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Loose Leash Training: Who's Walking Who? How to Stop a Dog From Pulling on the Leash

Updated by Sheryl on Nov 22, 2021

After a hard day at work, taking a walk with your dog is an excellent way to decompress and unwind from your day. Take advantage of the opportunity to get some exercise and fresh air while getting away from the four walls of your home office. It's good for both of you!

However, most of us have a pretty different experience than those who walk with their dogs on a loose leash. Let's see how loose leash walking matters.

leash train the dog
  • Importance of Loose Leash Walking
  • How to Loose Leash Train a Dog: A Step by Step Procedure
  • How to Stop it When Dogs Pull the Lead
  • 3-Step for Teaching a Dog not to Pull on the Leash
  • How Long Does It Take to Loose Leash Train a Dog

Walking with a loose leash is not only more comfortable for your dog, but it is also safer. It's also a matter of public safety. Whether you have a large or tiny dog, teaching him to walk on a leash respectfully is essential.

It is possible that your dog will leap on another person, even out of enthusiasm, and cause significant injury to someone else, especially if that person is old or a little kid who falls down or is scratched or pricked by your dog. If you have a large dog, you are definitely aware of the hazards of being dragged forward unexpectedly when your dog pulls against the leash when you are out walking or running.

Teaching your furry friend to walk on a loose leash in public is extremely important, but it can be difficult for a novice pet owner to get started.

You Will Need:

  • Some treats
  • A harness or collar
  • A leash: 4 to 6-foot length (not a retractable leash)
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To Start

  1. Fill your pocket or treat pouch with tasty snacks/treats.
  2. Select one of your body side by which you'd want the dog to walk, then place a few goodies on that side of your body. Consider the following scenario: If you'd like your dog to walk on the left side of the road, hold goodies in your left hand.
  3. Keep your leash in the opposite hand from where the dog is. For example, if your dog is on your left side, you should grasp the end of the leash with your right hand.
  4. Take a step, then come to a halt. It is OK if the dog does not remain in the "heel" position. Feed the dog some goodies from the palm of your hand, which should be parallel to the seam of your jeans. This will assist you in finding where to position the dog.
  5. Repeat. Take a step, come to a complete halt, and feed a treat at your side, along the seam of your trousers.
  6. Rather than stopping after one step and feeding the dog while the dog is looking expectantly up at you for more goodies, take two steps before stopping and feeding the dog.
  7. If the dog starts to pull ahead of you, you must stop walking immediately. You can call your dog back to you or use the goodies you have in your hand to entice the dog back to your side, but don't reward her just yet: take two to three steps forward before feeding your canine companion. This is done in order to avoid teaching a sequence such as "I pull ahead, I come back, I eat." We want our dogs to understand that it is walking alongside you on a loose leash that results in goodies, not yanking on the leash.
  8. Increase the amount of steps you take between each goodie gradually. You may communicate with your dog in order to keep her focused on you.
  9. Give that a name once you have determined that your dog is comfortable walking on a loose leash. "Heel", "with me", "let's walk", or any other word or phrase of your choosing might be used as a response. When your dog has completed their task, release them by saying "all done", "all right," "that'll do", etc.
dog with a leash
  • Prevent the Act of Pulling
  • Any experienced pet parent or dog walker has witnessed it and perhaps even endured it: dogs pulling on the leash and dragging their person in various ways. There are a variety of variables that might contribute to pulling, but the most common is a lack of concentration and enthusiasm throughout the walk.

  • Put an End to the Constant Sniffing
  • It is normal for your dog to want to stop every five feet while you're out on a walk to sniff, dig, or mark his territory. But if you want to avoid it—a retractable leash, which allows your dog to roam far away, or a harness, which gives you no control over your dog's head, are both not recommended.

  • Educating Puppies on Proper Leash Use
  • It is critical to start on the right foot when teaching a puppy basic leash etiquette—and the sooner you start, the better.

    As soon as you bring your canine companion home, keep him on a leash and let him run about the house. Once your puppy has become accustomed to walking on a leash in the home, begin taking them for short walks around the yard, gradually moving to longer walks outdoors.

happy puppy with a leash

The following are the five most important things to consider while trying to stop your dog from tugging on his lead:

  1. Allow yourself to be patient; there are no fast cures for a dog who pulls on its lead.
  2. Before you take your dog to train, make sure he is calm.
  3. Begin with short, encouraging sessions off lead, gradually progressing to lead work and longer walks as the week go.
  4. Throughout the process, maintain eye contact and provide support. 
  5. Walk away from the distractions or anxieties of training.
dog pull the lead

Step-1: Calm you = calm dog

Before any contact or training, even a basic recall works best with a calm, well-rested dog, which is always the case. Even if the dog is excited, calm yourself and wait for him to calm down.

Step-2: De-sensitize your dog to the things that cause him to become overexcited

  • Make no distinction between how your dog reacts when you pick up a lead or your keys.
  • Avoid making eye contact with your dog and putting the thing down again.
  • Continually do this until your dog displays calm behavior.

Step-3: Select the most appropriate spot

Your dog's learning takes place on his or her own schedule. Start with short workouts in your house, rear garden or yard. If you do not have access to these, choose a remote location and off the beaten path. Dogs require a sense of security. Look for peaceful home development and industrial development, or a calm green place—an area where there are few dogs and people.

leash train the dog

On average, in 4 to 6 weeks, your dog will learn the leash training. If you begin leash training your puppy at an early age, it should be able to acquire correct walking etiquette. However, your commitment to the process will significantly impact how quickly your dog learns this skill.

When it comes to older dogs, it may take them longer to learn, especially if they have already established undesirable behaviors such as pulling on the leash. But don't lose up - even the most obstinate canines can be trained to walk on a leash with the correct combination of rewards and affection.

Sheryl is an editor from iPetor, owns extensive pet care experience. As a professional writer, she can provide useful pet care tips for all "parents".
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