How to Stop Dog Pulling: Leash Control Techniques

It's important to learn leash control techniques to prevent your dog from pulling on his leash and collar. If your dog pulls too hard, he can possibly harm his throat. A daily walk is beneficial for a dog's health as well as a good training exercise, but some dogs want to pull you in every direction, disrupting a productive walking routine.

Here are some tips to help you control leash pulling and become an effective pack leader:

Turn the Spotlight on Yourself

First, take a look at how you react when your dog pulls on his leash. As much as your dog needs training, so do you. When a dog pulls on his leash, most owners step forward and follow his lead. Try and control your need to move forward when your dog begins to pull on his leash. This is usually a knee-jerk reaction for humans as much as pulling is for the animal. Train yourself not to move forward or tug back hard on the leash.

Try "Being a Tree"

There is a method of leash training called "being a tree." As soon as you feel your dog pull on the leash, stand in place and stop moving. Only move when your dog stops pulling on his leash. Do not let your dog pull, and do not correct him for pulling. When the dog does let up on his leash, move in the direction your dog wants to go.

The goal is to have your dog realize that if he pulls on his leash, he's not going to get far. In most cases, a dog will adapt to this new concept after a few walks and change his behavior to follow your lead.

Alter your Direction

Another tip is to back up a step. This will cause your dog to turn around and investigate why you've stopped moving. Another effective tactic during leash training is to walk in a different direction. If your dog quickens his pace, promptly change your direction. Doing this will cause him to follow you.

Give Praise and Rewards

Encourage your dog in positive ways while training him to do something new. Give him dog treats for his good behavior. By offering your dog a biscuit or chew, it will prevent him from pulling away from you while on a walk. The dog learns to adapt his behavior to get a reward. Praise him every time he follows one of your commands or eases up on his leash.

Socializing During Walks

Help your dog develop healthy socialization habits during walks. Occasionally, let him stop and sniff what he wants, as well as interact with other people or dogs. Be sure and use commands such as "OK," "No" or "Free" so your dog learns what is an acceptable (or unacceptable) reason to stop while on a walk.

Purchase a Halter Collar

There are special halter-style collars that can prevent the act of pulling. This type of collar helps you to have more control over your dog's movements. It is designed so you can control your dog's head movements and make it difficult for him to pull away.