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How To Stop A Dog Pulling On Leash

by dogtoysadvisor

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From the first moment we brought out first dog home, we faced some tough challenges.

Either because of their history or just due to their personalities, our dogs came with their own issues and we were just way too inexperienced to help them.

From all the issues that needed to be addressed, the worst was, by far, walking on a leash.

Why Dogs Struggle To Walk On A Leash

Walking nicely on a leash is not an instinctive behavior for any dog.

They have a faster pace and their need to smell everything they see means they have their own walking agenda.

Also, they feel restrained.

The trick here is getting them, not only used to that, but also to accept it.

Either because the dog is old, too big or just set in his ways, it may seem impossible to train dogs to walk on a leash comfortably.

But we know for a fact it is not only possible, but even simple to achieve.

Dogs learn differently than humans and if you understand how their mind works, you can solve MOST dog behavior issues.

It Was HELL Walking Our Dogs

Dobby was so scared he’d try to run every time he heard a noise or saw a leaf falling in his direction, not to mention other dogs.

His fear along with his lack of training turned our daily walk into a hellish experience because he would pull constantly.

It even caused us to require physical therapy for our shoulders from all the pulling combined with his weight.

As for the Jack Russells, Tommy and Coco, they were more than a handful when they were just small puppies!

Coco (on the right) just did her own thing: she wanted to run, chase leaves, smell everything and go everywhere she pleased.

She completely forgot the person holding the leash on the other end.

And Tommy (on the left), which today is by far our most well-trained dog, used to be leash-reactive, meaning he’d get aggressive to other dogs when on a leash.

We don’t really know how he made it to adulthood!

So, all of our three dogs had deep-rooted issues with walking on a leash.

One was too scared, the other too curious and the third would pull to confront any dog that crossed his path.

We solved leash pulling by following just one training technique we picked up from an online dog training course that changed our lives.

How We Put An End To Leash Pulling

No tip from friends, our vet or Youtube videos worked, if anything it only made it worse.

Failing made us anxious and desperate and our dogs confused.

We needed to do the work ourselves, but required guidance to show us the way.

Until one day, a dear friend told us about Adrienne Farricelli and how succesful working with her to solve her puppy’s issues had been.

Then we found out she has an online dog training course available!

AND we decided to give it a try!

We quickly realized her training could be applied to pretty much any behavior issue, like barking, jumping, potty training, etc.

Best yet, all our dogs responded brilliantly to it, regardless of size, age or personality.

How To Train Your Dog To Stop Pulling On Leash

It may sound like an impossible challenge to stop your dog pulling on leash. We thought so too.

But by doing it the way we learn with Adrienne’s training course, it’s actually simpler than it looks.

Just keep reading and decide for yourself!

Step 1 – Choose The Right Gear

You can find some great “no-pull” equipment that will help get the situation under control until you complete the training, particularly if we’re talking about a heavy dog.

For dogs who pull on their leashes, we do recommend harnesses over collars, because sometimes all that pulling might hurt their throats.

 

The Rabbitgoo no-pull harness is our number one suggestion for a harness that will be effective and safe for your dog.

Also, the choice of leash is important, you’ll want one that can give your dog some room but not enough for him to gain some distance and make it harder for you to control him.

Here is our top pick:

 

The Baapet dog leash is by far the most resistant leash for dog walking. We bought one a few years ago and it is still good as new.

Also, remember, if you’re going to train him for a while, you’ll want low calories treats but high on taste to keep them focused.

Step 2 – Stop When Your Dog Starts Pulling

You’ve probably tried this and ended up giving up, but it’s actually the best starting point.

Whenever your dog pulls on the leash, just stop!

This might mean you don’t leave the front door and that’s okay. You just need to stand still and don’t move.

Each and every time (this is tricky, we know).

It’s very very important, your dog needs to understand what you want from him and he won’t if you continue to walk even though he’s pulling.

Step 3 – Wait Until Your Dog Looks At You

By now your dog has noticed you’re not moving. He tried and tried pulling at the leash and you just won’t budge.

What can he do to get things going? He’ll stop and look at you.

If by any chance your dog is the stubborn type (like ours) this might take him a while, so a quicker way to get his attention is to attract it.

As soon as he looks at you turn away from him.

Step 4 – Turn The Other Way Around

Now that you have your dog’s attention, turn around and face the direction you have just come from.

Then encourage your dog to join you by dropping a treat behind you for him to collect as he reaches you.

You’ll want him to eat the reward just behind you, the ideal position for your walk.

You want him to get comfortable behind you so he’ll want to do it on his own.

Start walking as soon as he picks up the treat. If he rushes past you and resumes the pulling, go back to step 1.

Eventually, he’ll understand what he needs to do in order to get his walk and once he does you’ll be able to walk him on a loose leash.

How Can You Teach Your Dog ANYTHING!

In order to train your dog, you need to understand how his mind works, otherwise you’ll fail.

Once you get the way he learns, you’ll be able to teach him just about anything.

Trainers charge a lot of money to tell you what to do, but don’t do the work for you. This means that you’ll spend $50/hour, having the results depend solely on you.

We wanted to be able to learn how to train our dogs to do what we wanted (and what we didn’t want them to do) without breaking the bank.

It seemed like an impossible mission at first, but a friend that had gone through the same problem had the answer all along.

The Solution Is Simple: Get An Online Trainer

We did it and we highly recommend it!

It helps tremendously that Adrienne is a CPDT-KA certified dog trainer with over a decade of experience.

It has allowed her to study dogs, really understand them and get to the bottom of their issues and behavior before creating the course.

It was like this online dog training course had been designed specifically with our dogs in mind.

We were afraid we wouldn’t be able to follow this course, but it’s actually divided into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels.

This allowed us to start at the very beggining (a very good place to start!) and work our way up from there.

Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising and iStock

39 Comments

  1. Karen

    My dog doesn’t want to walk she use to walk a mile everyday but since she had her puppies she doesn’t want to walk please help

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hello.

      Have you checked with your vet to see if there isn’t some sort of pain she’s experiencing?

      If everything is okay with her and she’s just feeling a bit more lazy than usual or she just doesn’t want to leave her puppies behind, we suggest bribery!! Make it as fun for her as possible. Use treats and her favorite toys and games. Does she like to chase a ball? Would she be tempted by some tasty snacks as you walk? Give it a try.

      Another thing you can try is a change of scenery/route. Try new paths, go somewhere she’ll want to explore.

      Good luck!

      Reply
    • Cindy

      I have a 3 year old Siberian Husky male fixed and I have tried walking him in different harness and nothing is working and I am 62 and not that strong anymore. I got him at 11/2 years and I think he was penned up all the time. I need help

      Reply
      • dogtoysadvisor

        Hi Cindy.
        Yes, we would agree your husky’s problem is probably excess energy.
        Is there a place you can set him free safely for him to burn all of that extra energy?
        It would make all the diference in your walks, because he would feel much more calm and tired.

        Also, some dogs get hyper simply because they are too smart for their own good and we suspect huskys fit into that category. They just get bored and frustrated.
        Why not challenge him with some mind games to keep him happy and in the right mind frame? Read all about ways to challenge your dog here.

        Let us know how it went and good luck!
        Mike and Sandy

        Reply
  2. Brandy Jeffers

    What do you do if you have a larger dog who isn’t really into treats when he’s outside only inside the house and you’re trying to train him not to pull on the leash?

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Brandy.

      Thank you for reaching out. What does interest him when his outside?
      Find out what he likes and use that. Is it sticks? A toy or maybe a ball? Use it as a reward for each time he walks properly on the leash.
      Treat wise, have you tried cheese? Or maybe turkey ham bits? Something a bit more fragrant he can’t resist, even though he’s outside.

      Or maybe he doesn’t need anything physical and compliments will do. Each dog is diferent, you need to find what works for them.

      If absolutely nothing will work, we advise you tire him out before trying to train him. Let him relese all of his anxiety and energy before trying to get his attention.

      Either way, he’ll get there!

      Good luck and let us know how it went,
      Mike& Sandy

      Reply
  3. Brandy Jeffers

    What’s the difference between a regular harness and a no pull harness?

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hello again.

      For training purposes, they’re quite the opposite.
      A regular harness will make it all the more comfortable for them to pull, because there is nothing restraining them when they do. If you’re using a collar, he’ll feel pressure on the neck, unlike with a regular harness.

      A no-pull harness offers that restraint. The type may vary, some pressure the chest, others bind the legs, etc, but the idea is for them to feel pressure or be uncomfortable in some way when they pull, without hurting them, of course. Whereas with a collar, they may get hurt in the throat from all the pulling.

      Thank you,
      Mike & Sandy

      Reply
    • Sarah

      With a 194 lbs dog, none of the above will work. He’s no idiot, but the leash disconnects his brain cells, I swear!

      We’ve always had big dogs. Some from puppy, some rescued older (1 year & up) dogs. Never have we had leash training issues.

      This guy? Halti, harness, choker (I know, I know) which he outgrew! Nothing. Prong collar or shock collar may have to be next. Or he just won’t go anywhere!

      Reply
      • Michele

        My dog pulls especially when he sees another dog. He even managed to get out of his No-Pull-Harness!!! Got shock-collar for the barking like crazy in the car when he sees other dogs…Didn’t work😩

        Reply
        • dogtoysadvisor

          Hi Michele.

          It looks to us like the main issue you need to fix is his reaction to other dogs. Read here on how to stop dog aggression.

          Let us know how it went. Good luck!
          Mike and Sandy

          Reply
  4. Lori

    When I try to walk my Chihuahua 1 year old. If she sees another dog she’s petrified. I just freaks out and won’t listen to anything what to do not interested in treats or anyting.

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Lori.

      Thank you for reaching out. We think the secret might be to find what she loves. If it isn’t food or treats, maybe it’s her favorite toy? Or maybe just you petting her or getting her attention might work?

      1 Year is very young, there is still plenty of time to get her used to other dogs, she just needs to start with mellow, low energy ones.

      Good Luck!
      Mike&Sandy

      Reply
  5. Connie

    We bought the Rabbitgoo harness for our boxer. I am only 5’3” and the harness has 2 rings to clip your leash on. I use the front ring so if she gets excited and tries to run, the leash pulls her to one side, making her easier to control. !i recommend this halter for large or excitable dogs and the price is perfect

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Connie,

      Thank you for your feedback. Sounds like a great idea! We’ll give it a try.

      Best of luck

      Reply
  6. Karen Rich

    I have a great dog that I adopted at 1 1/2 years of age. She is large and full of energy. I am going to order the halter you suggest and give it a try. She is very intelligent but likes to use her big voice and pull me. Will let you know how we do

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Karen.

      Let us know how it goes. And thank you for adopting an older dog!

      Mike and Sandy

      Reply
  7. Roland Ngwayi

    Thank you very much. I also came across this.

    Reply
  8. holly elliott

    How do I train two puppies? Little schnauzer sisters, Elsa and Anna, yes we have 6 grandchildren. They are so excited to see people and pets that they don’t hear any commands. Maybe they are still too young, 3 months.

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Holly.
      They must be adorable! And yes, 3 months is pretty young, but there are things you can start doing to make sure they become balanced and well-behaved adults. Up until 6 months, all you should worry about is socialization. Exposing them to other dogs, people and situations like going on rides, the beach, anything different you can think of. This will make all the diference in them growing up confident and friendly.

      Good luck, let us know how it goes.
      Thank you,
      Mike and Sandy

      Reply
      • Tim

        We just got two Bernese mountain dogs when schould we start trading them also they do a lot of play fighting is this good or bad. We love them they are so much fun.

        Reply
        • dogtoysadvisor

          Hi Tim,
          Thank you for your contact.
          You should start training your dogs as soon as possible. Even if they’re too young for some training, there are always things you can get them used to from the moment they arrive.

          Play fighting is normal and healthy because it teaches them boundaries. You only need to curb it if it becomes too rough, to make sure none gets hurt.

          Good luck, let us know how it all goes.
          Mike and Sandy

          Reply
  9. Karla

    My dog seems very confident 99% of the time. But sometimes when we go out for a walk he gets really scared and wants to run home. (this makes me feel bad because he is supposed to know that I will protect him as the ‘alpha’)

    What can I do to help this situation?

    Kind regards

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Karla.

      Thank you for reaching out. We think the main issue would be to identify what is that scares your dog and deal with that.
      Then you’ll use his favorite things, like treats or toys to create positive associations with it and try and replace that fear with excitement.
      You can read more about boosting your dog’s confidence here

      Let us know how it went and good luck!
      Mike and Sandy

      Reply
  10. Dana

    Are these tips apply on a dog that pulls when he see dogs or cats and get very aggresive?

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Dana.

      We actually have a post specific for dog aggression. You can read it here.

      Let us know how it went and good luck!
      Mike and Sandy

      Reply
  11. Daniel Stewart

    My beautiful “Lady” is 62 lbs. of Australian Shepard/Border Collie muscle. She pulls like mad, especially near people. She wants to jump up and lick them to death. I’m 70 yrs. old and live in apartment complex with other elderly folks. Can’t have her knocking somebody over.Help.

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Daniel.

      That’s quite the challenge! You can use our tips to help her learn what you want from her. Also, you may want to read about how to teach her to stop from jumping on people here.

      Let us know how it went with your Lady and good luck!
      Mike and Sandy

      Reply
      • Robert

        Thank you for this blog it is literally the best around. I read this everyday.I hope it helps others. Thank you.

        Reply
  12. Mary

    I agree with many. I have medical limitations but want to walk all 3 of my dogs….. I’m adult female….. with 3 80lbs average dogs…… One is excellent (12yrs) and stays at side…… other 2 brothers (7 & 4) are ridiculous and think we’re on a sled I swear!!!! or Im about to buy roller blades and just go for a ride cuz we’ve tried everything and nothing works….. and dare another dog approach cuz they lose their minds!!! We look like fools and end up going home. We’ve decided as a couple to divide and concur. Theres no leash or harness we haven’t tried. Strength and further attempts until we master this will be only answer. I will not REWARD bad behaviour.

    Reply
  13. Robert

    Thank you for this blog it is literally the best . I am grateful i found this page..
    thanks again.

    Reply
  14. Debra

    What type of leash is chew proof? My 25 lb. Westie mix chewed her leash in half in less than 10 minutes while riding in my pickup. (I was watching traffic)

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Debra,

      Looks like you have a tough coookie on your hands but kudos for you for thinking of safety first.

      Our dogs have been known to chew a few leashes of their own, we found that the best chew proof ones are:

      – metal chain leashes and, if you don’t particularly like that option, you can always use it just for when you can’t supervise, like when you’re driving.
      climbing rope leashes, which are nicer to look at and extremely hard to chew, which is the one we use for our daily walks.
      – some high density nylon options are chew proof as well.
      – nowadays you also have steel cable leashes meant to secure your dog while in the car, they use the same material as they use on alarm cables, almost impossible to cut without a proper tool.

      Here is a link to the Amazon chew proof leashes, you have regular walking options as well as seat-belt options:

      Good luck and let us know how it went!
      Mike and Sandy

      Reply
  15. Catherine

    My rescue dog, a mixed breed is loving and sweet. But he is very strong willed and stubborn. I am 75 and have mobility issues and he pulls like crazy. I need something to control him or I may have to give him up. He is also a super chewer but only in his leash and toys. He has destroyed many so called hard to chew toys. Help!

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Catherine,
      We’re so sorry your struggling with your rescued dog (kudos for rescuing a needy animal though).

      Without more information we’re wondering if he’s doing enough to burn his energy on a daily basis. Maybe he’s needing more exercise and stimulus. Is there somewhere safe you can let him loose to run? Maybe spend more time playing with him to tire him out before walks?

      Another thing we suggest is keeping him mentally challenged at home, because if you exercise him enough, maybe he’s just so bored that when he gets out he’s too excited.

      That would explain his destructive behaviour with toys and leashes.

      We recommend reading our post on keeping dogs entertained.

      We hope this helps, we’d hate to see you loose your canine buddy because you feel like you don’t have another choice.

      Good luck and let us know how it went!

      Reply
  16. esther morgan

    Thanks alot for this post have been trying to stop my dog but didn’t know how to go about it this will help alot ,

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Esther. Thank you for your feedback. Good luck!

      Reply
  17. esther

    Thanks alot for this post.
    My dog loves to do this alot.
    will try this if it will help me

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Esther, Thanks! Good luck trying to teach your pup to walk on a loose leash.

      Reply

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