To stop your pooch from pulling you along during your walks, provide him with rewards to keep him at your side and use training aides, including special collars and harnesses to keep your pooch from pulling in the first place. Some types of leashes can help with training, but the type of leash you use won’t affect the reason why your pup is pulling on it. The only way to truly teach your dog that pulling is not acceptable during walks is with the use of rewards and positive training methods.
Choosing the Right Leash
You’ll find several types of leashes on the market for dogs who pull, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
- A long line ranges from 10 to 60 feet in length. The line allows you to keep control of your pooch while leaving the line slack, but may not be appropriate for busy, high-traffic areas.
- A bungee leash is made from stretchy material to reduce the chance of injury if your pup pulls on it, but won’t stop him from pulling.
- A retractable leash gives your pup lots of freedom to explore his environment without pulling. They’re best used in fenced areas because they easily can break and doesn’t give you a lot of control over your dog.
Using Training Aides
No-pull harnesses and collars help to discourage pulling, according to the PetExpertise website.
A head halter collar has straps that go around your pup’s nose and neck. It pulls his nose down and back toward you when he pulls, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
Front-hook chest-led halters fit across your dog’s chest and pull him back toward you when he pulls on his leash, according to dog trainer Victoria Stilwell of Positively.com.
Other no-pull chest harnesses put pressure on your dog’s front legs and chest if he pulls, according to the Dumb Friends League Animal Behavior Department.
Use training collars and harnesses with a normal leash that's 6 feet or less.
Training with Rewards
Train your pup not to pull on his leash using treats and praise, recommends the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
- Hold some treats in your hand.
- Let your dog smell the treats and keep your hand by your side. This should keep your pooch by your side.
- Give your pup a treat and some praise if he walks a few steps at your side without pulling on his leash.
- Gradually increase the number of steps your pup must walk without pulling before he gets a treat.
Stopping and Changing Direction
Make leash pulling unrewarding for your pooch.
- Stop and command your pup to “sit” if he pulls on his leash. Start again and only reward your pup if he continues at your pace. Your dog will learn that pulling stops the fun.
- When your dog pulls on his leash, immediately change direction and walk in the opposite direction to where you were heading, recommends Stilwell. This takes your pooch away from whatever he got excited about, thus making pulling undesirable.
Avoid sudden jerks of the leash, which could injure your dog, especially if you are using a head halter or no-pull harness.