Ask a Trainer: What kind dog lead/leash do you recommend to stop a dog from pulling on walks?

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Here’s another question from our Ask a Dog Trainer section.

What kind dog lead/leash do you recommend to stop a dog from pulling on walks?”

  • dog pulling on leash“I always recommend a front attaching harness, such as the sense-ation harness or easy-walk harness. Dogs have an opposition reflex. This means when they feel pressure on their neck or chest their reflex is to pull forward. By clipping the leash to the front of their chest, you are eliminating this reflex. These harnesses do not work magic, but they are great tools to use when teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash” (Lauren Wojcik – owner/trainer, Laurens Leash,,, 917-261-1128)
  • I only use “normal’ 6 foot leashes. i do use some humane harnesses for clients to use such as the freedom harness and head collars for reactive dogs. i teach the dog not to pull.” (Elisabeth Weiss, DogRelations,
  • Front-clip harnesses (e.g. the “E-Z Walk”) are designed explicitly to stop dogs from pulling: when the dogs pull, they’re tugged sideways and stop or slow down. However these harnesses work for only some dogs (and some not at all), while extremely anxious, wiggly, or excitable dogs can slip out of them dangerously. For most dogs I prefer using a collar that can’t slip off, e.g. a “Martingale” collar, while communicating to the dog with occasional well-timed leash-tugs, leg blocks, and verbal commands. Whenever your dog is behind you, following on a loose leash, reward him with verbal praise, treats, faster walking, running, or playing.” (Anthony Newman, Calm Energy Dog Training,,, (646) 942-1979)
  • I recommend teaching dogs a “heel” command to alleviate pulling. There are some equipment based fixes but finding the right halter, collar, head collar that may or may not work for your dog can be frustrating and expensive. Teaching the dog not to pull in the first place works for every dog. It takes more time, but its worth it to be able to enjoy your walks together.” (Dr. Mary Travers-Smith, Superpaws Dog Training,,, 212-781-7197)
  • Dogs are natural pullers and getting your dog to walk properly sometimes needs an expert. Bark Busters always uses a 6 foot soft webbing leash. The retractor type leads might be okay for exercising your dog but they don’t teach your dog not to pull. Education is the only way to stop a dog pulling. So begin your exercise in the home and work at teaching your dog where you want it to walk before venturing into the street. The worst way to walk a dog is in a straight line. Better to make quick and often turns, so your dog starts watching you rather than just pulling ahead.” (Robert Machi and Sylvia Wilson,, 877-500-BARK (2275))

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(NOTE: We do not endorse any particular trainer or their training ideas – this is here to give you perspectives from different trainers for training issues. Please do your research before hiring a trainer and avoid any that use methods that seem abusive. Here are some additional resources to read on why and how to train: ASPCA Guide to Training, APDT How to Select a Trainer, LiveScience on Training)

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