Trainer reveals the secret to mastering loose leash walking with your dog — and it’s just three steps

Dog being walked on forest trail with sun setting in background
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Of all the challenges a dog owner can face, getting your pup to walk well on a loose leash is right up there. 

Whether it's trying to figure out how to stop a dog pulling on a leash or you want to prevent them from jumping up on strangers, loose leash walking can take some mastering.

Alongside avoiding some of the most common loose leash walking mistakes (such as placing your dog in the wrong environment), there are other things you can do to help them learn this vital skill.

This is where expert trainer Amelia Steele comes in. 

In a recent post shared to Instagram, she shared three of her top tips for loose leash walking — and it all comes down to not overcomplicating things. 

Here are the three things she's found the most helpful when training dogs to walk well on a leash...

1. Be consistent: "It sounds obvious but your dog is probably getting mixed messages. Most people are accidentally communicating to their dog that sometimes pulling works and sometimes it doesn’t," explains Steele. 

"Without a clear, consistent approach, you’ll likely end up going round and round with your training."

2. Tie in other relevant skills: Steele says it's important to take a layered approach when it comes to training loose leash walking.

"If you’re only ever trying to stop your dog from pulling but you’re not teaching your dog how to listen, pay attention around distractions, decompress and enjoy working with you, you’ll likely hit a brick wall. 

"There are so many foundations that go into loose lead training that most people are totally missing."

3. Build engagement: "People talk about engagement all the time, but TRUE engagement goes both ways," explains Steele.

"How much time do you spend really bonding with your dog, meeting their needs and showing them that you are worth engaging with? Adding real engagement into your day can really help with your training (no matter what you’re trying to train)."

While we recommend working with a professional trainer if you feel your pup would benefit from some extra support in mastering this important skill, the tips above are a helpful starting point.

And if you do let your dog off leash but are worried about their recall skills, here are some super helpful ways to get your dog to come back to you on off leash walks.

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.