Dog Pulling On Leash Nothing Works: How I stopped to get my dog to stop pulling on the leash

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If there’s one thing I envy at the park, it’s seeing perfectly behaved dogs walking alongside their owners. Another dog on the way? It doesn’t bother them in the least. Is that a trio of giddy kids approaching? The dog appears to be unconcerned.

My dog and I used to be diametrically opposed. On walks, I was the lady who was desperately trying to keep my dog calm. When someone walked by, I’d be the one holding her back with all my might, and I was the one with a tight grip even when nothing “exciting” was around because pulling had become her default on walks.

But a few years back, I finally discovered some helpful hints. I discovered some methods that worked after reading and watching everything I could find on the subject. We’ll talk about why dogs pull on the leash, how to stop them, and why consistency is so important. This is how I got my dog to stop pulling on the leash.

What Causes Dogs to Pull on the Leash?

Before we get into how to stop your dog from pulling on the leash, let’s take a look at why dogs pull in the first place. Understanding why dogs pull on the leash in the first place, and how we might be inadvertently encouraging it, can help us better begin the behavior.

It is normal canine behavior for dogs to pull on the leash. Is it appealing? No, but they are used to it. Pulling them gets them where they want to go at their own pace.

Your dog doesn’t pull on the leash to show dominance; they do it because it’s effective. To put it another way, if you walk behind your dog and they pull, you’re teaching them to pull even harder. This pulling is rewarded because it keeps them moving forward and closer to their destination.

If your dog has always pulled on the leash, it will be difficult to break the habit. Because they’ve been conditioned to move forward while pulling, the behavior has been rewarded, and a dog’s natural instinct is to resist restraint. But if you’re consistent, you can break that habit and eventually put an end to all the pulling by teaching your dog that walking alongside you is far from chevalier.

Not every method will be ideal for every dog.

Before you begin any form of training, keep in mind that not every method will work for every dog. When it comes to loose leash walking, I’ve tried a lot of methods and always felt like a failure when one didn’t work. So you’re not alone if you’ve read up on loose leash pulling but haven’t seen any results.

Finding out what motivates your dog and building on that is a big part of dog training. I used methods for Laika that worked as good incentives for my dog, such as lots of tasty treats and toys as motivation.

Have you heard of the term “be a tree tip” before? When your dog starts pulling on a walk, you should stop and standstill. The theory is that if your dog learns that pulling will cause you to stop walking, he will stop pulling.

Do you recall what happened when I tried it with my hyperactive dog who was already accustomed to pulling on the leash? She pulled harder to get where she wanted to go, becoming frustrated when I refused to move. You might be able to succeed with this method if you’re patient enough, but it didn’t work for my dog. I tried for months, and I was stuck on the side of the road, stopping every 3 feet to stand still for a few minutes in the hopes that my dog would calm down. That, however, did not occur. She’d stay at the end of the leash looking forward at best, and she’d occasionally stop for a moment, but as soon as we started moving again, she was back to pulling.

Being a tree didn’t work for my Laika, partly because of her excitability and partly because she was already accustomed to pulling to get where she wanted to go. If you want to keep your dog from pulling on the leash, you’ll need to find a method that motivates him.

This isn’t to say that being a tree doesn’t work for some dogs; I’ve witnessed it. It simply did not work for my dog, and it may not be the best method if your dog has been pulling for a long time.

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Keep one thing in mind when training your dog to walk nicely on a leash: not all methods work perfectly for every dog. Don’t give up if one method doesn’t work for you and your dog. Figuring out what motivates your dog and building on that is an important part of dog training.

1. Stick to a single walking technique.

When it comes to teaching your dog not to pull on the leash, the first tip is to stick to one walking method. You must teach your dog what behavior is acceptable on a walk, so the quickest way to get there is to figure out how you want your dog to walk and stick to it.

Do you want your dog to walk alongside you, behind you, or a few steps behind you? Choose your favorite and stick to it. If you want your dog to always stay on your right side, make sure everyone who walks him follows your plan. Sticking to one method will help your dog learn what is expected of them on a walk and make training easier.

2. Begin in a mundane location.

When it comes to teaching your dog to walk nicely on a leash, you don’t want to set them up for failure. So, if you’re trying to teach your dog to stay calm and walk nicely, you should do so in non-exciting training. Choose a quiet time of day to practice walking down the street, go for an evening stroll when most people are inside for dinner, or visit a park during non-peak hours.

If you take your dog to a crowded park before they’ve learned proper leash manners (and impulse control), they’ll most likely be far too excited and stimulated to pay attention or learn anything. All those exciting sounds, smells, and sights — and, of course, squirrels — will keep them far too occupied. Don’t make it easy for your dog to fail. Start by teaching your dog to walk nicely in a calm environment, and then progress from there.

3. Using a Front Clip Harness as a Cheater

When it comes to teaching your dog not to pull on the leash, my favorite method is to use a front clip harness, which I refer to as the “cheater method.” The best part is that front-clip harnesses are simple to use; the most difficult part is figuring out how to put them on for the first few times.

I have no regrets about purchasing a front clip harness many years ago; in fact, it is one of the tools I wish I had had from the start. I’ve never seen a single piece of walking equipment have such an immediate effect. One of my favorite dog walking tips is to use a front clip harness for that reason; it’s a simple way to help “reset” your dog’s leash manners if you haven’t been using one.

Using a different piece of equipment works especially well on dogs who are used to pulling with a traditional collar and leash. Continue to praise your dog as he walks nicely from the moment you put on his new harness. Your dog will start to associate the harness with walking on a loose leash.

Many police K9s employ the same method. They wear different collars depending on the tasks they are assigned. They change their mindset with a simple switch of their collar, and they know exactly what is expected of them.

I had been using a traditional leash and collar before that harness, and Laika had already become accustomed to pulling. She used to start pulling as soon as we walked out the door, but that changed when I switched to the front clip harness. She wasn’t used to wearing a harness or having a front-clipped leash, so I took advantage of the piece while she adjusted to the new gear and began teaching her proper walking manners. It didn’t take her long to figure it out, and our walks have been much more enjoyable since then.

4. Use treats to encourage your dog to follow you.

Whatever method you choose to keep your dog from pulling on the leash, remember that the most important thing is to keep your dog motivated. To encourage them to walk nicely, show them that when they do, good things happen, and the easiest way to do that is to use tasty treats. Giving your dog a treat for doing something good will encourage them to do it again, and loose leash walking is no exception.

Remember to use treats (or toys if your dog is more play-motivated) to encourage your dog to follow you when you are teaching them to walk on a leash. This will show them that walking nicely without pulling on the leash results in positive outcomes, and they’ll start to repeat the behavior on their own in time.