How can I stop my dog pulling on the lead?

Pet Care Posted Dec 1, 2020
For your dog, walks can be the best part of their day and loose lead walking is a key way to ensure both you and your dog are safe when out and about!

We already know that for your dog, the best place in the world is by your side, you just need to show them that this still reigns true amongst a distracting world. Loose lead walking can be a tricky skill for your dog to master, however, with a little patience and consistency… your pooch has got this!

How loose lead walking works

Loose lead walking operates on the basic principles of reward-based training. Essentially, if a dog is walking on lead without pulling, the owner can keep walking and reward the dog for that desired behaviour. However, if the dog starts to pull, the owner should stop, the dog will then not be rewarded for pulling, and learn that when they pull they will not be able to walk. Essentially, a loose lead means that they can walk and a tighter lead means to stop. Remember to start small and work your way up! Your dog will perform best in an environment with no distractions like your backyard. But, with practice, they will be able to master street walks in no time!

Training your dog to loose lead walk can actually be a fun experience for your dog for two key reasons; treats and walks! These are two of the most favoured enrichment activities for dogs. The treats should be something small and soft like chicken or cheese, so your dog does not get distracted by chewing them and can train for long enough without getting full.

You can download our Loose Lead Walking Fact Sheet here for your step by step guide that will help your dog to walk on a loose lead in seven easy steps!

What you’ll need

For training your dog to loose lead walk, RSPCA School for Dogs recommends using a front attaching harness with a double-ended lead. You can purchase yours on the RSPCA World for Pets Website. The harness should fit securely and comfortably, for proper control and safety.

As the RSPCA follows a positive reinforcement position, equipment that uses fear and distress to enforce good behaviour like; shock collars, check chains or citronella collars are not encouraged. Head collars are discouraged as they can cause injury or discomfort to the dog if used inappropriately. Additionally, extendable leads are also discouraged, as they teach your dog to pull on the lead and can result in injury and one giant tangled mess too!

Looking for extra support?

Why not check out RSPCA School for Dogs? Your dog will be able to complete a variety of training courses in a supportive environment from the comfort of your own home too!

Tegan Watson
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