Is Your Dog Pulling on the Leash? Here’s How to Stop It

Raise your hand right now if you’ve got a sore arm or shoulder because your dog won’t stop pulling on their leash. Actually, if you’re already hurting you probably don’t want to do that, but keep reading and together we’ll learn how to put an end to it!

Find out the key mistakes you may be making when walking your dog, how to calm your dog, and how to lead your dog the right way.

This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We thank you for your support.
dog pulling on leash

How to Stop Your Dog Pulling on the Leash

So, you’re probably thinking “why is it me? Why my dog?” You’ve probably seen so many dog owners in your area happily walking along with their pup, enjoying the fresh air together with no struggling or pulling. “Why can’t that be us?”

It can. You just need to learn how to teach your dog to walk by your side without pulling once and then you’ll be able to head out and enjoy a pleasant walk with your dog whenever you want!

And the great thing is that it’s not even a complicated problem to correct. Like anything, it will take some time before you and your four-legged friend have it mastered, and some dogs will learn faster than others.

Sometimes, you will get a quick turnaround in like 5 minutes, as you’ll see in this demonstration video from Doggy Dan:

(If you found the above video helpful, Dan has some more free videos you can take a look at by clicking here.)

More often, though, teaching your dog not to pull on their leash will take more time. Let’s get started by talking about what mistakes you may be making.

Mistakes People Make When Walking Their Dog

There’s plenty of tricks to getting your dog to walk calmly on their leash beside you. We all know that whether they’re a huge Great Dane or an adorable little Yorkie, some dogs are very very dominant, and this may mean you need all the tricks in the book to get your dog under control. Here are some things you should be aware of that may make your dog’s behavior worse.

  • You let your dog out the door before you.
  • You are pulling back on the leash when your dog pulls.
  • You are yelling at your dog, or punishing him for pulling.
  • You are not rewarding your dog for good behavior.

The most important thing you’ll want to remember is to keep your dog calm. If your dog is revved up like they’re ready to shoot out of a cannon when you’re both about to head out the door, then obviously going a pleasant walk is going to be difficult.

“But, how do I calm my dog down?”

How to Calm Your Dog Before a Walk

Think about what happens when you’re getting ready to go out on a walk. Just pulling out the leash brings your pup right to attention, with his tail wagging, and probably lots of spinning around for no particular reason. That’s excitement. Then you put the leash on and your dog is even more worked up!

Why is that? Because you are rewarding their overly excited behavior by placing the leash on them. Naturally, their behavior will only become more and more extreme. They think they are doing the right thing because you are taking them out.

You head out the door and the same thing continues. They’re dragging you down the front steps, pulling harder and harder. By the time they start to approach the actual path your four-legged friend is practically about to burst!

Here’s what you can do. Next time you go out on a walk, make sure to be patient and take your time. Pick up the leash but do nothing until your dog calms back down. Go on with whatever you were doing and ignore your dog until they calm down. If they don’t, put the leash away.

This could take some time — from a few attempts to a more extended period — but eventually your dog will learn to calm down. Once they are totally relaxed and have calmed down, you can go ahead and try to put the leash on.

You’ll repeat this process again as you head out towards your walking path. Stop and wait calmly with your dog still on the leash until they have calmed down, at which point you can continue. If not, take the leash back off and try it again in 5 minutes or so.

Patience is key here. It might seem like you’re getting nowhere, but think of it this way: either spend a little time getting this sorted out now or spend the next 10 years getting dragged around the streets. This issue isn’t going to just go away on its own. You need to be pro-active in correcting your dog’s behavior.

Change Your Direction

Once you’re just about to head out pause for a moment and see which way your dog is wanting to head. If they want to go left, then you should turn right. Take a step in the direction opposite what your dog wants and keep doing so until your dog has noticed.

If you’re already on the path and your dog begins pulling, then simply change direction and head the other way. Do this right away when your dog begins trying to lead, don’t wait until they’re already out ahead of you on the path. As soon as they take a step in the wrong direction, you take one heading the opposite way.

By changing direction as soon as your dog tries to take charge, your dog will always end up behind you. It will take some time, but eventually your dog will understand.

Stay in Front of Your Dog

On a walk, as the pack leader, you will always lead from the front. So if you do not establish yourself as your dog’s pack leader they are always going to fight you for that spot up front.

It really is as simple as that. You can’t get around this, especially if your dog is particularly strong and determined. Learning to become your dog’s pack leader is hugely important, and the basis of Doggy Dan’s world-renowned training method.

Dan has developed 5 Golden Rules that when followed daily help you become your dog’s pack leader — all in a calm and gentle way. In his training video series, The Online Dog Trainer, he makes it clear that before any progress can be made you must become pack leader using his 5 rules.

It really is a crucial step in solving pretty much any dog behavioral issue you’re going to come across.

How to Lead Your Dog the Right Way

There are many other helpful things you can learn to lead your dog the right way. Like when it is okay to give a gentle tug on the leash and when it’s okay to let your dog have a little freedom to explore, sniff, and pee where they want.

If you’d like to learn these things and lots more, I highly recommend viewing Dan’s free video series at The Online Dog Trainer where he can teach you everything you need to know.

If you join his dog training series you can access right now his 7 incredibly helpful videos on how to walk your dog correctly which cover ever possibly issue and question that might pop up for you. There’s even a 30-minute audio so you can listen while you’re out on your walk!

Going out on a pleasant walk is one of the greatest joys of having a dog. It’s time to learn how to no longer make your walks a struggle! You’ll be happier, and your dog will be too. Start watching Dan’s free video series now by clicking here!

For more on training your dog to walk calmly on a leash read our other articles:

How to Stop Your Dog From Pulling

9 Easy Dog Walking Tips That Really Work

How to Stop a Dog From Lunging on a Leash