Dog always pulling on the leash? Trainer shares three simple steps for happier and calmer walks

Golden Retriever pulling on leash while being walked in the park
(Image credit: Getty Images)

One of the many benefits of owning a dog is the extra incentive they give us each day to get outside and exercise. But while going for a walk or a run with our canine companion has the potential to boost both our physical and mental health, our daily joint exercise sessions can quickly become more stress-inducing than stress-relieving if we have a dog that's always pulling on the leash.

While the best dog treats can certainly help to keep our fur friends on track, many dogs find being outside so stimulating that they either want to investigate, or feel compelled to react to, everything in their new environment. This can result in you feeling your dog is walking you rather than the other way around.

Thankfully, expert dog trainer Adam Spivey has a three-step process he uses when working with dogs to put a stop to leash pulling once and for all. You can check out the full description in the Instagram video below or keep reading for a summary of each step.

Step 1) Take the edge off: "Dogs like to run, so get that pent up energy out," advises Spivey. 

Step 2) Educate your dog: "Teach your dog what the leash means. Pressure and release is key. Apply tension, when the dog gives in, mark and reward."

Step 3) Hold the lead correctly: "Have a short but relaxed lead and practice Figure of 8's."

Spivey says that preventing leash pulling also hinges on making sure you respond correctly when your dog does try to pull. "If the dog pulls, you pull UP and RELAX," he explains. 

Just like learning how to stop a dog from jumping up, training your pup not to pull on their leash takes patience and consistency. If your dog's leash pulling is still an issue after several months of working with them, we recommend reaching out to a professional trainer for some 1:1 support. 


Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.