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How To Stop My Dog Pulling On The Lead

Walkies are always fun when you’re a dog. Especially for puppies.

What’s not to love? They get to go outside, run around, play games, and, if they’re lucky, have a few treats too!

So, heading out together should always be a positive experience.

But if your dog has yet to get to grips with their training, it might be that you’re experiencing a few teething problems. Behaviour such as pulling on the lead is only natural. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help your dog learn to walk nicely by your side.

Why do dogs pull on the lead?

Puppies are curious creatures and so it’s inevitable that they’ll want to explore everything that’s around them.

And so far, they’ve learnt that moving forwards is how they get to where they want to go!

Of course, it’s great to help them learn about the world but it’s vital that they respond to your commands. That way, you’ll be able to stay in control as well as prevent them from doing anything that could cause them any harm.

So, even though they might be able to wander freely at home or around the garden, they need to learn that when they’re on their lead, they need to walk nicely with a loose lead, and not pull.

golden retriever on a walk on a lead with its owner

How to stop your dog from pulling

If your dog keeps pulling on their lead, it’s most likely because they have learnt that this works as a strategy in getting to go where they want to go.

So, the first step is to teach them that this is no longer going to work.

Start your training somewhere quiet, away from distractions and somewhere that’s calm too. This will help your dog maintain their focus.

Every time your dog pulls on the lead, stop and keep quiet. This will let your dog know that pulling on the lead will not help them move forward.

Only continue when the lead goes slack again.

When you start out, reward your dog regularly for walking nicely on the lead. Make sure you don’t actually stop to give them their treat – otherwise they could get confused as to why they’re being rewarded.

As your dog gets better at walking nicely on the lead, you won’t need to reward them as often. Keep treats in a little treat bag so you can keep them close to hand.

Make sure you reward them consistently and only reward good behaviour. Keep practising regularly and be aware of certain changes that might affect your dog’s understanding of what they’re being told to do. For example, you will need to do this with them every time you go out for a walk, not just occasionally.

So, make sure you set aside a good amount of time for walkies so you don’t miss out on training.

Having the right lead

Unfortunately, there is no magic cure for stopping your dog from pulling on their lead. It simply takes time, patience and training.

The best lead to choose is always the one that’s the most comfortable for your dog. Some dogs may prefer a harness, for most, a lead will be perfectly suitable.

The main thing to remember is that your dog needs to learn that pulling isn’t going to work. So, if you have a strong dog that can easily drag you about, you might want to consider a different style of lead such as a close control lead or a Hands Free Adjustable Dog Lead that wraps around your waist.

When starting out, it’s also important that you do all your training using the same lead if possible. This is just so they don’t get confused and start associating different behaviours with different leads.

dog on a lead on a walk with its owner through a lovely park

Positive reinforcement goes a long way

Remember, when training your dog, positive reinforcement is always the way to go. Never tell your dog off or do anything that will cause them distress. Tugging on the lead or raising your voice will upset your dog and it won’t help train them at all. In fact, it will most likely just make them anxious which will cause further problems.

Be consistent with your training and in the beginning, always remember to reward good behaviour. If your dog is continuing to pull, simply stand still until they have stopped. Or you can distract them until they are ready to try again.

The younger your dog is, the more tired they will get so try not to do too much at once. Persevere, use a calm voice and in time, you’ll get there.

Need help? Having the advice of a professional will always benefit you and your dog. You can find a list of local dog trainers in the UK on the Association of Pet Dog Trainers website.

Posted in Dogs