Keeping your dog leashed while walking in public places helps them stay safe, clean, and disease-free. But what if you don’t even have the confidence to get your pup outside because they walk you instead of you walking them?
Without proper leash training and good manners, dogs will end up pulling on their leash while walking. The bigger the dog, the bigger the problem. Keeping your dog under control while out on walks is very important for your safety and theirs.
In this blog, we will review things you can do when your dog pulls on their leash, so you can enjoy your walks instead of dreading being yanked around.
Stop Moving Forward When Your Dog Pulls On Their Leash
If your dog is pulling on its leash the moment you step outside, it is likely that they will continue to do so during your entire walk. The leash should be nice and loose. If you are pulling tightly on the leash and your dog is pulling you, they can feel that tension. If your dog is wearing a flat collar this is not good for their neck area.
The first thing you need to do once they pull is to stop moving forward and don’t let your dog pull you forward. It is possible that once they stop walking, they will whine a little bit. Do not start walking if they begin to whine. You will only reinforce that whining gets your dog whatever they want at that time.
Once your dog is quiet, you can proceed and start walking. If they start pulling again, you must repeat the process. This can take a few tries before your dog gets the message that pulling literally gets them nowhere.
Use A Head Collar or Front-Attachment Harness
In addition to training your dog to walk on a leash properly, you can invest in tools such as a head collar or front-attachment harness if your dog pulls on their leash really badly. A head harness essentially slips around the front of your muzzle for extra control. Dogs will lead with their noses. Using a head collar allows you to control your dog much easier as opposed to using a flat neck collar.
A front attachment harness controls your dogs’ shoulders and chest area. Essentially, a front clip harness pulls your dogs’ shoulders back once they start pulling which can be uncomfortable for them, but it will, in turn, discourage them from pulling while out on walks. This harness also gives you more control over your dog, allowing them to walk next to you rather than in front of you. Don’t forget to reward your dog with treats when they show desirable behaviour!
Practice By Walking Around Your Yard
It can be really distracting for your dog to practice walking nicely on their leash while you are out in your neighbourhood. There are other dogs, so many smells and sights to see. It can be hard to train your dog in that kind of environment.
You can practice proper leash manners by walking around in your front or back yard. Since this is an area your dog is familiar with, they will be less likely to want to run off to the next exciting thing! You can also feed your dog treats as they sniff around and go potty in the appropriate place. This is great if you have a puppy because it will help reinforce potty training.
The last tip you’ll need when training a dog who pulls on their leash is patience. Dog training, in general, depends on a few factors such as your dogs’ age and breed.
Keep in mind that not all dog walking equipment works on all dogs. You may have to try different products until you find the best one for your dog. For dogs within the same breed, a head halter will work for one and a harness for another.
Training a dog that pulls on its leash may take four to twelve months to correct. However, with you and your pup’s determination to practice every day, you’ll soon be able to enjoy walking around with confidence and ease! Never depend on any punitive measures to correct any sort of unwanted behaviour. Choke or prong collars are not nice to have around your dogs’ neck. There are much better ways to help your dog learn to walk nicely on their leash!
PRO TIP: Keep your package and receipts for any new harnesses you buy. Give the products a try, and give your dog a fair chance to make them work. if it doesn’t work out, pack it up and return it. Most pet stores are very good with taking products back. With practice, patience and the right tools you and your dog will enjoy many happy walks together! Check out our blog on the importance of daily dog walks. Walking outside is a wonderful training opportunity and also gives your dog that much-needed stimulation. Let us know if you need help with dog walks during the day!
Morag is the owner and founder of York Regions most trusted premier in-home pet care and dog walking companies. In 2000 she saw a need for an alternative to kennels, catteries for family pets in the area and has always believed that pets are much happier and less stressed staying in their own familiar environment. Morag and her team are all certified in Pet 1st Aid and CPR, she also offers continuous training to her team members through online and hands on pet care and pet behaviour and care courses. Morag has earned her certificate in Professional Pet Sitting, Professional Dog Walking and Canine Attendant training. She has lived in the Newmarket/Aurora area since 1991 is a wife, a mother of 2 adult children and a grandmother of 2 delightful little balls of energy. She has also been owned by fish, birds, mice, rats, cats, dogs, gerbils and guinea pigs and is an advocate for all living creatures. In her spare time she likes to be involved in her community and events travelling, reading and cooking.