact Doggy Dan either by posting a question in the forum or by contacting him directly using e-mail or skype.

Click Here to get Doggy Dan’s help to stop your dog from pulling the leash

I do hope that you found this post useful and as usual if you have any questions and or other tips and tricks that you would like to share with us please write them in comment section below.

Comments 18

  • As someone who is considering buying a dog and hearing al the stories about horror dogs that are averse to training, this article is definitely helpful because I do see a lot of people that I know complaining of sore arms from the dog tugging on the leash. Do you recommend any specific leashes to stop this or will these tips help? 

    • Yes, a leash made of a metal chain instead of leather. This will not be pleasant for the dog to chew on so often it is enough to make them stop. The collar could be of soft leather so the dog will still be comfortable but chewing will not be very appealing to the dog.

      Here is also a post on how to stop a dog from chewing the leash.

      All the best,

      Jojo

  • Regardly to the keyword here on how to stop dogs from pulling on the leash,is when he pulls,immediately stop and stand completely still until the leash relaxes, either by your dog taking a step back or turning around to give you focus. When the leash is nicely relaxed, proceed on your walk. Repeat this as necessary. If you find this technique too slow you can try the reverse direction method.and a simple  way to help your dog learn to walk without pulling on leash is to stop moving forward when he pulls and to reward him with treats when he walks by your side..I am very interesting to know why do dogs pull on leash and also do dogs grow out of pulling?

    • The reason why dogs pull the leash is because they are exited and wants to move ahead. A dog pulling the leash also considers him/herself as the leader of the walk. Thus you must show the dog that you are the leader and that the dog should follow you, not the other way around.

      Dogs usually don’t grow out of pulling. The problem usually gets worse with time so it is important to tackle this problem as soon as possible. Preferably when the dog is still a young puppy and easier to handle but you can train an adult dog to stop pulling without too much hazzle.

      Jojo

  • I love your website and reading your post. Because it always give me very valuable information. 

    During this time, I felt that it was normal when my dog was excited to see the leash before start walking. But what happened next, along the way with my dog, I did find it difficult to maintain the leash so it would not escape from my hands. Just like you mentioned in your article. Therefore, I will try to follow what you suggest so that I can walk comfortably with my dog and. 

    Besides I will calm the dog before start, I will also try the packleader way.
    By the way, to be able for my dog to not pulling the leash, how long will it take the training for them to get used to it?
    Thanks

    • Thank you for your kind words regarding my website.

      It is hard to say how long it will take to train your dog not pull the leash but usually this something can be done rather quickly.

      It is important to be consistent. Never go for walk before your dog is calm, make it wait until it calms down before putting the leash on and before starting the walk and never accept pulling. Stop immediately if the dog pulls or change direction and walk the other way but always show your dog that you lead the way and never allow it to pull ahead.

      If you do this everytime when you walk your dog your dog will soon walk nicely beside you.

      I wish you luck.

      Jojo

  • Some great tips here. I have finally managed to calm my dog down, but he does like to pull ahead for the first bit of the walk. It usually takes a block for him to start pulling. I will try your tip about going in the opposite direction next time.

    I also find when he sees another dog he starts to run in circles and bite at his lead to escape. He was never socialized as a pup and now he wants to fight with every dog he sees. Do you have any tips for this type of behavior?

    • What you describe is a very common problem that many dog owners face, lots of dogs get aggressive towards other dogs for a number of reasons. Fortunately, this should not be too difficult to tackle. I suggest you take a look at this post about how to stop dog aggression towards other dogs and watch the video in it. In the video Doggy Dan shows how he takes a tough dog eager to fight and make him relax and totally calm down around other dogs. Watch it and then try it. If you have any issues after that, just write to me and I will do all I can to help you.

      Here is the link to the post: How to stop dog aggression towards other dogs.

      Good luck and all the best,

      Jojo

  • You’re absolutely right. I have a dog and it’s been very difficult to control each time I want to take a walk with him. He gets so excited that immediately I step out of the house, he’ll start jumping around and doing what he likes.

    I’ve just gotten fed up of him because he seems to be uncontrollable. Honestly, you blog have really given me helpful tips on what to do to be the pack leader.

    Doggy Dan seems to be a professional dog trainer. I’m happy you gave this recommendation. I’ll get to know how to stop my dog from pulling the leash and many other things I have to know as a dog owner.

    • There are a few basic things you really have to teach your dog in order to make life with your dog smooth and enjoyable. You do start out by establishing yourself as the packleader. Once you have establish yourself as the packleader, training will be much easier as your dog will look to you for advice on how to act in various situations and he will be eager to follow your instructions.

      Once this is done then you teach your dog basic commands such as: sit, lay down, stay, come, leash walking and calm down.

      These are all basic commands which is important to teach your dog. Take a good look at my site, you will find advice on how to handle most situations there and feel free to contact me at any time, I am here to help.

      Here are 10 dog training tips I think you will find useful.

      All the best and good luck with your dog.

      Kindest regards,

      Jojo

  • As a dog owner, it really annoys me when I see people being pulled along by their dog. Not only is it painful and unpleasant for the human, it’s stressful for the dog to be in the “pack leader” and it’s really dangerous for the dog, especially if you’re walking alongside a busy road. All our dogs have been large breed rescue dogs, so they mostly show no sign of being lead trained but the very first time we go out, we use a Halti head collar which makes it really easy (even for a lightweight like me) to refuse to walk if the dog pulls. Then we give a verbal reward or a small treat when he/she starts to inderstandt, and keep that up until they’ve learned, which doesn’t take long. Great article, thanks for sharing.

    • Yes, leash pulling really is a problem that has to be taken care of. Not being able to control a big strong dog can lead to all sort of dangerous and/or embarrassing situations as well. Thus those who do not know how to make a dog stop pulling better seek some advice. Hopefully what I mention in this post should be enough to resolve this problem and your method, using a headcollar seems to be really effective as well. Thank you for your tips and your input.

      Jojo

  • Hello there,thanks for this awesome article it would be of great help to the public as it has been of help to me.i must say that over the ea taking my dog on a walk has really been a nightmare for me as they always battle,and pull on the leash…but after reading your article I think that problem has been solved as I would it out.

    • I wish you the best of luck with your dogs and if you have any problem just get back to me and I will do whatever I can to help you.

      Kindest regards,

      Jojo

  • I have to say that this came along a great time.  Oh my, I have a lab, Harley who is awful on the leash.  We live in the country so he very seldom has the leash on.  The only time I take the leash with him is if we are going on a hike at the nearby conservation area.  And that is only if people are around.  .And when we go for a run on busy roads.  Most of my roads are very quiet for traffic, but have a few that I have to have him on the leash.  Unless he is tired he is pulling me.

    I am certainly going to try the method you have walked us thru, it will certainly take time and patience.  He is jumping as soon as I pick up the lease and being a big dog, he can over power me.  I will let you know how the training goes.  What an amazing dog trainer Dan appears to be.  I am fortunate that Harley has a great call back command and listens to it every time.  Dan mentions this in the video that you posted.

    Thank you again for this very useful information.

    • Hi, I am happy you found this post useful. This is a very common problem that many dog owners face but with a little bit of training, he should soon walk nicely beside you.

      You say he gets over exited as soon as you pick up the leash. In this case you should completely ignore him until he has calmed down before putting the leash on. You see if your dog is over exited already before going out then it is going to be very difficult to train him and make listen to your commands. So always start the walk when he is calm.

      If you start every walk when Harley is calm and then use the method of changing direction every time he gets head, he should soon understand that you lead the walk and that he should walk next to you instead of in front.

      It is great that you can make Harley come back every time you call him. Generally speaking this command is more difficult to teach a dog than leash walking. I think you will very soon get your dog to walk nicely on the leash. If I can be of any help, get back to me and I will do whatever I can to help.

      I wish you the best of luck.

      Jojo

  • Thank you so much for sharing with us such a beautiful article .I have a dog and this is a very good friend of mine .But when I get out on the road with my dog, I have some problems. But I couldn’t understand why this problem was happening. And the biggest problem is that when I tell my dog to take the path, he goes the other way and goes the opposite of where I want to go. After reading the article in the Spirit, I realized where my problem was .Now it looks like I was wrong in giving my dog proper training that I hope you can correct through your article. I will definitely watch the video in your article and practice it regularly .You’ve given some tips in the meantime, moving in front of the packleader with a cool dog, using a proper lead, changing directions. Also for some more tips, I will definitely visit Doggy Dan’s website to give you an article .Thank you for your complimentary article so informative. And I will pass this article on to my friends. Looking forward to some such articles in the future. And I also hope I get good results.

    • Hi,

      One important thing is to make sure your dog consider you to be its leader. Once you have established yourself as the packleader, training is quite easy.

      When it comes to walking with a leash, your dog should never be allowed to walk in front. You are the packleader, you lead and your dog follows. If your dog pulls, you should stop walking and wait until it has calmed down before resuming the walk. Then start walking again and use the “change direction method” explained here below.

      One method of showing your dog this is by changing direction when you walk. That is, if your dog gets in front of you (before it starts pulling) you turn around and walk the other way so that your dog ends up behind you. If it gets in front of you, repeat the process and turn around again. Soon the dog will understand that you lead and the dog follows.

      Doggy Dan can certainly help you with your dog and If I can be of any help, just write to me and I will do my best to help you.

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