You can stop your puppy’s pulling, today
Want to stop your puppy pulling on lead right away?
Teaching your puppy to walk on a leash without pulling does take practice.
Yet, skipping this important lesson now could cause you pain down the line. Your cute little puppy followed you everywhere a few weeks ago. But now, your puppy pulls on the leash, sits and refuses to move, or worse, draws away from you and slips his collar.
Teaching your dog to walk on perfectly on a leash is a step-by-step process. Those steps are here, but if you’re in a hurry, there’s an exercise that works fast to stop your puppy pulling on lead.
What is it?
Walk backwards. That’s right — walking backwards with your puppy on a leash can stop her from pulling.
How does walking backwards stop a puppy pulling on lead?
Puppies are inclined to move with us in two ways — to follow us, or to run ahead of us. If you have an average-sized puppy, he or she will grow to an adult dog whose gait is faster than your own. Attach a leash to a fast dog with a slow human walker, and presto! You have the perfect recipe for pulling.
Walking backwards with your puppy on a leash can help your puppy to follow you, rather than to run ahead of you. Why?
First, when you move backwards away from your puppy, you are inviting him or her into your space.
Your face, arms, and hands are interesting to your puppy. When you walk backwards, you encourage your puppy to pay attention to you. This keeps your puppy from looking for interesting things, or smelling the ground.
Second, you are going to reward your pup for following you. This will make him more likely to follow you in the future. Rewarding your puppy for following you is much easier if you are facing towards your puppy. When you are facing away from your puppy, you’ll have a harder time giving him a treat.
What walking backwards looks like
See this technique in action! In this video demonstration, I’m feeding my whippet, Everett, as I walk:
Steps to walking backwards with your puppy
Put your pup on his leash, and gather several tasty treats. Find somewhere to practice that doesn’t have a lot of traffic.
Smooch at or call your pup, then feed your puppy as you walk backwards. If your puppy doesn’t bite your hands when you try to feed him, you can feed from your hand.
Keep your hand at your hip or right in front of your waist. If your puppy does bite at your hand, try dropping the food on the ground in front of you, instead.
Practice walking back and forth with your pup this way for about three minutes. Then, remove your puppy’s leash and ignore her. Ignoring your puppy during breaks helps keep her interested in training with you.
When your puppy is comfortable following you as you walk backwards, feed fewer treats. Feed a treat every two or three steps, instead of every step.
If your puppy pulls on the leash when you’re walking forwards, stop. Wait for the puppy to look back at you and wonder where you are. As soon as your puppy looks at you, start walking backwards!
When your puppy catches up to you, walk forward again and feed a treat.
More tips to stop your puppy pulling on lead
Here are a few more tips for teaching leash walking:
- Hold the leash in one hand, with your hand through the loop and your thumb closed over the leash. Do not wrap the leash around your wrist.
- If your puppy is big or strong, fold the leash in your hand, so it is half as long (or get a shorter leash).
- Keep the leash as close to your waist as possible. This position helps you balance, and gives you better control.