Top tips for stopping your dog from pulling on the lead

op tips for stopping your dog from pulling on the leadPulling on the lead is a common habit of dogs and often happens when they are walking faster than us, are off-balance or just full of excitement!

However, while pulling on the lead might seem harmless enough, it can actually become quite an irritant for dog owners and may even put them off walking their dog as often as they would like. Here we will look at how you can stop your dog from pulling on the lead.

A large part of preventing your dog from pulling begins in the home and one of the best ways to stop your dog from running away with you is to allow them to let off some steam before you even begin your walk. You can do this by letting them out in your garden before you leave and playing a simple ball game with them or by letting them have a sniff around. It can help release some pent-up energy and put them in a calmer state for your walk.

Many dogs will jump up and get excited when they hear you go over and pick up their lead because they know that a walk is imminent. However, if your dog is wild with excitement then you can put the lead away momentarily before picking it up again once they have calmed down and are ready to begin the walk. What your dog wants is to go for a walk, and you need to teach it that they can go for their walk quicker if they calm themselves before they leave.

When you are out of the house you need to teach your dog to be patient. You can do this by slowing down completely whenever you feel that they are pulling hard on the leash. When you feel them pulling hard come to a complete stop and wait for your dog to see and feel what’s going on. If you repeat this regularly then your dog will be taught to accept the boundaries you are putting in place and understand that pulling hard won’t get them where they want to be faster.

Another way to teach your dog to be patient is by giving rewards when they do the right thing. You can encourage your dog to stay by your side by giving them a small treat or praise every couple of minutes. If they pull or try and run ahead you simply stop the walk until they have calmed down therefore reinforcing good behaviour.

Over time your dog will learn that if they stay close to you they will be rewarded and once they begin to form a habit of keeping close to you can cut down and entirely remove the treats.

Don’t forget that while it might seem a bit much to give treats to your dog just for walking at a normal pace, dogs do naturally move quicker than humans, so they are in fact trying to do something that doesn’t come naturally to them at all and therefore deserve equal amounts of your patience.

For further tips and advice and for more information about dog behaviour therapy sessions, training classes, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy and more please visit alternatively call us on 0116 244 2455 to book a session.

About the author

Dr Shahad Mohammed
Veterinary Physiotherapist
National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists