How to stop your dog pulling on the lead

stop a dog pulling on the lead

Have you ever been on walks where you can't stop a dog pulling on the lead? It can be tiring and extremely frustrating, especially with larger dogs.

Why do some dogs pull on the lead, while others walk nicely at heel?

A lot has to do with how much time the owners have spent training their dog to walk on a lead. If a dog is allowed to run off the lead most of the time, it will be difficult to put it on a lead and expect walking to heel. Training is required, but there are other factors at work here too.

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Professional dog trainer Dan "Doggy Dan" Abdelnoor tells us just what is going through the dog's mind while he is trying to pull you down the street to the local park. He explains...

Understanding how to stop your dog from pulling on the lead is something that every dog owner, house sitter or dog walker needs to overcome in order to be able to walk a dog in an enjoyable manner.

Many other dog behavioral problems stem from the fact that your dog is dragging you along the street. To put it simply, your dog thinks it is in charge of the walk, or in dog terms it sees itself as the pack leader!

There are so many gadgets, including leads and collars proclaiming to help, but none of these can solve the problem if your dog thinks it is in charge. All these devices do is attempt to divert your dogs energy elsewhere or cause pain, in an attempt to stop your dog from pulling.

Constant correction when walking your dog isn't good

If you find yourself having to correct your dog every 30 seconds, then there is something fundamentally wrong.

The funny thing is this... your dog knows how to walk nicely on a lead. However, there is more to this dynamic than simple training. You have to first convince your dog that you are the pack leader.

Training dogs on leads

Think of it like this. Your dog understands that on the walk, somebody has to be the leader, and your dog is simply taking both the initiative, and the lead!

It is more of a psychological battle than a physical one, or at least it should be. This first stage of the walk is actually ensuring that you are the pack leader inside the house before you look to venture outside.

As far as your dog is concerned, if you are not in control inside the house, then he simply won't let you take control of the walk outside the house. In the dog's mind, being outside is a far more dangerous place, than being in the "den", so if you don't take on that leadership role, he feels the need to be even more in control!


8 tips to stop your dog pulling on the lead

  1. After bringing out your dog's lead, wait until your dog calms down, even if this takes a while. Only attach the lead when your dog is calm. Never rush this stage.
  2. You need to first learn how to stop your dog from pulling inside your house or property before going outside – there is a great video below that shows all of this.
  3. Walk first around the house going around the tables and furniture in your house with your dog following you.
  4. If your dog pulls out in front of you then simply change direction, leaving your dog behind you.
  5. If your dog drags backwards then gently hold the lead firm for 10 seconds then call your dog to follow. He will have no other option and will follow you if you are patient.
  6. Control the doorways – you should always walk through the doorways first when your dog is on the lead.
  7. Practice walking in and out of the front doorway with you going first – keep doing this until your dog relaxes and gives up waiting for you to make the next move.
  8. Check your posture – make sure that you are relaxed and calm and that your shoulder is down and arm is straight at the elbow.

Of course there's a big difference between reading about this, and actually seeing it in action!

Whilst I write all this advice, there's nothing like seeing it in action - so here's a video which does just that:

This video is Part 1 of a FREE 5-part video series Doggy Dan has kindly provided for readers of House Sitting Magazine.

You can access the complete course at the link below - it not only shows how to train a dog not to pull on the lead but helps with some other common behavioral problems too:

BIO - daniel "doggy dan" abdelnoor

"Doggy Dan", from Auckland, New Zealand, is a well-known dog behaviorist who has spent many years studying canine behavior and psychology. He's the creator of the highly acclaimed Doggy Dan’s “The Online Dog Trainer” video course, which aims to help dog owners overcome any negative aspects of owning a dog. Dan is also a highly regarded author, celebrity dog trainer and a staunch animal rights activist. Find out more about Dan at his website here:

Last updated on May 3rd, 2020

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