How Can I Train My Dog to Stop Pulling on Walks?

Training your dog to walk properly on a leash doesn’t happen overnight. It requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. The best way to get your pup to stop pulling is to start with the basics.

Set clear rules and boundaries, get your pup used to the leash, and use positive reinforcement whenever they follow a command. Try taking shorter walks at first and then gradually increase the distance and time. With a little practice and patience, your pup will learn that walking on a loose leash is the only way to go.

Causes of Leash Pulling

Pulling on the leash can be caused by a variety of reasons and understanding why your dog is doing it is the first step to effectively curbing the behavior. Dominance is one of the most common causes of leash pulling as dogs may pull in order to assert their authority or to be in control of the situation. Anxiety is another potential cause of leash pulling as dogs may struggle to cope with different environments and the presence of other dogs or people.

Lack of exercise is often a reason for leash pulling as boredom and pent up energy can lead to dogs feeling the need to explore and pull.

Instinctual behaviors such as chasing after squirrels or other animals can also be a cause of leash pulling. In order to stop your dog from pulling on the leash, it is important to use positive reinforcement. Praise and rewards for good behavior can be helpful in reinforcing desired behaviors and discouraging undesirable behaviors.

Setting rules and boundaries can help your dog to understand and follow expectations. Getting your dog used to the leash by allowing them to play and explore with it on can also help them become more comfortable with it.

When beginning a walk, it is important to start with a goal in mind. If the goal is to walk the entire block, reward your dog after they have successfully completed it.


Dominance is one of the main causes of leash pulling. It’s important for owners to be aware that trying to establish dominance over a dog by punishing them for pulling on the leash is unlikely to be effective and may even worsen the problem. Work on teaching your dog to walk alongside you on a loose leash.

To do this, use positive reinforcement techniques. Give your dog rewards such as treats or verbal praise when they walk in the desired position.

This will encourage good behavior and discourage leash pulling. You can also use a verbal cue to signal when you want your dog to slow down or stop.


If your dog is pulling on the leash due to anxiety, you want to ensure you keep your walks as relaxed and as stress-free as possible. It can be difficult for some dogs to stay calm and focused in environments with a lot of noise and distractions, so you might find it helpful to start your walks in an area that’s quieter.

Make sure to reward your dog when they stay calm and focused on the walk, and take frequent breaks to offer rewards and praise. If your dog is particularly anxious, it’s important to take your time introducing them to new environments. Start small, and gradually increase the time they spend in new places.

If you’re introducing them to a place with a lot of activity, try to keep your pup focused on you and the walk, and use positive reinforcement to reward them when they stay calm. If your pup is anxious, you need to be prepared to take things slow and give them the time they need to adjust to new experiences. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while for your dog to become comfortable with new places, and remember to keep your walks as relaxed and stress-free as possible.

Lack of Exercise

Exercise is critical for a dog’s physical and mental well-being. Dogs who don’t get enough daily physical activity can become bored, restless and frustrated.

This can lead to leash-pulling. Try to make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise—at least an hour a day for smaller breeds and two hours for larger breeds.

If you can’t provide enough exercise for your dog, consider taking them for a walk in the morning before work and in the evening after work. If you don’t have the time, hire a dog walker or try doggie daycare. Don’t forget to give your pup mental exercise as well.

Try playing fetch or hide-and-seek in the house or yard.

You can also feed them meals out of toys or puzzles that require them to work to get food out of. If you’re feeling extra creative, there are plenty of DIY puzzle toys you can make to keep your dog occupied. Making sure your pup is getting enough physical and mental exercise is key to curtail leash-pulling.

Instinctual Behaviors

When dealing with instinctual behaviors, it’s important to remember that all dogs are different. Some dogs may be just naturally more prone to pulling on the leash and ignoring your commands. In these cases, it’s important to be aware of the leash and its purpose.

Dogs will naturally pull on the leash when they are excited, so it’s important to be consistent and set rules for the leash.

This can be done by using positive reinforcement techniques, such as giving your dog treats when they walk correctly on the leash, or setting boundaries by not allowing them to pull on the leash without a command. When training your dog to stop pulling on the leash, consistency is key. Make sure to walk your dog the same way every day and use the same commands and hand signals.

This will help your dog learn that there are rules and boundaries when it comes to leash walking.

It’s important to get your dog used to the leash. You can do this by getting your dog accustomed to wearing the leash around the house, and having them follow you around while wearing it. It’s important to start walking your dog after they’ve learned the rules and boundaries.

Make sure to start slowly and use vocal commands and hand signals to encourage your dog to follow. If your dog starts to pull, stop and give them treats or praise when they obey. With patience and consistency, your dog will soon be walking properly on the leash.

Strategies for Stopping Leash Pulling

To help your pup stop pulling on walks, use positive reinforcement to make it a rewardable experience. Reward your pup with treats and attention when they’re walking without pulling. This will give them something to look forward to, encouraging good behavior in the process.

Make sure to set rules and boundaries for your pup so they know what to expect.

That way, you can both stay on the same page about the behavior that’s expected. To get your pup used to the leash, introduce it slowly and at their own pace. Let them investigate it and offer treats for good behavior.

Once they’re used to it, start by taking a few small steps in the house, and increase the distance and amount of time spent outside as they become more comfortable.

When it’s time to hit the pavement, start with short walks and slowly work your way up. This will help your pup become more comfortable with the routine, and reduce the likelihood of leash pulling. Whenever your pup pulls on the leash, stop walking.

This will let them know that you won’t tolerate that type of behavior. Make sure to remain consistent and firm, and reward your pup whenever they do well. With consistent training, you and your pup will soon be walking in harmony.

Use Positive Reinforcement

When training your dog to stop pulling, positive reinforcement is key. Instead of punishing your pup for pulling, reward them when they are walking nicely on the leash.

Praise them when they make the right decision and reward them with treats or their favorite toy. It’s important to be consistent and use positive reinforcement each time your dog walks nicely. If you reward them for walking properly, they will learn that this behavior is desirable and will do it more often.

Another important thing to remember is to set rules and boundaries for your pup. Establish a few basic rules to help your pup understand the expectations.

Set a rule that your dog must stay by your side at all times on walks.

If they begin to pull, immediately use your commands to get them back in line. Setting rules and boundaries will help your pup understand what is expected of them and will prevent them from pulling.

It’s important to get your pup used to their leash and the idea of walking with it. When you first start leash training, it can be helpful to use a clicker or whistle to help your pup stay focused.

Once your dog is used to the leash and your commands, you can start walking together. Start out with short walks and gradually increase the distance. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, your pup will learn how to walk properly on a leash.

Set Rules and Boundaries

Setting rules and boundaries is essential to successful leash training. Start by setting some rules for your dog from the get-go and make sure you stick to them.

If your dog pulls, immediately stop and make them sit for a few seconds before continuing. This will let your dog know that pulling won’t get them where they want to go. Teaching commands like ‘heel’ or ‘walk’ will help your dog understand what is expected of them.

You can also implement treats as a reward for good behavior. It’s also important to remember to be consistent – if you let your dog behave one way one day and another the next, they won’t learn the behavior you want. So keep your rules consistent and your dog will learn how to walk on a leash in no time.

Get Your Dog Used to the Leash

Take your time to get your pup used to the leash. Start by introducing the leash to your dog, rewarding them with treats and praise when they come close to it, and not when they back away.

Make sure they understand the leash isn’t a threat, and they can even play with it. You can also let them wear the leash indoors at first, and you can reward them for not pulling or chewing on it.

With these steps, your pup will be super comfortable with their new leash and be ready for the next step. Once your pup is used to the leash, it’s time to start walking!

Before you step out the door, make sure your pup is calm and relaxed. This will allow them to start the walk on the right foot, literally and figuratively. As you start walking, it’s important to keep your pup on your left side, with even tension on the leash.

This will give your pup the understanding that you’re the one in charge and following you is the only option. If your pup starts to pull, stop, and don’t move until your pup calms down.

When it comes to leash training your pup, consistency is key. Avoid stopping and starting several times in one walk, as it can confuse your pup and make your job harder.

You also don’t want to drag your pup, as this can be harmful and cause injury. Be firm but gentle and use positive reinforcement to reward your pup when they do good. With these tips in mind, you’ll have a leash-trained pup in no time!

Start Walking

Start your journey with your pup by taking a few steps. Be sure that you are walking at a comfortable pace for both of you, and keep your hands free. You may want to use a no-pull harness and/or leash for extra security.

If your pup begins to pull in the opposite direction, stop walking and wait for them to return to your side. When they do, give them lots of verbal praise and/or treats.

This will encourage them to stay by your side and will be a cue that good behavior is being rewarded. Be consistent and patient, and your pup will eventually get the hang of it.

Megan Turner

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