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Lead Training a Dog That Pulls

Chihuahua in grass pulling against the leash

Dogs can aptly be described as “man’s best friend” owing to their close affinity towards their human masters. However, a multitude of owners run into problems about the lead training of a dog that pulls on the leash. This ‘strange arrogance’ on the part of your canine companion can be a really troublesome affair. If your pup does the same, read on to learn how you can counter this behavior.

Why Does My Dog Pull on the Leash?

Many reasons can instigate your pup to pull the lead while walking. These underlying causes can range from an uncomfortable harness to the general lack of training. Therefore, it is difficult to identify the exact cause, and you will need to use inductive reasoning to determine it. Some of the reasons that might urge a dog to pull his/her lead are as follows.

Pleasure-Seeking Nature

Woman walking dog on leash on a brick boardwalk with the dog pulling against the lead

The disposition of a dog can be traced back to the theory of utilitarianism. It states that canines are always looking to enhance their pleasure over pain. When dogs go out for a walk, they are always looking for some fun. They consider the leash as the only hurdle to attain their perceived “pleasure” and try to attain freedom from it.


It is quite a well-documented fact that animal aggressiveness varies a lot just as with us humans. According to Positively, some pups are innately aggressive and have that “Lead-from-Front” essence. They will try to lead their masters by moving forward to prove that they are worthy of leadership. This behavior engenders a tussle between the master and his/her pooch, which can manifest into pulling the leash.

Adventurous Disposition

Yellow Labrador retriever pulling against owner, fighting for the leash

Being freedom-loving creatures, it’s natural for dogs to explore new things in their environment. The walks with their masters provide them with the perfect opportunity to explore the world. For example, they visualize the colorful surroundings, green pastures, and ongoing traffic on the road. They are also stimulated by “specie-peers”, strong environmental odor, and a sense of perceived danger.

Faster Walking Speed

Dogster explains that canines are generally faster than their human counterparts. Hence, their walking speed is often bottlenecked by the pace of the owner and they have to move slower. Sometimes, the dogs just can’t take the “ponderous” stroll of their masters and deliberately try to move faster. This results in a clash between the owner and the dog that leads to leash pulling.

Uncomfortable Harness

Corgi puppy laying down on a prick walkway refusing to move while wearing a harness and lead

The harnessing equipment which is employed for controlling the movement of the dog can also cause the problem. For example, head-halters can become quite excruciating for the dog while short leashes can also result in leash pulling. The pulling effect exerts painful strain on the neck of your pup which can result in some more resistance. Additionally, untrained dogs can find it difficult to cope with the training equipment and are more prone to non-compliant behavior.

How Can I Give Lead Training to a Dog That Pulls?

Although it is common for dogs to exhibit inappropriate behavior towards their masters, they are not impossible to train. Through effective and prudent measures, you can train your pooch to refrain from leash pulling during walks. The following are some easy and doable techniques to make your canine more cooperative (to lead training).

Comfortable Equipment

Yellow Labrador retriever walking on a lead next to a couple.

Head-halters are not recommended at all because they can cause pain to the dog. They exert a sudden, excruciating pressure on the face of the animal when the leash is pulled. As a result, your dog feels discomfort and becomes annoyed.

Contrastingly, full-body harnesses are preferred because they effectively distribute the force of pulling the leash over the entire body. This means that your pup won’t feel much discomfort with this product. Therefore, they are more suitable for controlling the direction of your pooch.

 “Obey and Reward” Technique

Dogs Trust mentioned that canines are stimulated by rewards especially when the reward is scrumptious. If they are pulling on the leash, you can control the situation by connecting the obeyance with a tasty meal.

Owners must try to make the dog follow his/her direction. If your pet complies with the command, immediately reward him/her with a delicious snack. This Obey and Reward technique will internalize within the animal psyche that obeying the commands results in a reward. This will inculcate internal discipline within the dog.

Use a Loose Leash

Jack Russell terrier walking beside a human down a sidewalk on a loose leash

Trust is key in an owner-pet relationship. Dog parents should try to use a loose leash as it gives more room to the canine for movement. It gives the dog a semblance of freedom. A relaxed leash, along with regular motivating chants, can develop effective coordination between the owner and dog.

Teach Dog Commands

You must teach certain hand gestures (or dog commands) to your furry friend to keep him/her under control. These commands point towards key directional movements that can be instructed to the dog. The Obey and Reward technique can be used to teach most of these commands. Some particular commands are used at an appropriate time, like when the dog is unresponsive.

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