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  • Writer's picturerenotahoedogtraining

5 tricks to get your dog to stop pulling their leash

Updated: Apr 13, 2021

Your fingers are losing circulation from the leash squeezing around your hand. Your biceps hurt. You’re reminded of the leash burn you got the other day when your dog pulled away from you to chase that squirrel. Ready to give up? Don’t give up just yet. With a little dedication on your part you can start to teach your dog how to walk nicely on a walk. Here are my 5 tips to help you have a better walk with your dog:

#1 Stop going for walks:

Thats right. Stop going on these ridiculous, long walks around the neighborhood because it’s been engrained in your memory that dogs need exercise. They need exercise but you don’t need to wear yourself out doing it. Start in your driveway or an empty parking lot. Just practice going back and forth and rewarding when your dog is walking next to you or giving you attention. If your dog is pulling you around in a small space, they aren’t ready to go for a two mile walk. Steps are steps and they all add up eventually so trust me when I say that your dog will get exercise doing this.

#2 Do circles:

Make yourself dizzy and do some left hand circles and then right handcircles. Biggest mistake people make? Making your circles too big. Think about doing a circle super tight around a bar stool. Typically I teach “heel” on the left, so left hand circles help with pulling because I’m constantly running into the dogs face and they learn to step back to allow you space to cut in front. Right hand circles are to create the following behavior. I turn away from them and they turn with me? Awesome! Reward and keep going.

#3 Change your pace

Don‘t get stuck walking in the same auto pilot walk. Walk slow like your grandma for 10 steps, then switch to a fast walk for 10 steps, and then switch back to a normal pace. Constantly changing up how you walk will make your dog pay attention to you and less on what is going on around them.

#4 Stop letting your dog go potty on the walk

Ok, if your dog absolutely needs to go then let them but only if it’s absolutely necessary. Dogs (especially males but some females do as well) love to mark their territory. What does that mean for you? It means you’re going to get yanked to every pole, every bush, every fire hydrant on your walk. Bottom line is that your dog is not paying attention to you at all. You’re literally rewarding them for pulling. The solution? Let them go potty at the beginning of the walk in your yard and then when they pull you to get to their favorite marking spot, keep walking. Don’t stop. Reward when they catch up.

#5 Change your walking tools- throw out that harness!

If the world was made of sunshine and rainbows we all would be walking our dogs on a flat collar. But it’s not. Use the tool that is going to help your dog understand that pulling is a no-no. I dislike harnesses but in RARE cases I’ll use them and it’s usually due to a neck or back injury. Remember that sled dogs use harnesses to HELP them pull, so why would you give your dog the advantage?Slip leads, prong collars, e-collars are all very safe to use. Please hire a professional to show you how to properly use them though.

If you need your dog to stop pulling you and you’re at your wits end, email us at!

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