Leash-pulling can be frustrating and stressful—both for you and your dog. Learn how to stop your dog from pulling on its leash here.
Walking your dog is like taking your dog out for a date. It's quality time that you and your dog can enjoy together, taking in the smells and sights of the outdoors. Unfortunately, many dog owners do not enjoy walking their dogs because they pull on their leashes.
Dogs are always SO excited to be out with you and experience new smells, people, and surroundings. But, if your dog pulls, it could actually damage their trachea and lead to an injury. So, it's best for you and your dog if you teach them how to walk nicely on the leash.
Let your walking fears disappear as you read this informative guide on how to stop your dog from pulling on the leash and learn loose leash walking!
Why Does My Dog Pull On The Leash?
Usually, dogs pull on the leash because they are excited. When you take your dog for a trip outside the house, they can't wait to meet other dogs and people. And they can't wait to smell all the exciting outdoor scents too.
Harnesses, collars, and leashes aren't natural for dogs, and they don't know how to behave on the leash without proper guidance. As their pack leader, it's your responsibility to lead and guide your dog using a loose leash.
How Can I Help My Dog To Stop Pulling On The Leash?
You should take a two-fold approach to stop your dog from pulling on the leash. You should invest in the right tools and also research the best training practices to teach your dog not to pull on the leash.
Below are some tips for providing your dog with the right tools to stop them from pulling.
Get The Right Tools
Here are the tools that you should use to encourage loose leash walking and minimize your dog pulling. Dog ownership requires training and tools to ensure that you and your dog are always safe. You should always ensure that you get the right size collar or harness for your dog.
Longer leashes or retractable leashes can often inhibit good leash manners. Giving your dog plenty of room to roam on a retractable leash will encourage them to take charge while walking, rather than listening to you and following your lead. You should invest in a short leash to keep your dog close and encourage them to walk nicely by your side at all times.
Many dogs pull strongly, so collars may not be the best idea for their training. Using a collar on a dog that already knows how to walk nicely is best. If your dog pulls firmly on the leash, the collar will tighten around its throat, leading to potential trachea collapse or injury.
Many owners walk their dogs using a collar and leash and lots of these owners leave the collar too loose, leaving their dog's collar sitting too low and giving them more pulling power. To resolve this, you should use the two-finger rule when tightening your dog's collar—you should be able to fit no more than two fingers between your dog’s neck and its collar.
Harnesses are the safest option for dogs who pull. Most dogs have sensitive necks, and a harness offers full-body support. You can safely guide your dog in the right direction with a front clip harness and avoid choking them.
The Neewa no-pull dog harness is specifically tailored to discourage your dog from pulling while ensuring that they are comfortable and preventing injury. A front clip harness makes it less comfortable for your dog to pull.
Owners with larger breeds can have difficulty encouraging loose leash walking. Most dogs do not pull that strongly, and a small dog is easy to control. But, larger dogs can endanger their owners with a strong pull and tight leash.
A head collar is a cruelty-free way to ensure that your dog not only won't pull but can't pull strongly enough or keep the leash tight enough to bowl you over. By using a head collar, your dog's pulling will cause its head to turn. Turning their head will distract them and ensure that they can't go running off in a forward direction.
Get The Right Training Approach
You need to take a reward-oriented approach to train your dog to walk nicely on the leash. You should not reinforce your dog's negative pulling behavior. Instead, you should prevent them from getting where they're trying to go and reward good behavior. The American Kennel Club supports training that reinforces good behavior. In the rest of this post, we will discuss how you can use positive reinforcement to guide your dog and teach them that walking nicely is a positive behavior that will get them many rewards.
Prong collars, electronic collars, and other training tools that involve punishment are not always the best way forward. It's best to make sure that your dog understands that constantly pulling is not good behavior and that they should remain calm and walk perfectly to receive affection, rewards, and a sniff of whatever good stuff they're after in the first place.
5 Tips For Training Your Dog To Stop Leash Pulling
We have prepared the 5 best tips to help you to train your dog to stop leash pulling and ensure that your dog's attention is always on you. Implement these tips, watch your dog become polite on the leash, and master loose leash walking.
Change Direction When Your Dog Pulls
When your dog pulls, they are trying to get to something. The best way to train your dog not to do this is to change direction when they pull. By moving in the opposite direction, you are teaching your dog that pulling isn't the way to get to other animals. Dog training teaches your dog that impolite behavior will not get them the reward that they seek. You should be slightly ahead of your dog when walking, and your dog should be looking up at you every few steps.
Exercise With Your Dog Before Walking
One of dog owners' worst mistakes to make before taking their dogs for a walk is getting them excited. If your dog is already excited, it will be more challenging to control. To reduce your dog's excitement, you should eliminate the word 'walkies' from your vocabulary. Once your dog hears this word, they get overexcited. It can be fun to watch their excitement, but you will soon regret it when your dog is pulling your arm off.
Instead of using the 'walkies' word, you should try exercising with your dog before walking. Playing a game of fetch in the house or in your yard will quell your dog's excitement and increase their engagement.
You need your dog to look at you for guidance during your walk and always follow your lead. For this reason, once you have put your dog's leash on, you should tell them to sit at the door or gate and look at you before leaving. Wait until they are calm and focused on you and you alone before you leave for your walk.
Don’t Reinforce The Bad Behaviour Of Your Dog
Your dog is pulling to get some kind of reward. Whether this is to urinate, smell something, or meet the dog across the road. If your dog learns that pulling on the leash allows them to get this reward, it will keep doing it.
To encourage a loose leash walk, you should not allow your dog to get to where they want to go until they have stopped pulling. Once they are focused and patient, you can let them sniff the other dog or the grass that they're dying to check out.
Incorporate Scheduled Smell Stops
Stopping your dog from pulling on the leash doesn't mean your dog shouldn't be able to sniff at all. You just need to teach your dog when it's time to sniff. So, incorporate scheduled smell stops into your walking routine. Your dog will quickly learn the areas for sniffing and areas for walking.
Dogs are smart and may begin to pull again when you arrive at the sniffing destination. Keep changing direction at this destination if they exhibit pulling behavior.
Reward The Good Behavior Of Your Dog
When your dog is walking nicely on a loose leash, it's time for a reward. A certified professional dog trainer will always recommend using treats and verbal reinforcement to let your dog know that you are pleased with its behavior.
Dog training doesn't have to be a chore—it is a chance for you to bond with your dog and establish a lasting connection. Your dog likes to please you, and they love receiving affection and rewards for their excellent behavior.
Dog pulling can be a nuisance. Training dogs to walk nicely will help you to enjoy your dog walk without a sore arm. Your dog doesn't mean to pull; they are excited and don't know any better. Dogs learn best with positive training methods, so keep the above tips in mind to ensure everyone's safety during your walk and to make people jealous of your well-behaved and lovely dog. You can explore all of the different types of harnesses available here.