How Do I Train My Dog Not to Pull on Walks?

How Do I Train My Dog Not to Pull on Walks?

Ah, the age-old dilemma every dog owner faces: How do I train my dog not to pull on walks? It’s like trying to teach a toddler that ice cream isn’t a breakfast food—challenging but not impossible. Walking your dog should be a joy, not a tug-of-war that leaves you both frustrated.

The key to success lies in consistent training, using appropriate tools, and understanding your dog’s behavior. Let’s break down the steps to transform your pulling pooch into a model walking companion, ensuring both safety and enjoyment on your strolls.

Equip Yourself with the Right Gear

Before jumping into training, make sure you’re equipped with the right tools. A no-pull harness is essential as it discourages pulling without causing discomfort by distributing pressure across your dog’s chest and shoulders.

  1. Select a No-Pull Harness: Choose a harness that fits your dog comfortably, avoiding any that are too tight or loose.
  2. Ensure Proper Fit: Adjust the harness so you can fit two fingers under any strap, ensuring it’s snug but not restrictive.
no pull dog harness

Start with Basic Obedience Training

Laying the foundation with basic commands is crucial for effective leash training. Focus on commands that promote walking discipline.

  1. Teach “Sit” and “Stay”: These commands help manage your dog’s impulsiveness before you begin walking.
  2. Practice “Heel”: Encourage your dog to walk beside you by using treats and praise when they do so correctly.
  3. Consistent Practice: Regular, short training sessions help reinforce these behaviors without overwhelming your dog.

Implement the ‘Stop-and-Go’ Technique

The ‘stop-and-go’ technique is a direct way to teach your dog that pulling won’t get them where they want to go faster.

  1. Stop Immediately: As soon as your dog pulls, halt and stand still. This teaches them that pulling leads to no progress.
  2. Wait for Slack: Only resume walking when your dog stops pulling and the leash is slack.
  3. Reward Compliance: Praise and offer treats when your dog walks nicely without pulling.

Use the ‘Change Direction’ Strategy

Changing direction unpredictably helps capture your dog’s attention and reduces their tendency to pull.

  1. Unexpected Turns: When your dog begins to pull, turn and walk in a different direction.
  2. Engage Your Dog: Call their name and use a treat to encourage them to follow you as you change direction.
  3. Praise and Treat: Reward your dog when they catch up and walk nicely beside you.

Create Distractions with Treats and Toys

Using distractions effectively can keep your dog focused on you rather than the environment, reducing pulling.

  1. Use High-Value Treats: Hold a treat or toy near your side to encourage your dog to stay close.
  2. Vary the Rewards: Keep your dog interested by rotating different treats or toys.
  3. Reward Focus: Give the treat or allow play with the toy when your dog maintains the desired position beside you.

Building Endurance and Patience

Training is a process that requires time and patience. Build up your dog’s good habits gradually for lasting results.

  1. Increase Difficulty Gradually: Start in a quiet area and introduce more distractions as your dog’s skills improve.
  2. Stay Positive: Maintain an encouraging tone and demeanor to keep training sessions enjoyable and stress-free for your dog.
  3. Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge and reward even small improvements to motivate both you and your dog.


Training your dog not to pull on walks requires a combination of the right tools, techniques, and a whole lot of patience. With consistent effort and a positive approach, you and your dog can enjoy stress-free strolls that are the highlight of your day.

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FAQ about Pulling

  1. What is the command for a dog to stop pulling? Common commands to stop a dog from pulling include “heel,” which instructs the dog to walk beside or slightly behind you, or “easy,” signaling the dog to slow down and reduce tension on the leash. Consistency in using the command and rewarding compliance is key to its effectiveness.
  2. How do you walk a dog that constantly pulls? Walking a dog that constantly pulls requires patience and consistent training. Use a proper harness to distribute pressure more safely. Implement commands like “heel” and reward the dog with treats or praise when it walks calmly without pulling. Shorten the leash to keep the dog closer and more controlled, and stop walking if the dog pulls, resuming only when the leash slackens.
  3. Why does my dog pull so hard on walks? Dogs may pull on walks due to excitement, lack of training, a desire to explore, or an instinct to chase. High energy levels and the presence of distractions like other animals, people, or scents can also contribute. Consistent training and exercise can help manage and reduce this behavior.
  4. How to stop leash pulling in 5 minutes? Stopping leash pulling quickly involves a few key steps:
    • Use a front-clip harness to redirect pulling force and gain better control.
    • As soon as the dog starts to pull, stop walking and stand still. Resume walking only when the leash slackens.
    • Use treats or a favorite toy to reward and encourage calm, non-pulling behavior.
    • Keep initial training sessions short and positive, focusing on reinforcing calm behavior rather than punishing pulling.

Article by

Kyra Luo

Product Design Manager

Kyra is the Product Design Manager at QQPETS, where her expertise in developing high-quality, customized pet products and keen insight into market trends has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals, save money, and satisfy consumer needs.

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Kyra Luo

Product Design Manager

Kyra is the Product Design Manager at QQPETS, where her expertise in developing high-quality, customized pet products and keen insight into market trends has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals, save money, and satisfy consumer needs.

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