How do you stop an aggresive puller from pulling on their leash?

asked 2015-12-03 22:12:13 -0500

We've tried many thing from getting our dog's attention (look at me method) while were outside and he's on the leash to even buying a special chest harness to help, he just keep pulling. When we try treats outside to help train he thinks every time we go outside he should get a treat, even then we rarely use them. I am concerned he will pull one of us down, so any advice is appreciated. Thank you so much and God bless.

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When dog pulls, immediately reverse direction. This means a lot of turning around, but the dog should start paying attention to you and not anything else. Calm and consistent.

Barbara L.'s profile image Barbara L.  ( 2015-12-04 16:07:34 -0500 ) edit

This is the method I have been using along with getting his attention. I will continue to work hard and keep watching to make sure he is paying attention, maybe I will work on small walks inside too. Thank you very much.

Katrina M.'s profile image Katrina M.  ( 2015-12-06 19:36:31 -0500 ) edit

I 100% agree with Barbara! I learned at the dog facility I worked at to hold a leash across your body (at your hip) and then when the dog pulls to turn the opposite direction, having your body pull the leash (which allows more control) and minimizes choking from the leash pulling on the neck.

Gabrielle M.'s profile image Gabrielle M.  ( 2016-07-04 15:07:56 -0500 ) edit

You can read this piece and find some info: http://www.labrador-retriever.club/labrador-retriever-training-tips---the-complete-guide-3650

Sovar E.'s profile image Sovar E.  ( 2016-07-26 05:47:31 -0500 ) edit

Gabrielle M. nailed it. This is the method I use. It's all about confidence. Walk with purpose, with your back straight and shoulders square, and your dog will follow.

Jason G.'s profile image Jason G.  ( 2016-08-08 13:01:21 -0500 ) edit

6 Answers

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answered 2015-12-04 07:41:22 -0500

Initially, training the behavior WILL take many, many treats, especially if your dog is food motivated. This is okay and you can slowly wean off of treats once your dog is trained and at that point. If you lessen or take away the treat/reward too soon they can easily regress. I use nitrate free turkey hot dogs cut into small pieces as my "only for training" treat. A pea sized a piece or a bit larger depending on the size of your dog is enough. One key is to NEVER let your dog pull and do not tighten up the leash. They have what is called an opposition reflex, which means that many dogs gain pleasure simply from the pull. If you hold them with a tight leash, or allow them to pull all the way out at the end of the leash they are actually self rewarding.

Training loose leash walking can take A LOT of patience and can be very frustrating at first with a hard puller. I had one. so I know. :) However, the payoff is amazing. Sometimes I spent 30 minutes just making it to half way down my street, because everytime the dog pulled I would stop and move backward while calling his name or making a positive sound and then use my hand as his nose level to guide him back to my side to start walking forward again. The dog still gets exercise this way because he is working hard to use his brain and you will still wear them out ;) Below is a loose leash training guide:

Why do dogs pull on leash?

Dogs have an opposition reflex that is varied by breed and individual People accidentally reward their dog’s behavior of pulling on the leash


Taking a walk with your dog should be enjoyable for both you and the dog.  Leash walks help to exercise your dog mentally and physically (they can build stamina in certain dogs), and is overall a great way to bond and have fun.  Walking a dog that maintains a nice loose leash even while passing distractions is truly a joy.  Walking a dog that pulls constantly and may lunge or bark at distractions is stressful, frustrating and can even be dangerous.  First we must teach the dog to walk on a loose leash.

Enable your dog to learn and maintain a loose leash by using the correct equipment. A Gentle Leader or Premier’s Easy Walk Harness are good options to try for strong pullers.

Never reward your dog for pulling! Always stand your ground or back away from whatever the dog is pulling towards.

Begin by holding your leash on either your left or right side (pick one and stick with it). Give your dog approx. 2-4 feet of slack on the leash, and hold it firmly at your side close to your body. Try not to pull back on the leash, but rather keep your hand with the leash attached at... (more)

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Thank you for your response, I have heard of the opposition reflex that dog's have and have been keeping that in mind. I have tried the turn the opposite method and have really worked with him. I will continue to work with this big baby and I reckon I will try this technique that involves "Lets go". Thank you so much for all your help.

Katrina M.'s profile image Katrina M.  ( 2015-12-06 19:29:11 -0500 ) edit
answered 2016-07-23 20:17:52 -0500

Note: This will take a lot of patience. When you take him outside on a leash and if you feel a little bit of tension on the leash, stop moving until the leash is loose again. You would continue doing this until he stops pulling which as i mentioned before will take a lot of patience.

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answered 2016-07-28 16:35:20 -0500

Hi Katrina: I know I'm late in the game with this response (and there are a lot of good responses here) but wit my own dog that pulls (he's better off leash as a hunting dog) and with some of my walking clients, I use the Walk EZ Leash. It's easy to hook up, and there's no adjusting a harness, etc. Just attach to the collar like a regular leash, wrap around the body, and pull the handle end through the loop. The dogs still do pull, but not so hard; so I think it is a great tool to use to get your dog to WALK with you and follow your cues.
You can get it here:http://www.aquatherapups.com/#!walk-ez-leash/rpb3d

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I side with Mary C, the WalkEZ leash harness is awesome. I like them so much I've given a bunch of them to my clients for their use. Pulling pups are a thing of the past

Walt G.'s profile image Walt G.  ( 2016-07-30 13:17:19 -0500 ) edit
answered 2015-12-04 06:24:39 -0500

I teach my clients to use a Gentle Leader. It goes over the nose and behind the head one finger snug. Of course you just can't slap one on and expect the dog to respond. I use several sessions of placing on the nose and then click in treat. I do short sessions until I can clasp the halter around the head. Then still short lessons with walking a small distance in the house and praise,praise praise. and click and treat. I also teach your basic sit stay and or wait command so that any time you cross a bicycle, other person, dog, etc the dog can be on a sit command.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_y3sjc1yY50 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_y3sj...)

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Thank you for your time, the harness I think will work better for Chibi since his head is so big. I will continue to work hard and stay patient with him. I have trained before, but, this has been quite a challenge since he is over a year and I believe no one took the time with him before. Thanks again.

Katrina M.'s profile image Katrina M.  ( 2015-12-06 19:33:05 -0500 ) edit
answered 2016-07-23 18:24:36 -0500

One more tip: in addition to randomly changing direction, I use moving forward as a treat. If they start to pull, then I just stop dead in my tracks. Coax him to coming back to stand beside you, and as SOON as he does, then "good boy" and step forward. After a while, he'll automatically walk himself back to your side just because he is so desperate to move ahead. It's nice to make that desperation work in your favor!

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answered 2016-07-28 12:13:36 -0500

Using a harness has so improved my walks with my fella. Wish I had used one years ago. I don't have a Gentle Leader, but I have heard good things regarding them.

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