Practical Ways to Reduce Dog Pulling: From Tug of War to Harmony 

Dog Pulling- PerfectFit Lead

Walking your dog should be an enjoyable and relaxing experience for both you and your canine friend. However, if your dog tends to pull on the lead, it can quickly turn into a frustrating and exhausting ordeal, making walks feel more like a chore than a pleasure. Dogs pulling on leads is common and can be down to the following reasons:  

Exploration & Curiosity – dogs may pull on the lead to eagerly investigate scents, sights, and sounds.
Excitement – dogs often get excited for their walk and may pull on the lead out of enthusiasm.
Pace – dogs naturally walk at a faster pace than humans. Their desire to move forward combined with a faster pace can lead to a dog pulling. 
Prey Drive – dogs with a strong prey drive may pull on the lead when they see small animals, birds, or other moving objects that trigger their instinct to chase. 
Anxiety & Arousal – unfamiliar objects, loud noises and anything overwhelming in the environment can create arousal and anxiety, which can lead to pulling.

The good news is that with patience, consistency and positive reinforcement training, you can begin to stop your dog pulling on the lead and instead, teach your dog to walk calmly by your side. In this blog, we’ll explore practical ways to reduce pulling on the lead and promote a more relaxed pace of movement during walks. Here are our top tips to success when embarking upon your loose lead walking training journey.

Dog Pulling- PcoPouch Training

Use Positive Reinforcement


Positive reinforcement is a powerful training technique that involves rewarding your dog for desired behaviours. When it comes to reducing pulling on the lead, positive reinforcement can be incredibly effective. Every time your dog walks calmly next to you, the lead is loose, or your dog offers eye contact, reward them with their favourite treat. Your dog will learn that walking next to you means that good things happen! 


Start in a Controlled Environment


Begin training in a controlled and quiet environment, such as your house, then progress to the garden where there are few distractions. This allows your dog to focus without the added challenge of stimulating surroundings, creating an environment for training success, before then moving onto the introduction of distractions outside of the home. 

 

Be Mindful of Your Body Language 


If you want your dog to move in a different direction, try positioning your body in the direction you want your dog to go in. Rather than pulling your dog back, moving in the desired direction will give your dog more information and guidance on what to do. 


Set Realistic Expectations 


Training your dog not to pull takes time and patience. Every dog is different and some may require more time and repetition to learn new behaviours. Celebrate small wins and be sure to reward your dog for those wins! Setbacks are part of the training process, don’t be discouraged by this. 


Deliver the Treat Strategically 


Treat delivery can have an impact on your dog’s behaviour. If you deliver the treat near your feet, it will encourage your dog to hang around in this area, and therefore not pull forward.
 

By identifying the underlying reasons for your dog’s pulling behaviour, you can tailor your training approach to address the specific motivations driving the pulling. Enlisting the help of a professional trainer can help to pinpoint the driving factors behind your dog’s pulling habits and create a tailored training plan for your dog. 


The Positive Impact of Proper Equipment

In addition to training, the right equipment can greatly impact your dog pulling on the lead. A well fitted harness and dog training lead are two pieces of equipment that can significantly aid your training efforts. 

 

The Best Dog Harness for Pulling 


When teaching your dog not to pull on the lead, opt for a ‘Y’ shaped harness which won’t put any pressure on the soft tissues of the throat, neither impede front leg movement. Unlike pressure applied through a collar, which can cause injury, a well-designed harness will distribute force evenly through the chest, reducing the risk of discomfort. A comfortable harness can help to reduce stress and promote calmness, therefore support the learning process. A calm and relaxed dog will find it much easier to learn and progress during training.

  Dog Pulling- Double Ended Lead

Double Ended Dog Training Lead 


A double ended dog training lead is a versatile tool that provides added control and flexibility during walks. Unlike traditional leads that attach to a single point on your dog’s harness, the double ended dog training lead has a clip on both ends that can be attached to the front & back rings of the harness. This allows you to gently steer your dog or put the brakes on when necessary. This technique can be used alongside your positive reinforcement training. 

Incorporating these types of equipment into your walks and training sessions can really help your loose lead walking efforts and enhance the overall walking experience for both you and your dog. However, it’s essential to remember that equipment alone is not a substitute for proper training. Positive reinforcement, consistency, patience, and clear communication are still key components to stop a dog from pulling. 


Before using any new equipment, take the time to positively introduce it to your dog and ensure that they are comfortable wearing it. Gradually acclimatise them to the harness & lead by using treats and praise to create positive associations. Together, with the right equipment and training ethos, you can support your dog to overcome pulling on the lead and enjoy a stress-free walk! 

Dog Pulling- Treat PacoPouch

Treat Pouch


A well designed treat pouch is a convenient tool to carry and deliver treats during training, ensuring quick access to treats for timely rewards. A waist worn treat pouch means that you can grab hold of treats quickly and easily when your dog does the right thing. Check out our multi-functional PacoPouch, which features a dishwasher safe removable insert, ideal for carrying high value, moist training treats. 


Reducing pulling on the lead is certainly achievable with the right approach and a commitment to using ethical training techniques such as positive reinforcement. By using rewards, gentle guidance, and consistency, you can teach your dog to walk calmly by your side and transform your walks from tug of war to harmony. Embrace the journey of training with patience and positivity and enjoy the bond that grows between you and your canine companion along the way.