Try these three trainer-approved tips to get your dog to stop leash-pulling on walks

Woman walking dog in the park
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As every dog parent knows, dogs can get excited on walks. They might pull on their leash, perhaps because they want to explore at a faster pace, or because they’ve seen something that’s really caught their attention. 

However, even if you've invested in one of the best dog leashes, leash-pulling can still be a problem — not to mention frustrating. And, if your dog catches you off-guard, it could even be dangerous, so it makes sense to address leash-pulling if it’s something your pup does often.

And, Amelie Steele, a professional dog trainer and behavioral consultant also known as Amelia the Dog Trainer, has offered three tips to help us get our dogs to stop leash-pulling on walks — number two had never occurred to us!

“If your walks are starting to feel like a nightmare because your dog is dragging you everywhere, then I’m going to share three really simple changes that you can make on your everyday walks to improve your dog’s loose-leash walking,” begins Steele, so, let’s take a look at them — if you want to know how to stop a dog pulling on a leash, you’re in the right place!

1. Change how you’re treating your dog: “We always want to reward them next to us, right here next to our leg,” Steele explains, with a dog right next to her side. 

If the treats and rewards all come from this position, your dog is more likely to want to hang out with you and spend time close by you, walking nicely and paying attention on walks. So, they’re less likely to pull on their leash. 

“So, next time, remember to treat right here, next to your leg, and feed with the hand that is on the side that your dog is walking on,” summarizes Steele.

2. Have the right lead: “We want a nice, long, fixed-length lead,” she continues. “When you have a really restrictive, tight leash and you’re holding your dog next to you, it makes walking uncomfortable so they’re not going to want to hang out near you.”

And it can be the same for retractable leads — if there’s always tension, it can be tricky for your pup to distinguish when they’re walking nicely and getting rewards and when they’re pulling.

3. Take rewards on every walk: Every time your dog chooses to look at you or check in, give them a treat — whether they’re on or off the lead! In the video, the dog is off the lead and further away from Steele, but when he looks at her she marks ‘yes’ and gives him a treat. 

If you’re struggling with leash-pulling and would like to hear from someone who’s been there, you might find this article useful: My dog’s leash pulling made walks miserable until I helped her reactivity, here’s how.

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Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.