Female dog pulling on leash
Source: annamarias, Shutterstock


Whether you're a morning walker or you fit it in after work, a nice, leisurely stroll with your furry little friend can be both relaxing and peaceful. However, all of that can go by the wayside if your dog starts pulling on their leash. Dogs naturally want to explore, smell and take in their surroundings when getting away from the indoor dog grass pad. It is exciting to be out of the house, so pulling you along with them is natural. The problem with allowing your dog to pull on their leash is it established undesirable behavior outside, which can end up back inside. So, if you're taking a break from the indoor grass for dogs but your dog pulls on their leash, here are a few tips and tricks to stop your dog pulling on the lead. 


Word of Caution Before Starting


It is human instinct to move on to the next training method if instant results are not obtained. While it is true different dogs learn in different ways, if you stop one training method as soon as you start it your pup will become confused and not know what to do. Stick with one training method, offer positive reinforcement and remember to focus on yourself just as much as your dog, as your own body language can affect how your pet reacts. By keeping all of this in mind before you start leash training, you'll already be well on your way. 


The Right Leash and Collar


Pick out the right leash and collar for your dog. Do you have a big, powerful dog that is difficult to control once they get going? Look towards a chest harness. This helps distribute weight around the shoulders and back, giving you more leverage to control your dog. There's nothing wrong with the old fashion collar, as long as you can control your dog and they don't control you. 


If you grew up with dogs, there is a good chance your parents used a choke collar. While this has proven successful in the past, it also can cause problems, both for your dog's walking abilities and with health issues as well. When an animal is corned and trapped in the wild, it is their nature to do what they can to get away. On a walk, if your dog pulls and the choke collar restricts their air flow, it is only natural for them to try and pull harder to get out of it. For some it may eventually work as a dog learns that not pulling leads to being to breathe easily. However, other methods for training your dog are both faster and healthier for your dog, so avoid choke collars whenever possible. 


Don't Let Them Reward Themselves


When a dog pulls, they are excited. Sometimes they are just excited to be outside and pull no matter what. Other times your dog pulls in order to smell the spot of grass on the other side of the sidewalk, or they want to investigate a squirrel hiding under the bushes up ahead. If your dog begins to pull, don't reward them and allow them to go where they want. If your dog learns they can pull and arrive where they want, it teaches them that pulling works. While you want your dog to be happy, don't just let them go where they want. You are in control of the walk. When your dog discovers they are not able to go where they want, your dog's pulling on the lead will become less severe. 


Stop and Start


If you're someone who likes to walk as fast as you can in order to complete the walk quicker, you'll need to train yourself just as much as your dog. Your dog can sense you're in a hurry and will likewise increase their pace. Consider taking a walk on your own if you want to fit in more outdoor time. At least until your dog is ready to go on longer walks without pulling. With the stop and start tip, allow your dog to walk by your side, then once they begin to pull stop the walk completely. Wait for the leash to go slack before starting back up. Eventually your dog will learn the only way the walk continues is if there isn't tension on the leash. 


One tactic to consider while using stop and start is to reward your pup with a little trainer treat when they walk beside you. You can give him more of these treats towards the beginning of training, but slowly work them off. If you don't, they'll just begin to pester you for more treats during the walk, and then you have a different problem. So once your dog is use to walking by your side for a treat, don't give the treat for simply walking next to you. Give them a treat when they don't bark or run towards another dog, or they let the rabbit cross the street without lunging. It is all about positive reinforcements. Your dog will learn faster through positive reinforcement over negative reinforcement. 


Switch It Up


Taking the same route is easy. You know the distance, the people who will most likely be out and how long it takes. Your dog also becomes accustomed to the sights and smells. Over time, if you were to let them off their leash they probably could lead the way back home. It's fine to take the same route when first training, but as your dog begins to stop pulling it is important for you to switch it up. Your dog might becoming a better walking, or they are just use to the path and have no reason to pull. It is important to keep it interesting. Not only does your dog like to see new areas and smell different grass patches for dogs, but it will help continue their training.


By keeping your pup on their toes, they will need to learn to always expect the unexpected and to listen to you for your instructions at all times. Should you walk the same path day after day, they will become accustomed to walking the path without listening to you, which causes problems should you need to switch it up as they might revert back to their former, leash pulling self. Switching it up keeps your dog learning and focused. 


Short Training


A great way to train your dog is in the sidewalk in front of your house, or even in a parking lot. Place a dog treat down the sidewalk a bit, but close enough for your dog to eventually see or smell the treat. When their senses take notice of the treat they will try to pull. As soon as they begin doing this stop and return to the starting line. Repeat the process. Keep going down the path until your dog begins to pull and begin again each time. Eventually, your dog will catch on that the pulling is what is preventing them from going after their treat. It might take practice, but your dog will catch on and the pulling will become a non factor. 


A walk with your dog is a loving activity. Your pet loves spending time outside with you and wants to enjoy it with you. However, far too many people simply put their dogs on the leash and go, paying little to no mind of their dog until they have to pick up after them. Make sure to talk to your dog. Tell them they do a good job. If they look back at you say something to them and let them know you are proud of them. Dogs are some of the most affectionate animals on the planet and most of what they do they do for you. So let them know you are on the walk together and not just there in the same space. Even if you have headphones in, make it a bonding time by maintaining communication. 


Even if you live in a big city and your pup spends most of his or her time inside, using the dog grass pad and living in an apartment, getting outside and on a leash is important. Your dog will likely show excitement and try to pull while on the leash, but as long as you know how to handle this and how to train them, you both will be better off. So take advantage of these training tips. You and your pup will enjoy the walk that much more.