5 Tips to Stop Your Dog From Pulling on the Leash

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leash etiquette, leash manners, leash reactivity, Leash Training

Dogs aren’t born knowing how to act and react on leash!

Sometimes, young dogs and puppies don’t even want to walk on a leash.

But, in order to have a well-trained, well-behaved dog, he or she must learn to walk nicely on leash!

Here Are Some Tricks the Professionals Use to Get a Dog to Walk Calmly on a Leash:

5. Always Use the Same Leash

People who use retractable or flexi leashes are setting their dogs up for failure.

The dog should know exactly how much space he has to wander before he pulls you.

So, I don’t care if you have 4 or 6 foot leashes and like to exchange them with the seasons, but please be consistent with the length of the leash.

I prefer 6 foot leashes for beginner dogs.

The dog will learn that he has 5 and a half feet of space before he begins to pull.

Yes, dogs are smart enough to figure this out!

4. Don’t Let Him Pull

Bad habits form quickly!

leash etiquette, leash manners, leash reactivity, Leash TrainingDon’t get in the habit of letting your dog pull you.

I don’t care how badly my dog wants his walk, or wants to sniff the fire hydrant, or even needs to pee (I know that one sounds kind of mean), he doesn’t need to pull me to accomplish any of these things!

If you allow him to pull you sometimes, but not others, it is confusing for the dog.

Make it a habit of yours to not allow this behavior to start.

I assure you, it is a lot easier to never let this begin, then to try and change it later.

3. Change Your Direction

If your dog isn’t paying attention to you, or seems distracted by what is in front of him, change your direction.

I lock my arm and hand, to keep it from pulling and jarring, and I simply go the other way.

Yes, the dog corrects himself (another reason I lock my arm and hand, so it doesn’t get pulled).

I tell my clients that I almost want my dog to think I am bi-polar.

If he never knows which way I might turn, he learns to keep an eye on me!

And, YES he can keep an eye on you while sniffing and enjoying himself!

2. Keep the Leash in Your Right Hand

I have said this in many, many articles and training videos.

You are more likely to pull and strangle your dog if your dog is on the left side and your leash is in your left hand.

It is nearly impossible to strangle your dog with your leash in your right hand and the dog on your left side.

The dog has a large amount of room to make a mistake, but you can correct that by changing your direction.

Don’t get into the habit of pulling on your dog, because he will get in the habit of pulling back against you!

leash etiquette, leash manners, leash reactivity, Leash Training



1. Reward Good Behavior

I said this recently, too!

If your dog looks at you, or pays attention to you at all, REWARD HIM!

We want our dogs to pay attention to us, yet we rarely praise or treat them for this attention.

Let him know when he does something you like.

Give him a treat

Praise him

Pet him

Or, pull out his toy and play a game with him

Encourage your dog to pay attention to you and check in with you.

If he is paying attention to you, he isn’t paying attention to everything else around him.

Let me say that again.


That is a great thing.

I don’t mind my dog “being a dog” and sniffing and enjoying herself, but she is never allowed to pull me. AND, I recognize and reward generously when she chooses to be near me and give me her attention!

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There are 3 Comments

  1. Sheila Shuping says:

    I need help to find a way to teach my dog to walk on a leash while I am pulling my oxygen in a luggage carrier at the same time. I’m 75 and have been told not to try this, but I’m the only one available to teach him. He is a 60 pound lab mutt almost a year old and I have worked with him inside, but not as much as I should. It’s funny but inside when I use my walker he walks very calmly right by my side. I have used a leash inside and he is good with treats at doing that. How do I stop him from nipping at my granddaughter. She’s no help and flaps her hands at him or yells. Too many problems to tell here. Would love your new service dog training, but can’t afford it.


    Minette Reply:

    You can search our free articles for advice on many subjects. There is a search bar at the top of the page


  2. My dog is 3 years old she is a pitbull she pees and poops in the house no matter how often you take her out she will do her business outside and then come in side and do it again whenever she is left or in the middle of the night while you were sleeping


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