Teaching Dogs Not to Pull on Leash
Choosing the Right Walking Equipment
While you’re teaching your dog not to pull, you should use a four-foot or
six-foot leash. Use whichever width and material that feel comfortable to you.
Extendable leashes and leashes longer than six feet are great for exercising
dogs, but they don’t work well if you’re trying to teach your dog not to pull
- Regular buckle or snap collar
- Martingale collar (also called a limited slip collar or greyhound
- Head halter/head collar (such as the Halti®, the Gentle Leader® and the
Snoot Loop®) Please notethat these are only suitable for
Options One and Two. Serious injury could result if they are used with
punishment methods using leash jerking.
- No-pull harness (such as the SENSE-ation®, the Easy Walk® or the
Head halters and no-pull harnesses can decrease pulling enough for you
without any additional training. They are effective tools, making walks more
pleasant for you and your dog, so some people decide not to train at all. Just
keep in mind that if you choose to use them without training, they won’t have
any effect on pulling when your dog is not wearing the equipment. Dogs
learn very specifically. If they learn not to pull while wearing a head halter,
they won’t automatically know not to pull when they’re wearing something else,
like a flat collar.
- Regular body harness (Actually encourages pulling)
- Fabric or metal choke/check collar (May be effective for your dog if used
under the guidance of a Certified Professional Dog Trainer)
- A pinch/prong collar (May be effective for your dog if used under the
guidance of a Certified Professional Dog Trainer)
Dogs Who Resist Walking on Leash
Some dogs seem reluctant to walk on leash. Instead of pulling, they freeze
or turn around and pull back toward home. Often these dogs are fearful, and
they need help feeling comfortable when walking on leash.
- Try leading your dog along by holding tasty treats in front of his nose. If
he isn’t too afraid, he’ll follow the treats and gradually become more
comfortable walking with you.
- When your dog freezes, you can also try stopping a few feet in front of
your dog and waiting. If he shows any signs of moving toward you, say “Yes!”
and reach toward him to deliver a treat. Walk a few more feet away and again
wait for your dog to voluntarily move toward you. Praise and reward him only
for forward movement.
- A third technique is appropriate only for small- to medium-sized dogs who
walk for stretches at a time but then balk for no apparent reason. Have your
dog wear a regular body harness. When he stops walking, pick him up by the back
of the harness and move him a few feet along. This may “jump start” your dog to
move again. Say “Yes!” and treat when the dog begins to move again on his own.
Try to anticipate when the dog will balk and lure him along with treats so that
he never stops.