How to train your dog not to pull – Dog Training

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In other words- walking on a loose leash.
This video quickly outlines exercises to get your dog walking on a loose leash by your side. Put very basically FIRST you will teach the dog what you want them to do! And secondly, stop reinforcing them when they pull!

I demonstrate the exercise using a clicker, but if you do not have one, you can always use a verbal marker like yes etc. However you will get much faster and reliable results by using the clicker. If you hold the clicker in the same hand as the leash, and keep the treats in the other hand, you will find it easier to manage. Practice holding the leash, clicker, and treats when you do not have the dog attached to the leash yet, so you dont become overwhelmed.

A great book on loose leash walking, or how to stop your dog from pulling is-

My Dog Pulls. What Do I Do? by Turid Rugaas

You can get this book on www.dogwise.com and other places too. Its very short and has lots of pictures.

I would advise against using any forms of positive punishment when teaching any behavior, but especially leash walking, as startling or hurting a dog actually increases their stress hormones in their body causing the dog to be more hyperactive and more likely to become aroused and reactive towards other dogs and people (weather they want to greet them or not).

DO NOT DROP THE LEASH! I showed myself dropping the leash on a street with no cars/danger and another person there. This would happen during an emergency, if you trip or fumble. In no way do I support people who walk with their dogs off leash, you never can tell if a car will backfire, or who knows what, an earthquake etc with frighten your dog, and cause it to run into traffic. If you don't like holding a leash, simply tie it to your waist like I do with my dogs. However walking in a safe place where dogs are allowed off leash is perfectly acceptable 🙂

Happy Training!

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55 Comments

  1. Dog Training by Kikopup

    +KoRnn69 I couldnt reply to your comment for some reason- I did get a lot of people asking me that so this video I am linking has 1- a dog that doesn’t want treats in a shelter and 2- a Saint Bernard – he is pretty big.  

  2. sharm godfrey

    Here is a tip that worked with my dog, never let your dog walk out the front door before you, if your dog walks out the front door first then he is dominant over you, I practiced walking out the door over and over until he sat and stayed there until I said release, and until he stopped to pull! (it took 30 min) and after that he didn’t pull for the entire walk, and he used to drag me!!! so it worked well!!!

    • J Blake

      +WalkWith MeCanine I disagree that dogs don’t see us as members of their pack. It’s probably the word “pack” that’s misleading you. Replace it with “family,” and it’ll be clear. They see us, and other animal members of the family, as family, and there is a structure and leadership, as you mentioned with the relationship between parent and child.

    • Shirley

      So many opinions around dominance theory! I’m no dog trainer, but have taken care of dogs professionally for a while and have learned that they are all different (like us :)).. Anyways, the best way I’ve learned to handle pulling on leashes is to use harnesses that can clip in front, or gentle leads. My favorite is here if anyone’s looking too https://www.dogsrule1.com/collections

    • Zak Cooper

      It’s actually pretty amazing 3 years down the line and pretty much every single major institute that specializes in dog behavior has discredited Ceaser Milan ( I still love when that moron got bit :*) ), and also Sharm’s original comment. Look how far we’ve progressed in logical understanding, rather than the “dominance” bullshit that even wolfs don’t use.

      These idiots must think that wolf packs are constantly dominating each other, 24/7, nonstop. I feel sorry for their dogs if that is their life.

    • If it worked it probably worked because you spent a half hour teaching him not to go ahead of you. It has nothing to do with dominance. You taught him a skill and it worked when he used it.

  3. Marko Papuckoski

    Yea right go teach a husky to do this kind of stuff xD
    They pull no matter what

    • magnoliasouth

      Really? I had one and he learned not to. Perhaps you need more patience or a tutor.

    • Like magnoliasouth said, timing is everything.

    • blackdogxx

      Are you saying that Huskies as a breed of dog pull on leash from genetics? That is absurd and I think you know it. “Train,,,don’t complain”

    • Morgan Nelson

      i have had a few who never pulled me unless given the cue

  4. magnoliasouth

    Emily I love your methods and they DO work. I did the direction change as you did (learned it from Victoria Stilwell) and it worked beautifully on my husky that tried valiantly to pull my arm out of its socket. His parents were sled dogs in Alaska (we lived there when we got him) so pulling was in his blood. Nothing worked and when I saw an episode of Stilwell’s I tried it and was amazed at how quickly he learned. Timing is everything too. You have to do it suddenly so that the dog is completely baffled as to why it’s happening. Eventually it dawns on them, but you have to be consistent too. Many thanks for all your videos Emily. I love them!

  5. ApeX Kittens

    my puppy completely ignores treats when we are outside the house, though he has only been outside around ten times so i’m not sure what to do. I practiced inside and it worked very well, he stopped pulling though when we got outside he would pull.

    • Obviously the outdoors has too many interesting distractions for food to work with your puppy. But changing direction in the walk should still work.

    • ApeX Kittens

      thanks alot i tried that today and now he is walking quite well, he just needs some more practice 🙂

    • Nicole L'Enfant

      My naughty beagle doesn’t care about treats outside the house too. You can see my dog being weird on my channel… So naughty yet so cuuuuute ☺

  6. Savvysalli

    I love your videos and I’m using them to train my new 3yo rescue street dog.  She has the sit almost perfected, and she’ll wear a collar and a harness, but nothing stops her pulling on a walk.  I stop – she stops, looks at everything she can see except me, sniffs, looks around at everything some more, sniffs more, and this can go on for 10 minutes, she’ll just stand there, maybe do a test pull, and then stand still again. Sometimes she’ll look at me and then we’ll go forward.  I change direction, and she pulls as she turns around, but she knows which is the one we’re going in despite me trying to make a different route each time so that she can’t be sure.  I have a second dog, much younger, also rescue, and she hardly ever pulls but may lean against the harness sometimes.  It can take 30 minutes to get back from the park, a 5 minute walk away.  My hands ache from her pulling, and when she stops and I can relax my hands it’s bliss!

    • J Blake

      You’re not changing direction often enough. Do leash training sessions with her, 10 minutes long, several times a day, in your yard, or somewhere where there aren’t any distractions. Reward her whenever she looks at you, whenever she follows and doesn’t pull, and make sure it’s a high level treat — bits of chicken or something she loves. It’s a slow process, and must be done consistently. When you’re taking her to the park isn’t the best time for training. That can be added in later, gradually.

      After she’s done well in your yard, take her out in front of your street and do the same thing for a few minutes and reward when she does well, then end the session. Then a few minutes longer on the street after the back yard training. Then start going a short distance on your regular route to the park, doing the same thing. Eventually she’ll understand she’s to walk next to you and not pull whenever she walks with you.

  7. ‘It’s hard to put a leash on a dog once you’ve put a crown on it’s head.’

  8. StealingSunsets

    LOVE how when you dropped the leash and turned around, your dogs not only turned around with you but also got back on their designated sides. Really cool

  9. Matheus Guimaraes

    I just wanted to say that I loved that you wrote what you were speaking. I’m a hard of hearing guy and it’s usually very hard for me to hear some videos. Too bad you didn’t do this on the whole video. I get it though, the viewer has to see what you’re doing. Have you ever thought about adding closed captions to your videos?

    • Daiyuki117

      +Matheus Guimaraes Youtube’s closed captions work pretty well on this video because she speaks clearly.

    • Matheus Guimaraes

      +Daiyuki117 Yeah, but it’s still an arrangement. When I ask this to video uploaders, I’m not asking them to add closed captions so that I can understand this particular video. I do it so that they know there are tons of people who need closed captions to understand the videos and so that she keeps that in mind for her future videos.

      But I undertand you’re just trying to help and I thank you for that.

  10. Hermine H

    I don’t have a clicker…do have treats… is giving treats without clicker also good? of like saying “good boy”?

    • Becky Hane

      +Hermine H One of my trainers uses a que word instead of a clicker… in her case it is YES. She says it the same way each time, a quick, sharp, positive toned YES! 🙂

    • Also, you can use a ball point pen that clicks. Those are usually loud enough

    • Connie Long

      ebay £2

    • Raevenswood

      +Hermine H ebay, Amazon (not sure if they are available in Belgium?) or any pet orientated store in your country should have a clicker but yeah there are apps as well. a voice command work as long as it’s consistent but making a consistent voice sound is not as easy to do every time. I have a friend that used a snap of his fingers to do the click and it worked. 🙂

  11. SkitMan SkitMan

    i let my dog offf on a leash and hell follow me if i jog or run but if i walk hell go away and if hes on a leash he pulls a lot

  12. Becky Hane

    Great video, thank you!  I neglected to teach my dog to walk loose on a leash and now I have two… I just adopted an 8 mos old cattle dog who is now starting to pull as she sees her mate do it.  So now I have to teach both not to be monsters, lol.

  13. Thank you for the video. It doesn’t mention though how you reconcile sniffing stuff with nice leash walking. Concretely, my dog may walk nicely next to me but then suddenly we walk by a hydrant and then he side steps and pulls sideways to sniff there. Sniffing is really important to his mental health. Is he only ever supposed to sniff something when he’s off leash? Or is there another way to reconcile sniffing and loose leash walking?

  14. hoghaulerJake

    ugh. you have a Chihuahua. I have a 50 kilo malamute who I didn’t even raise.

    • A Pickle Behaviourist

      +hoghaulerJake Oh no!! Who cares, mind you own business. Kiko is a beautiful dog, it is not all about size, often the best dogs are the small ones. I myself prefer large dogs, but for a lot of people a small dog is a better choice. Is anything bad about her dog? It still acts like a dog, and is probably WAY better behaved than most big dogs.

    • hoghaulerJake

      no. I’m saying a chihuahua could be easier to train because he doesn’t have the power to take you dirt skiing like my malamute does.

    • Daniel Suter

      +hoghaulerJake holly ghost i have an husky and he pulls like mad sometimes i belive i will kiss the street

  15. Daniel Suter

    i have an husky one year young and he pulls like mad. after i give him hes treats, he stard pulling again . how i teach him not to pull ,then i dont have 2 kg treats with me .

    • Username90281

      I have the same problem tbh my husky is 9 months and he pulls like crazy what I do is force him to walk next to me by holding the leash behind my back and then once he pulls I stop walking and make him sit. It’ll take a while but they’ll get it soon. They’ll be a little pulling as well but I suggest going for a run before you try this so he’ll be tired and unable to pull you.

  16. Mary Millette

    When I try this in my backyard, my dog will pull to the end of the leash every time I take a step forward. When I try backing up she will lay down without looking back, even when I try to lure her back with the kissy noise and patting my legs. She’s very stubborn! What should I do?

    • Komori Aimi

      Did you find a solution? I’m not fond of leash jerking so I’d like to hear from people in your situation.

    • Mary Millette

      +komoriaimi I’ve found that when we work in an area just outside of my backyard, my dog is more willing to respond to me. Not sure why but she likes to be more independent when we’re in more familiar places. Also, continuing to reinforce your attention noise (like the kissy noise) with higher value treats helps.

    • Komori Aimi

      Sounds to me like she feels that’s her territory and maybe, just maybe feels contested when out of it. Interesting. Thanks 😉

    • Mary Millette

      +komoriaimi I also think my dog is highly motivated by access the the environment. When we’re practicing in the yard, it’s not as motivating as being able to sniff and explore the area just beyond the back fence.

    • Komori Aimi

      +Mary Millette Could be yes. Oh those doggies. Everyone has his/her personality. There’s no one magic recipe to fit them all 😄

  17. That was incredible, especially at the end when you dropped both leashes and both dogs remained beside you.. willingly 🙂

  18. Wayne Goff

    So does she train slavering aggressive dogs as well? Or just tiny cute harmless ones.

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  19. Sutton Frances

    You’ve just brought your new puppy home. House training a puppy is an important first step in developing a well behaved dog. Find out more tips. just search google; “galid dog training”

  20. James Henderson

    What should I do when my Dog needs to “go”?

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