Have you recently noticed a pattern? Every time you walk your dog, you realize they’re leading the way, tugging at the leash? That calm peaceful walk you thought you’d be having. They are just not happening. But the truth is, you’re not alone.
My name is Jeremy, and I once had the same problem with my dog, Bailey.
She used to pull on the leash constantly, leaving me to wonder whether this was something that would ever naturally go away.
Would she learn to stop in time? Well, after a lot of research and hands-on experience, I discovered this.
So, do dogs naturally stop pulling on the leash? Dogs don’t naturally stop pulling on the leash; it takes patience, consistency, and the right techniques to train your dog to walk nicely by your side.
Today, I am going to be sharing my personal journey with Bailey and provide you with valuable insights and tips to help you train your dog to stop pulling on the leash – for good.
So, let’s dive in and explore what it takes to transform your daily walks into an enjoyable, more pain-and-stress-free experience.
A Tale of Two Walks
I remember the first time I took Bailey, my energetic Cockapoo, for a walk.
She was so excited to explore the world, and I couldn’t wait to share this experience with her.
However, as soon as we hit the pavement, she started pulling on the leash like a sled dog.
This seemed to continue, walk after walk.
It quickly became a nightmare.
Fast forward a year later, after some hard work and dedication, Bailey now walks calmly by my side, without pulling.
She’s become the perfect walking companion, and I’m so proud of her progress.
So, what changed? Well, I did my homework and learned how to train Bailey to stop pulling on the leash.
In the next section, we shall explore how.
What Do You Need To Do To Stop Your Dog From Pulling on the Leash?
The right equipment, rewarding the right behaviour, being consistent and patient and training/socialization will help you to train your dog to stop pulling on the leash.
If you’re experiencing the same leash pulling problem as I did, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered!
Here are some of the techniques I used to train Bailey not to pull on the leash:
Understand the Causes
As with anything, understanding the cause of a behavior’s or action can help you reduce or better manage it altogether.
I would suggest you read my other guide , to give yourself a basic understanding of where this particular behavior’s comes from: Why Does My Dog Pull On The Leash? [7 Most Likely Reasons]
Invest in the Right Equipment
First and foremost, make sure you’re using the right equipment.
A no-pull harness, proper leash, or head collar can work wonders to discourage pulling.
Personally, I opted for a front-clip no-pull harness, and a sturdy leash, which made a huge difference in controlling Bailey’s pulling behavior.
Learn more: Best Leash For Training Dogs Not To Pull
Use the “Red Light, Green Light” Technique
This training technique worked wonders for Bailey and me.
Whenever she pulled on the leash, I would stop walking immediately (red light).
Once she relaxed and the leash was loose again, we would resume walking (green light).
Over time, Bailey understood that pulling meant we wouldn’t go anywhere, and she started to walk nicely without pulling.
Choose Quieter Walks and Avoid Distractions
When you’re training your dog to stop pulling on the leash, it’s essential to minimize distractions as much as possible.
This means choosing quieter walking routes and staying away from other dogs and people during the initial stages of training.
Busy streets, parks, and other areas with high foot traffic can be overstimulating for your dog, making it harder for them to focus on your training efforts.
By selecting quieter routes and avoiding potential distractions, you’ll create a more conducive environment for your dog to learn and make progress.
As your dog becomes more comfortable walking without pulling and starts to understand the desired behavior, you can gradually reintroduce busier environments.
This will help to reinforce their training in different settings and with various distractions.
Just remember to take it slow and be patient with your dog, as they continue to learn and adapt to new situations.
Reward Loose Leash Walking
One of the most effective ways to teach your dog not to pull on the leash is by rewarding them when they’re walking nicely by your side.
Every time Bailey walked with a loose leash, I would praise her and give her a treat.
This helped her understand that walking calmly was a rewarding behavior.
Be Consistent and Patient
Consistency is key when it comes to training your dog.
It’s important to practice leash training every day and make sure everyone in your household is on the same page.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your dog’s leash manners. Be patient, and don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate progress.
Seek Out A Professional (If Needed)
If you’re still struggling after trying these techniques, consider enrolling your dog in a group obedience class or hiring a professional dog trainer.
Sometimes, an outside perspective can make all the difference in solving the leash pulling problem.
How Long Does It Take to Train a Dog Not to Pull?
It can take a few weeks to a few months to train a dog not to pull on the leash. It depends on your training consistency, the dog’s breed, age and temperament.
In Bailey’s case, it took about three months of consistent training before we started seeing significant improvements.
Keep in mind that some dogs may take longer than others, and that’s perfectly okay.
The important thing is to stay patient and consistent with your training efforts.
With time, you’ll start to see progress, and eventually, you’ll have a well-behaved walking companion like I do with Bailey now.
Celebrating The Small Victories
As you work on training your dog not to pull on the leash, remember to celebrate the small victories.
It might be tempting to focus on the moments when your dog reverts to old habits, but acknowledging their progress is crucial for maintaining motivation—for both you and your dog.
When Bailey and I reached the point where she could walk by my side for an entire block without pulling, I was over the moon.
It might not seem like a big deal to some, but for us, it was a major milestone.
I made sure to reward her with praise, treats, and extra playtime.
The Benefits of a Leash-Trained Dog
Teaching your dog not to pull on the leash comes with a plethora of benefits.
For one, it makes your daily walks more enjoyable and less stressful.
Gone are the days of being dragged down the street or having your arm yanked out of its socket.
Additionally, leash training helps prevent injuries to both you and your dog.
A dog that pulls on the leash can cause strain on their neck, and the owner may suffer from back or shoulder pain.
By training your dog to walk calmly on a loose leash, you’re promoting a healthier, safer lifestyle for both of you.
Finally, a well-trained dog is a happier dog.
When your dog understands what’s expected of them, they feel more secure and confident.
This, in turn, leads to a stronger bond between you and your canine companion.
Dogs don’t naturally stop pulling on leash; it takes patience, consistency, and the right techniques to train your dog to walk nicely by your side.
The journey might be challenging, but the rewards are well worth it.
So, strap on that harness, grab some treats, and embark on this rewarding journey of leash training.
Do dogs grow out of leash pulling?
Dogs do not grow out of leash pulling. It requires dedicated training and effort to reduce and eradicate such behavior.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.