How Do You Stop a Dog From Pulling?

Pulling is a common pain point among dog owners in the UK. And it’s pretty serious. This is especially true for people with musculus or big dogs such as the Bull Terrier or English Bulldog. Luckily, stopping your dog from pulling is not so hard. You just need the right equipment, a ton of patience, and this guide.

Here are some of the things you can do to teach your dog how to be calm during strolls.

1. Get the Equipment Right

A quick Google search will bring you to hundreds of dog walking equipment, all claiming to be the ultimate solution to pulling. Some even go ahead to inflict pain on your best friend’s neck, hoping the dog will learn from the mistakes. This harsh treatment ends up affecting the dog negatively.

Having the correct tools can make all the difference when it comes to controlling your pet on walks. One of the most important things you’ll need is a good quality leash, ideally with a padded handle for added comfort. A harness can also be very effective in preventing your dog from pulling, as it reduces the strain on their neck and gives you greater control.

Look for one that attaches at the front, which can discourage pulling without causing harm to your furry friend. An added bonus is that a no-pull harness can also prevent choking or injury to the dog’s neck.

For best results, get a front-clip Y-shaped harness that outfits your dog perfectly. You want a snug fit that leaves space for three fingers to slide between the strap and the dog’s body. The best Y-shaped leashes come with back and front clip rings that allow you to use the double-hook leash. That setup gives you better control over a powerful dog.

2. Stop Walking Immediately the Leash Tightens

Unfortunately, you’re the main reason why the dog won’t stop pulling. You want to stop walking immediately after noticing considerable tension. Don’t do anything until the dog focuses on you. Once the stress in the leash drops, start walking, then rinse and repeat.

This may feel counterintuitive at first, but it teaches your dog that pulling on the leash won’t actually get them to where they want to go. Once your pup relaxes and the leash becomes slack, you can continue on your walk. It’s important to keep practicing this technique every time your dog pulls, and to reward them with treats or praise when they do well.

3. Be Consistent With Training

Anybody who has tried home training a dog knows how frustrating it can get. The dog doesn’t seem to understand the goal of the exercise, and you don’t have much experience with dog training. That is the problem you need to overcome.

The first step towards stopping your dog from pulling is to have a clear understanding of the behavior you want to modify. You should also commit to following a training plan that is positive, encouraging, and rewards good behavior. Consistency is key in training your dog to stop pulling. Make sure to remain patient, calm, and persistent throughout the process.

Ideally, teach this skill to anyone who walks the dog. This can be a spouse, child or a dog walker. The idea is to be consistent and start training as soon as possible.

4. Allow the Dog to Exercise Before Training

Excitement is one of the reasons your dog pulls when he steps out of the house for the first time in a week or two. You want to keep the energy levels at a manageable level so the dog can be more focused on the lesson. To accomplish this, run around with the dog or have it work on a treadmill. That should deplete some of the excess energy to allow for calm training.

Before trying any leash training techniques, make sure your dog has had plenty of time to run and play to release any pent-up energy. A tired dog is much more likely to be receptive to training and less likely to pull on the leash out of excitement or boredom. Consider taking your dog on a long walk or to the dog park to burn off some energy before starting a training session.

5. Let the Dog Do Its Thing

For the dog, walkies are more than just exercising or saying Hi to the neighbours. They want to investigate attractive scents, see what’s behind a shrub, and even sniff other dogs. It’s a natural thing, and the dog can’t help himself. So, don’t expect your dog to have a military-grade disciplinary level. Cut some slack and allow the dog to explore what he thinks is his territory.

Of course, you should not give in to every little demand. But keeping a healthy balance will leave you and the dog happy with how the little adventure turned out.

6. Reward Your Dog for Good Behaviour During the First Months of Training

Dogs will always have a reason to lose concentration, especially when you’re training outdoors. This will happen a lot of times during the training and walks, which is why you need to bring the dog’s favourite snack as a distraction.

So, if the dog sees something interesting and pulls the leash, stop and don’t say a word. When he looks back and comes close, reward the doggo with a treat, then continue walking. This sends a strong message that you want to stay on course with little to no detours.

7. Visit Non-Exciting Areas for a Start

Taking an excitable dog to a park with squirrels and other distractions for loose-leash training is setting him up for failure. You want to have minimal distractions, which translates to going out for walks when everybody is indoors. That includes a stroll after dinner or visiting the park during off-peak hours.

Rather than taking your dog on the same old route, mix things up and visit new, non-exciting areas. This can help to hold your pup’s attention and encourage them to focus on your commands rather than getting caught up in the excitement of their surroundings. By avoiding areas with a lot of stimulation, you can help your dog stay calmer and less prone to pulling.

Fewer distractions mean the dog will concentrate more on the training and hopefully learn leash manners.

8. Stick to One Training Method

The internet is full of “proven” ways to teach leash etiquette to your dog, but don’t believe everything you hear. Pick one that seems to work for most people, and be consistent. That way, the dog will never be confused about what you want as the master, translating to a better experience for everyone.

Consistency is key when it comes to dog training, so make sure you choose a method that works for you and your canine companion and stick to it. Whether it’s using treats, positive reinforcement, or leash corrections, the important thing is that you consistently apply the same technique every time you take your dog for a walk.