To help! My dog pulls on a leash and I’ve tried everything! I often hear this comment while working as a veterinarian. It can be frustrating to teach a dog to walk on a loose leash, but through my years of experience as a veterinarian, I’ve learned the best techniques for dogs to stop pulling on the leash. In this article, I will share several tips and tricks for walking your dog on a loose leash. Not only will I be sharing training tips, but I will also be sharing recommendations on which leads, harnesses, and training collars work best for dogs that pull on the leash.
What is the Loose Leash for Walking a Dog?
Loose leash walking is when your dog is able to walk on a leash without tugging or tugging on the leash. Loose-leash walking is generally not an inherited trait, which means most dogs should be trained in loose-leash walking. It will take a lot of patience and persistence to teach your dog to walk on a loose leash, but with hard work and dedication, your dog will be able to walk on a leash without pulling.
How to Train a Dog to Walk on a Leash Without Pulling
1. Keep the leash short
Use a leash that is no more than 6 to 8 feet long. Retractable leashes are not recommended as they can easily break and can confuse your dog during training as they vary in length. Also avoid extremely long leashes. Try to keep the leash short to keep your dog close to you, but leave some slack in the leash.
2. Use lots of treats
Positive reinforcement of the behavior you want is one of the best ways to teach your dog to walk on a loose leash. Keep a pouch handy with your pup’s favorite training treats. Keep feeding your puppy a treat to keep it walking close to you. Reward them when they walk without pulling on the leash. According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, consistent reward-based training is the most effective way to train your dog.
3. Stop walking when your dog pulls
If your dog begins to pull on the leash, stop walking immediately. When your dog stops pulling on the leash, you can give him a treat and start walking again. As you walk, be consistent with this start and stop routine. Only let your dog walk when he is not pulling on the leash. This will teach your dog that the only time he is allowed to walk is when he is not pulling on the leash.
4. Try a front pull harness
The front pull harness is my go-to recommendation for dogs that pull on a leash. I have recommended these products to many pulling dogs and their owners have always been extremely pleased with the results. The leash clips into the front of the harness so that when your dog tries to pull, he pulls it in the opposite direction he wants to go. This discourages leash pulling behavior. My favorite front pull harness is the PetSafe Easy Walk.
5. Try a halter
Halters are another good option for dogs that pull excessively on the leash. They sometimes require a little extra practice to get your dog comfortable, but I’ve seen good results with these products. The halters tie around your dog’s face and when your dog tries to tug on the leash, it pulls gently on its head, which discourages tugging behavior. My favorite halter is the PetSafe Gentle Leader.
6. Try a training leash or training collar
If you want options for training leashes for dogs that pull, you’ll want to find a short, sturdy leash. I recommend it PetSafe Nylon Leash. You can also consider using a training collar to train your dog to walk on a loose leash. If you are considering using a training collar, you should consult a qualified trainer to teach you how to use these products correctly and safely. Additionally, positive reinforcement has been shown to be more effective for training than using training collars.
7. Hire a trainer
If you feel like you’ve tried everything and your dog is still pulling on the leash, it might be time to hire a trainer. When looking for a qualified trainer, it is important to find out about their qualifications and the training methods they use. Try to find a trainer who primarily uses positive reinforcement and avoid trainers who primarily use punishment like spike collars and shock collars. I do not recommend using prong collars for dogs that pull on a leash. Look for a trainer who is a good instructor and will teach training techniques that are right for your dog.
How long does loose leash training last?
Loose leash training can take time. It’s important to be patient and consistent when training your dog to walk on a loose leash, as it can take several months of consistent training. Remember that there are products that can help you train your dog faster, including front-pull harnesses, halters, and training collars. Additionally, working with a trainer can speed up the training process. Don’t forget to give your pup plenty of treats during training to encourage the behavior you want to see!