5 Tips to Stop Your Dog From Pulling on the Leash

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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  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


  3. L. kahny says:

    A pinch collar. Most people see these on dogs and think they are cruel. In fact, they are the safest way to keep your dog from pulling! In the pack, the alpha (which should be you) will correct a member by grabbing them by the neck. They understand and respond. If your dog sees a SQUIRREL! And gets a pinch he will stop. Believe me, the dog will never pull to the point of pain. Choke chain collars are terrible, they can crush their windpipe. Harnesses? Well let’s see you stop a 90 lb shepherd on a mission with one of those. I have raised German Shepherds all my life, my dogs don’t even bother to pull, walking is a breeze.


    Minette Reply:

    teaching the dog how to walk on leash is much better and doesn’t create conflict. Prong collars are lazy


  4. Emiy says:

    My dog goes to daycare occasionally and she loves playing with the other dogs. My problem is when she’s in a playful mood she nips me on the rear like she would do to another dog. It hurts!! How do I stop this?


    Minette Reply:

    work on her obedience so she doesn’t treat you like a dog


  5. Leon says:

    If you need a walker to walk your dog and need to oxygen, you need hire a dog walker to really exercise a 1 year old 60 lb lab, if you can afford it. Maybe, send the dog to a board and train and have a professional train the dog too.


  6. Lee says:

    Start with controlling your dogs meal time. “Once ” a day is enough for a dog that size. NO treats, snacks, good- boy rewards of any size other that extremely limited small( finger nail size ) rewards for good behavior. feed in the a.m. Forget the recommended portion size on the bag…dog food manufactures grossly over estimate the amount for size and weight. Exercise your dog. Take him for a long walk 30 minutes after he’s fed. Repeat in the afternoon and evening giving SMALL rewards for outside elimination. Remove water at nighttime. Insure diet/food is appropriate and not “enriched ” by table scraps.


  7. Nancy says:

    Train your pup to sleep in a kennel at night. Dogs seldom potty where they sleep.


  8. Eileen Zubiller says:

    What makes my dog bark, rear up and whine at other dogs when near them?


    Minette Reply:

    Search my articles of leash reactivity


  9. Cheryl says:

    Check her out at the vet. If she’s ok, take her out right before you go to sleep. Make a huge deal about going to he bathroom. Crate her at night. Take her immediately out in the morning. My dog would leave the bedroom and pee and poop. This stopped it. Then I kept her in the room with a baby gate(or close the door). Give that a try at night.


  10. Molly says:

    Great article – good advice. I would simply disagree with the comment that “prong collars are lazy”. They are definitely not necessary for most dogs to learn but for some they are. The “go the other direction & the dog corrects himself” (which I completely agree with) will not work if the dog doesn’t get the correction. Super strong dogs need a stronger collar to feel anything thereby receiving a correction. Pinch collars are not however, a forever collar. They are for training ONLY. Once a dog is doing well in that collar, training CONTINUES until you have transitioned into a regular flat collar of your choice. Any dog who walks nicely in a prong collar can do the same in a flat collar. The laziness comes in when a handler becomes content with the prong collar & doesn’t complete the training.


    Minette Reply:

    I still think that to rely on a prong collar is lazy and is not “training” I want to teach my dog without the addition of pain


  11. Roxie Hogemark says:

    These are great articles as far as what I can read. the words in the brown area are totally unreadable! even with the blue letters in the brown is unreadable. Maybe try white letters or get rid of the brown strips. thanks for the articles.


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