5 Tips to Stop Your Dog From Pulling on the Leash
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!
Don’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!
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
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.
IF HE IS PAYING ATTENTION TO YOU, HE ISN’T PAYING ATTENTION TO EVERYTHING ELSE AROUND HIM!!!
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!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.