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Ways to Stop Your Dog From Pulling on His Leash

Updated on June 11, 2015


Taking your dog for a walk in the park on a beautiful spring day is one of life's pleasures. However it's no fun at all if the dog drags you behind him, pulling at the end of his leash like a sled dog, gagging and panting. Practicing just a few elementary principles will end this behavior, and have you and your companion hitting the trails in no time!


Be Interesting to Your Dog

You need to be of greater interest to your dog than whatever else is "out there". When he tightens the leash, tease him back with a toy, show him a treat and have him loosen the leash by moving in towards you. Always praise your dog profusely when he chooses to come to you and never make the mistake of correcting or punishing him for a previous wrong when he approaches you. If you need to correct your dog, you approach him.

Create a Consequence

Dogs naturally learn through cause and effect. Anchor the leash to your body by putting your thumb in your belt loop. Walk with the dog. When the dog hits the end of the leash, causing it to tighten, stop walking. Do not move forward until the dog moves back in towards you, loosening the leash himself. Each time he tightens the leash, stop all forward movement. He will learn that the best way to get to go where he wishes is by choosing to keep the leash loose.

Use a Prong or Pinch Collar

The use of prong or pinch collars hastens the lessons of step 2 above. A prong collar is actually quite humane when used correctly, as it allows for quicker, clearer communication, similar of that from one dog to another. Use the pinch collar in conjunction with the dog's regular collar, so that as he learns, you can switch from one to the other. Contrary to popular opinion, it does not need to be "tight and high on the neck". Adjust it so that it's loose enough to simply slide over the dog's head without being taken apart.

Be Consistent

Dogs are a lot like small children. They want to know the rules and are quick to spot the loopholes. The more consistent you are in setting and enforcing these rules, the more quickly your dog will respond.

Teach the Dog to Come to His Name

Put the dog on a long line and carry toys and/or treats. Teach him to turn and run to you IMMEDIATELY whenever you call his name. If he doesn't turn and come immediately, pop him towards you by means of the long line. Insist he ALWAYS come whenever you say his name ... not only could this save his life one day, but tool in loose leash walking. When he pulls on the leash, call his name so he will step in and loosen it, thus earning the dual reward of treats and forward movement.

Final Thoughts


It helps if you start this process with a dog that has already run off the majority of his excess energy, playing ball or running in the back yard.

Practice! These lessons can be repeated two-three time a day. Most dog will show great improvement within a day or two and be walking consistently on a loose leash within a week.

Avoid using a harness or a head halter. Harnesses actually encourage a dog to pull, and halters teach little, cause the dog to paw at his face and can lead to corneal abrasions.


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    • Cathi Sutton profile image

      Cathi Sutton 

      4 years ago

      I read it, and Thanks so much!

    • Brett Winn profile imageAUTHOR

      Brett Winn 

      4 years ago from US

      Oops ... might have goofed, sent you a long reply, but it was on your other comment, to the dog attack article!

    • Cathi Sutton profile image

      Cathi Sutton 

      4 years ago

      Great tips! Our Sheltie doesn't like the leash at all! Rather than pulling, he jumps, shakes, and tries to get free from it altogether!

      Would a prong collar be helpful with him? He is the first dog we have owned who is opposed to walking on a leash, so I have no experience with his type of behavior.

      He is a very smart dog, and has learned quickly in all other areas, except the leash (and not enjoying riding in the car).

      Any suggestions would be very appreciated!

    • Brett Winn profile imageAUTHOR

      Brett Winn 

      6 years ago from US

      Mr.dogtrainer ... thank you for your comment! I first learned to use a loose prong at a seminar with Celeste Meade. She placed fifth in the world a few years ago in Obedience at Crufts ... her website is I've been to three of her seminars now, and highly recommend her, and recommend HER mentor, Sylvia Bishop, even more highly. Sylvia is the most decorated dog obedience trainer in the world, and next year will be her last to teach seminars in America. Best of luck to you in your training endeavors! PS I keep my prongs covered with with a velvet tube (elastic cut large hair scrunchy) so no worry about eye poking. I put them on turned inside out (prongs out) and only flip it to prongs in position when I need the emphasis.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Just wondering if you have a source or reference for the prong now being used ''loose''? I have never heard it used that way and I have been training for 20 plus years.. and I would NEVER EVER recommend taking it off without snapping it off, very dangerous! It could easily poke an eye!

    • fornalina profile image

      Katarzyna Silny 

      7 years ago from Poznan, Poland

      I used to have problems with my dog when we were going for a walk. She would pull hell leash and of course me too since I wasn't strong enough to stop her. But I think that she somehow grew up and now she is really obedient and doesn't pull her leash anymore.


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