Puppy Pulling On Leash

My 5 month old terrier doesn't seem to be catching onto the whole loose leash concept and I was hoping for some advice.

I've been trying to train her with a regular leash. If she pulls, she goes no further. She has to sit and wait until she seems calm, and then we go again. If she's starting to pull I say "ah ah" and if she listens we keep going, if not, we stop. I thought that getting to walk again would be a strong enough reward that she would soon learn that when she is pulling she is getting nowhere and when she walks nicely, she gets to continue on...

I've been doing this since she got her final vaccines and was has been able to roam the street freely... and it's still often a challenge to walk her. On a bad day, we get 1/2 a block and it takes us forever since I have to keep stopping.

Is it time to find a new strategy? I'd rather not buy an expensive harness....but, I'd like to walk my dog and actually enjoy it (I'm sure she's love that too)


Experienced Member
How long did you practice this method ? It may take some time and you should never never allow her to pull a single time. If you are in a hurry, you may as well carry her because if you let her pull once, all your past work may be lost.
Have you tried practicing at home with treats when she does not pull ?

Another idea : have a treat in your hand and keep your hand at waist level. She should walk without pulling so she should be getting a lot of rewards for that.


Honored Member
Walking forwards should be enough reward but maybe just stopping is not a clear enough message to the dog. I like to walk backwards when the dog starts to pull. I keep my arm close to my side (or you could tie the lead to your belt) so the length is always the same and use the clip of the lead as the marker, it should be hanging vertically from the collar, once the lead is tight enough to move the clip even slightly from vertical you start walking backwards until the dog comes back into a loose leash position. This way they learn that pulling on the lead always takes them further away and never towards where they want to be. Walking forwards should then be enough reward in itself.

Like fly30 says you mustn't ever let them get away with pulling even once. Also the leash must always be the same length - if you don't use the full length of the lead then tie a knot in it so you always shorten it to the same length.


Experienced Member
I think your problem might be stopping AND having her sit and wait before going again. Too many steps for her to realize that pulling is ending the walk and a loose leash continues the walk. If you do the stop and be a tree game I would only stop briefly.

But as Running Dog said, I prefer penalty yards. Backing up either 3 steps or until the dog looks at me, whatever is less.

I also reward a ton with treats with in the beginning so the the dog is getting double the feedback of when he's right and when he's wrong. And I often practice with distractions planned and set out ahead of time so the dog is really wanting to go in one single direction rather than happily pulling in several. For example, I'll put out a dish of dog food 30ft away and work on walking there with penalty yards and treats and then let the dog eat the food when I release him. For difficult cases I might have the dish 30ft away but only work on walking 10ft, then release and run with the dog to it. Gradually working up to the full distance. I then switch the target to bones, favorite dogs, etc. But it allows me to control what the dog is really working on walking towards in those beginning stages.


Honored Member
one thing, that helped my dog, was when Buddy pulled,
i stopped, and patted my leg for him to return to me. HE had to make the choice, to participate, in returning back to my side. Once he was beside me again, then we moved forward.
sounds too simple to have made any difference, but, that helped my dog.

I also taught Buddy, that "Get In" manuever in the "CLASSROOM" up above, not sure if "classroom" is 'open' this week, but, there is an awesome video, in "classroom"
and if Buddy did pull, i'd let out leash so he had enough leash to do the "Get In" move, which not only distracted him from his object or scent, but, got him in correct postion to walk again, instead of him sitting on my feet, lol!

Here is kikopup doing better job of explaining that part where the dog chooses to return to you when he pulls:

not sure which of these videos has that move explained...


Thanks guys.

I love kikopup (so nice for a first time dog owner!). As soon as I decided to use treats I checked to see how she was training this.

No progress yet, I'm just treating her behind my foot for "catching up" and being by my side, as per kikopup. After a few more days of this, I'll attempt to see if she'll stay by my side without a treat very 10 seconds!


Experienced Member
Walking by your side is an obedience practice, not a day to day walk. I accept my dog to run around me when we go for a walk when she's off-leash and I accept that she walks in front of me once on-leash as soon as she does not pull. This makes life easy and comfortable for both of us.


Honored Member
Fly is right, that is true, my dog has 'issues', and i've found, having him walk beside me has hugely reduced his issues. I can't really explain *why* that helped *my* dog decide walks are not about scouting for enemies to bark at, but, it did. Maybe he feels more like he is the caboose, not the engine, lol!

Then i take him someplace else for his full speed, off leash runs, for excercise. But yeah, for 'normal' dogs, they don't have to walk beside the person, not pulling is good enough for those dogs who don't feel walks are chances to look for trouble! :ROFLMAO: ha ha!
Thanks all! We ended up spending the money on a gentle leader harness which seems to get the message across very quickly! She just stops like magic when she starts to pull, amazing! It makes things much less frustrating and she actually gets some much needed exercise as we can get much further than we could before... without fighting with each other over who is in charge!

So we'll be working on the walks with the gentle leader, paired with the treat training/clicker we had started with. I think it will work out well. She will get the positive for staying near me, and a little reminder from the harness if she gets too excited and pulls.


Experienced Member
Emily has just posted a new video. Very important details at the beginning of the video of what is being reinforced when we reward our dog for coming back insteand of staying by our side.