Tips and Tricks – 5 Leash Pulling Tips to Prevent Tugging

Teaching a dog to walk next to you without pulling forward takes lots of time and patience. Unfortunately, neither time, nor patience can be purchased at a store.

There isn’t going to be a magic harness or a fancy leash that teaches your dog not to pull forward or lag behind without some added assistance from you.

The leash walk is all about the bond and clear communication between you and your dog in the presence of distractions that are just more interesting than you most of the time! 

Luckily, there are a few leash pulling tips that might help to move the process along so that you and your dog are walking together as a team before you know it!

Leash Pulling Tip #1 

Place your treat bag on the same side as your dog, behind your dog’s head. If you’re delivering the treat from slightly behind the dog, and on the same side, this will prevent the dog from drifting in front of you or walking at an angle and cutting you off! Once your dog learns how to walk at your side, you can put the treat bag anywhere. 

Leash Pulling Tip #2

Give a treat when your dog is walking nicely next to you, isn’t pulling and is looking ahead. You don’t want to reinforce when your dog is looking up at you. It’s important to reward the act of being able to walk nicely while looking around at the environment. Also, the treats you choose to use play a big part in your success with this tip. You probably don’t want to bring boring biscuits that you typically use back at the house for a simple, low distraction response to a sit. You’re going to have to break out the good stuff for leash training treats!

Leash Pulling Tip #3

Teach a cue that allows your dog to sniff when you stop. This cue teaches your dog to sniff by  permission. Dogs love to smell the world around them! Although, if it was up to them, they would ask to stop and sniff every 20 seconds to smell the latest news! Teaching a cue such as, “Ok! Go see!” Or, “Go Sniff!” allows your dog to explore by permission and then when it’s time to keep moving along, you can give an “Ok, let’s go!” cue for the walk to resume. It is very important to allow your dog enough time to sniff by permission on walks. 

Leash Pulling Tip #4

It can be difficult for a dog to understand you (sometimes even hear you!) when there are added distractions such as in a new environment filled with so many scents and sounds. Very gradually work on adding new distractions and new places to your focus training and leash walking exercises. Dogs count on us to help them generalize behaviors. Having a reliable place trained dog can make a world of difference with leash training as well. Learn more about place training here. 

Leash Pulling Tip #5 

Practice leash walking INSIDE! When you practice teaching your sequence of steps before you add more distractions, this simple task can improve your dog’s skills and increase their attention to you. Adding the 3 D’s outside can really make a big difference on your ability to gain and maintain your dog’s focus, which is ultimately WHY dog’s pull on the leash. Loss of focus due to becoming distracted and overstimulated is very common. Your dog just can’t get to all the excitement fast enough! Teaching the focus and the steps to leash training with minimal distractions FIRST is the key to your success.

 Join us for our next Loose Leash walking class. Can’t wait to see you!

About Wag n Tails Seminars

We offer seminars on a variety of topics from basic obedience to understanding how your dog learns and responds to cues. We also discuss how to properly use positive reinforcement in dog training and how to be consistent with rewards.

Our seminars are interactive and informative with plenty of hands-on activities. We discuss different dog behaviors and how to structure training around them. We also talk about how to deal with specific issues such as dog nutrition, your dog’s body language, enrichment, treat retreat, barking, aggression, and much more! 

Learn more here.

Picture of Christine at Wag 'N' Tails

Christine at Wag 'N' Tails

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