How to Teach your Dog to Walk on Leash

How to Walk a Dog on a Leash

A dog that pulls on the leash is NOT trying to be boss. He is simply excited! He wants to reach everything and quickly! Wouldn't you if you only had one outing a day? Teaching your dog to be calm on leash is best done SLOWLY. Aim to be able to walk your dog with a 'J' shape in the leash. Don't forget to let your dog sniff when on a walk, just make sure he doesn't pull towards the spot he wants to sniff (this would be rewarding pulling- we don't want to reward pulling..ever!). Walking your dog, or any activity with your dog should involve MUTUAL respect- he'll get what he wants (when its safe to) but only when he gives you what you want first.


  1. Use a standard length leash.You want to work towards having a 'J' shape in your dogs leash at all times when walking. This avoids tension in the leash. Tension can lead to 'leash reactivity' or 'leash aggression'.
  2. Begin at the point where your dog starts getting excited about going for a walk.If he is excited now, will he get calmer outside? Nope! And an excited dog will pull you- plus it's a small step from hyper excitement to aggression. A calm dog is a responsive dog. If your dog gets excited when you put on your shoes or coat, do this randomly throughout the day without going for a walk until your dog no longer reacts to it. Do the same with your dogs leash until you can clip your leash on a quiet dog. When you can clip the leash on, unclip it and go back to what you were doing. When your dog is calm and quiet through all this, you can now tackle the front door.
  3. If your dog pulls you towards the front door, turn and walk the other way every time he pulls ahead of you.Repeat until you can reach the front door with a relaxed leash.
  4. Have your dog sit and stay at the front door.Reach out and touch the door handle. If he stayed, give him a treat. Repeat until he is calm. Then wiggle the door handle. Repeat until he is calm. Open the door a little and then close it. Repeat until he is calm. Continue until you can fully open the door.
  5. Now have him sit and stay while you step out (dog remaining on the inside).Return to your dog and reward him. When he is calm for this step, then call him to you when you are outside. Have him sit. Reward him. If he is excited, go back inside and repeat until he is calm.
  6. Now you are ready to start the walk.Tell him 'lets go' and step forward. If he leaps ahead of you, simply abruptly turn and walk the other way. His punishment for pulling is simply to go back the other way. Repeat. A lot! Until you have a 'J' shape in the leash.
  7. You do not need to keep your dog very close to you.Allow him to move around you a little but 'punish' tension in the leash with either a change of direction or by stopping all together (wait for a loose leash and eye contact before continuing). Keeping your dog close to your side is a different command ('Heel') and should only be used for short periods- remember the walk is about exercise AND stimulation for your dog. Letting him move around a bit and sniff will enrich his life- it's an important natural behaviour.
  8. DO let your dog sniff while on a walk.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    What if my dog barks at other dogs while we are outside?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Barking is completely normal, but you can train your dog not to bark at other dogs.
  • Question
    What if the dog doesn't listen to the "turn around and walk the other way" strategy? What would I do then?
    Community Answer
    Give it some time, dogs are smart and is going to recognize the pattern after a couple of tries, don't forget that ANY progress should be met with tons of treats and hugs, he'll get the hang of it eventually.
  • Question
    What if the dog does not want to leave the house but needs to?
    Community Answer
    Pick up your dog and carry him/her out. Gently and slowly lower the dog to the ground.
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  • Buy a sturdy leash that suits your dog's strength.
  • Praise and reward your dog when he walks beside you with a 'J' shape in the leash. Always remember that dogs (like us) will repeat behaviours that are rewarding, and this goes for good and 'bad' behaviours (see below). Even better if he makes eye contact!
  • Look for your dog making choices that you like- did he get close to the end of his leash, think the better of it and slow down? Awesome! Praise and reward him for making that choice with a treat.
  • Reward a loose leash by allowing him to sniff, pee and say hello to other dogs ('life rewards' can help take the focus off treats).
  • Be CONSISTENT. Allowing your dog to pull you towards something he wants is rewarding pulling ("last time I pulled I got what I wanted- lets try that again" See above- dogs repeat behaviours that are rewarding!). The more vigilant you are at not allowing him to pull you, the easier he will learn not to.
  • For extremely strong pullers, Haltis can be useful tools, but remember they are a bandaid. Use them in conjunction with training so you are not reliant on a halti for the rest of your dogs life.
  • Don't ever hit or yell at your dog. Do not jerk on the leash. When he pulls you may wish to say 'uh uh' or 'no' before 'punishing' him with a direction change or stopping the walk. You can just say this- you do not need to say it aggressively or firmly. Your dog will soon learn this sound tells him that he did something wrong. If you believe in dominance theory, know that truly dominant dogs (read 'confident' if you do not believe in dominance theory like me!) can assert their position without force or aggression- they do so calmly and confidently and with subtlety. Dogs that are anxious or not confident are those that use aggression or force.

Video: 3 Things Your Dog MUST Know to Walk Nicely on Leash

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Date: 18.12.2018, 17:03 / Views: 34532