5 Things You Can Do To Stop Your Dog from Leash Pulling

| July 7, 2023

Did you know that one of the most common challenges pet parents deal with is their dog’s tendency to pull on the leash? No pet parent should have to feel nervous when walking their dog, as the experience should be a chance for you to bond with your companion. The best way to overcome their urge to pull is with proactive training methods. 

What Behaviours are Associated with Leash Pulling?

Your dog may see moving objects, such as squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, and other dogs, as something to chase and pull towards. While not unnatural, as these behaviours come from their instincts, they can lead to injuries or other incidents if you aren’t prepared for their sudden bursts of energy. Some common leash pulling patterns to watch out for in your dog include: 

– Raised ankles, looking like they’re ready to pounce 

– A sudden stop with intense focus 

– Hyper-fixation and staring at another dog, animal, or other object 

– Barking or being suddenly vocal 

– Relentless sniffing 

– Excessive panting or whining due to frustration 

If left untrained, your dog may learn that any movement is a cue to pull, especially if their actions are reinforced if they get what they want – such as greeting the other dog or chasing a wild animal.  

Taking Proactive Measures Through Training

The best way to overcome leash pulling is by taking proactive measures through training. If you’re concerned about your dog’s tendency to pull on the leash, we recommend working on handler focus, engagement exercises, and loose leash walking. Here are some recommendations that’ll help to make your walks with your dog more enjoyable and safer: 

  • Teach name recognition and recall. Teaching name recognition and a positive interrupter allows you to get your dog’s attention more easily when they become distracted by something. Recall could prevent your dog from being exposed to harmful situations since they’ll learn to come back to you if they were to ever get off their leash. 
  • Keep them on the leash. Keeping your dog on the leash the entire walk will help familiarize them with walking by your side. 
  • Carry high-value treats. Having your dog’s favourite treats on hand at all times will help redirect their attention back to you when they are tempted to pull. 
  • Teach important cues. Training essential commands like “sit,” “wait,” and “look at me” not only deepens your bond but also enhances their focus and concentration. For leash walking, teaching “look at me” can be helpful to ensure your dog is checking in with you and is more focused on you than other distractions when out for walks.  
  • Start small. Begin training in low-distraction areas and gradually work your way up to busier environments to prevent overstimulation 

Need Extra Support? Enlist Help from Our Certified Canine Trainers

Although it’s not the most dangerous issue in the world, walking a dog that pulls is something that can quickly spiral out of control if left unchecked. If you’d like support from our certified team of canine trainers on how to help your dog to politely walk with a leash, enroll in a Training and Behaviour class today.