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My Dog Pulls on the Leash! Help!

You know that feeling—the tug on the leash, the ache in your shoulder, the frustration of a walk that's a full-body workout for all the wrong reasons. We’ve been there! Leash pulling was a struggle with my own two dogs before I started out as a trainer. In fact, being able to walk them on a leash and having an enjoyable experience for both them and me is exactly what I was searching for. It’s what pushed me down the path of starting a career in something I was very much passionate about….Dog training. 

Here's what I've learned along the way.

  • Excitement Overload: Dogs love to explore, and a walk is their ticket to sniffing adventures! Their enthusiasm sometimes translates into pulling as they rush toward fascinating smells.

  • Untapped Energy: If your dog doesn't get enough exercise and mental stimulation, walks become their only outlet. This pent-up energy can explode into pulling.

  • Accidental Reinforcement: Have you ever given in and moved faster when your dog pulls? Dogs are smart; they quickly learn that pulling gets them where they want to go.

Solutions that Get to the Root:

  • Pre-Walk Energy Burn: Play fetch, engage in a training session, or go for a quick run before your walk to take the edge off their excitement.

  • Get Focused: Leash pressure can sometimes amp up a dog's excitement level. Try focusing your dog's attention with a heel position for short stretches, periodically releasing them with a cue to sniff and explore. If your dog doesn't have a reliable heel yet, a weighted vest can help expend some energy and create a calmer mindset for walking.

  • The "Red Light, Green Light" Method: When your dog pulls, stop dead in your tracks. Wait for them to come back to you before moving again. Consistency will teach them that pulling doesn't equal progress.

Remember: Patience is key. Changing deeply ingrained habits takes time. Don't wait too long to seek help, though – the longer the behaviour persists, the harder it can be to change. A professional trainer can provide personalized guidance and help you avoid accidentally reinforcing unwanted behaviour.


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