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Start Walking on Sunshine with These Tips to Stop Puppy Leash Pulling

Teaching your new puppy to stop pulling on their leash is a walk in the park with the benefit of a trusted dog trainer on your side. These expert tips are designed with your furbaby in mind by our helpful canine behavior specialists. We’re on a mission to make obedience training in Kansas City a little easier for our pup parents. Whether you’re a new pet owner or an old dog parent looking to learn new tricks, putting a stop to leash pulling is simpler than you might expect.

Learn more about how to walk your puppy without your puppy walking you. We promise, you and your pup will enjoy the journey.

leash training kansas city

Start with the Right Gear

Choosing the right leash or harness for your puppy is key when it comes to training puppies to walk on a leash. If the leash or harness is uncomfortable, doesn’t fit well, or isn’t giving your pup the proper cue that it’s time to follow and not lead, your puppy may be trying to tell you something is wrong by pulling and tugging on their leash. Different leads are also helpful depending on the activity.

The four basic collar options include:

  • Flat-buckle Collar. This is your basic collar option and works well for dogs who are already leash trained. It’s typically not the best “training collar” option for puppies, however, and more prone to slipping when pulled on.
  • Martingale Collar. This collar features an innovative no-slip design making it a great choice for escapees. The collar also provides gentle, corrective tension as a cue to let your dog know not to pull, without the potential dangers associated with traditional choke chains.
  • Harness. Harnesses come in two varieties; body harnesses or front hook harnesses. Small breed puppies often do well with this design over a traditional leash. The comfortable yet secure method allows them to adventure without yanking on their necks (or your arm).
  • Halter. Inspired by a horse’s halter, head halters are a good choice for large breed puppies

Active pet parents may also consider investing in a retractable leash for running, biking, and hiking. These specially designed leashes are great for pups (and owners) on the go and work to discourage leash pulling by giving your adventure buddy a little more slack.

Practice Makes Perfect

Learning a new skill can be scary! Introduce your puppy to his or her leash before venturing out. Allow them to wear the leash or harness around the house so they get used to the feel. Always reward your pup with plenty of treats and praise so they begin to associate their leash with good things to come.

Our expert dog trainers employ the tried and true principles of positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior!

Other leash practice tips include:

  • Assign a command to leash training so your puppy gets in the habit of expecting it when it’s time to “leash up.” Clicker training is a great tool to use in teaching your new puppy to recognize cues.
  • Make your puppy come to you when it’s time for a walk. Never chase your pup around the house. This will encourage the “fun” of leash pulling.
  • Don’t allow your puppy to chew or tug on the lead, no matter how irresistibly cute they are. A simple, but firm movement is enough to pull the lead from their mouth and continue walking.
  • Once your pup has mastered the art of wearing their new gear, take them outside to a secured yard or sidewalk nearby their home for some real time practice.

Managing Leash Pulling When Out and About

Of course, all the diligent practice in the world can’t always prevent a determined leash puller. If your puppy tugs and yanks while out on a walk, follow these easy tips to manage and correct their behavior:

  • Don’t give in to leash pulling. If your puppy starts to pull in one direction, stand firm, channel your inner statue, take a breath, and pause. By not moving or responding, your pup will eventually get bored and return to their walk. This ensures bad behavior is never encouraged or given attention. And yes, even negative attention like shouting or waving your arms can encourage a stubborn pup!
  • Do not yank or jerk your dog in response. Rely on training tools like harnesses and halters to do their job instead.
  • Never drag your dog. Not only does this steal all the fun from a walk, but dragging your puppy in the direction you want them to go doesn’t teach them to obey your commands and trust in you to keep them on track.
  • Encourage good leash manners instead by keeping small treats in your pocket and offering a few when your pup stays close by. This is an easy, simple way to teach puppies to heel without yanking, tugging, or dragging.
  • If your puppy becomes distracted while on a walk, have a signal to redirect attention like a command or clicker. Herding and hunting breeds may be more prone to pulling if they catch a sniff of something exciting. Be mindful of these tendencies so you can manage them before they become an issue.
  • Keep your dog engaged on the walk by allowing them to move at their own pace, enjoy relaxing in the grass, or pick up the pace for a brisk run when your pup is getting bored.

With a few easy training tools, you and your new puppy will be off on your next adventure in no time.

Looking for puppy training nearby? Chat with our canine behavior experts today and find the perfect obedience training match for your new furry family member.