The majority of pet dogs pull on leash. This is frustrating for people and takes the fun out of the walk. It’s no longer relaxing when you’re being yanked around and having to hold on with two hands.
To instantly stop your dog from pulling you need to plant your feet and not move forward if the leash is tight. This is rule #1 and it’s the most important rule. Doing this teaches him that pulling is no longer the fastest way to get somewhere. Unfortunately just stopping when the leash is tight isn’t going to completely solve the issue as you’ll probably end up doing a lot of standing and not a lot of walking. This means that we also need to teach him how to walk without pulling.
Step 1. Walking while the leash is loose earns him food rewards. Bring high value food rewards with you on the walk. When you first start your walk, reward every couple of steps.
Step 2. Start adding steps in between food rewards. If your dog is walking at your side and most of his attention is on you, start taking multiple steps between rewards.
Step 3. If he sees something that he wants to investigate (when possible), let him. If he walks towards it without pulling allow him to keep heading in that direction. If he starts to pull, tell him “too bad,” turn around and bring him back to the starting point and start over. Keep repeating until he makes it without pulling. The first few times you attempt this may take 5 minutes before he finally makes it to his reward. Common environmental rewards include greeting people, greeting dogs and smelling different things along the way.
Step 4. Put him in some anti-pull equipment. Use a front attaching harness or a head halter to help remove his leverage if he tries to pull. Less leverage for him means more leverage for you, which will help you stop him if he tries to pull.
Step 5. Teach your dog to look at you for food rewards when he sees something that you don’t want him to go towards. Click here to find out how to teach this.
In closing, this is a general guide to help. For some dogs, more steps are needed and you may need to hire a professional to help. Remember, the dog training industry is unregulated. This means anyone can claim to help and can use methods that are harsh and not needed.