Put a stop to leash pulling with this trainer’s five simple tips to improve your dog’s walking behavior

Dog pulling on leash while being walked on forest trail
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Going on a walk with your canine companion should be a relaxing experience for you both. However, if you have a dog that's constantly pulling on their leash, then you're likely finding your daily strolls more stress-inducing then stress-relieving.

Many pet parents struggle to figure out how to stop a dog pulling on a leash, but the good news is, teaching your dog to walk nicely is easier than you think. 

All it takes is being aware of some common loose leash walking mistakes, so that you can avoid them, and understanding how you can best work with your dog to produce the behaviors you want to see.

With that in mind, certified trainer Carolyn, who is also the founder of Good Dog Training has come to the rescue with a handy Instagram post where she's sharing her top five tips to teach your dog to walk nicely. You can check it out below, or read on for a summary...

1. Reward two things: "Reward your dog for paying attention to you and reward your dog for staying close to you," Carolyn advises.

2. Start easy: "Start in an easy spot, like your living room, backyard, or driveway. Go back and forth in a familiar, low-distraction spot before moving on to a harder location."

3. Help your dog: "Be engaging! Talk to them, look at them, feed them treats," says Carolyn. "Make it fun for them to pay attention to you and walk close to you. You're competing with a lot of distractions."

4. Know how to handle leash pulling: "If your dog pulls, immediately stop walking. Wait for these two things: your dog to look at you and your dog to make the leash loose again. Once they do these, say 'Yes!' and immediately walk again."

5. Don't reward pulling: "If you allow your dog to keep walking when they pull, you're rewarding pulling," Carolyn explains. "Be consistent in stopping EVERY time to get great results. Pulling should never work for your dog. If it sometimes works, they'll keep trying."

Carolyn says it's important to always have lots of treats with you when you go walking with your dog, to tire them out before the walk, and to make sure you bring a fun energy to the walk. Doing these things will make your dog value you more than whatever else is going on around them.

If you require help or support with any aspect of your dog's behavior, we recommend reaching out to a professional trainer for advice and guidance.

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.