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7 Effective Tips to Stop Your Large Dog From Pulling on the Leash

7 Effective Tips to Stop Your Large Dog From Pulling on the Leash

Large working and sledding dogs like the Siberian Huskies are like furry Hercules. They've got the strength to pull a plow, herd sheep, and haul a sled across miles of icy terrain. If not properly trained, these dogs can easily turn a walk into a tug-of-war.

Such dogs are also territorial. They can see another dog and decide to give chase, dragging you on the sidewalks. But with proper training, your giant Fido will be walking calmly beside you, head held high, instead of barreling down the street like a runaway train. Here are 7 effective tips to stop your large dog from pulling on the leash.   

7 Effective Tips to Stop Your Large Dog From Pulling on the Leash

The misconception is that dogs pull on the leash to get the alpha status as pack leaders. But in reality, dogs are just wide-eyed explorers. The dog pulls because of the excitement of the sights, smells, and sounds that explode in the face when you take it out for walks.

For instance, the dogs come out of the kennel and see that rustling bush that might hold a hidden squirrel and that lady handing out hotdogs two blocks down. It's sensory overload in the best way possible for a dog. That's why they always want to get a closer look—and fast!

Leashes are a limitation for dogs who haven't learned leash etiquette. The leash prevents them from following their noses wherever they lead. So, pulling becomes their way of saying, Hey, slow down a sec; there's a lot to investigate here!

Leash training is like teaching the dog some table manners. It learns that the good stuff like treats, praise, and belly rubs – comes from paying attention to you and walking calmly by your side. Distractions are still there, but your dog learns they're not worth the missed opportunity for a tasty reward. Here are the top 7 leash training tips.

1.    Use Positive Reinforcement Training

Dogs are like furry geniuses when it comes to learning through positive reinforcement. It's all about rewarding the behaviors you want to see and ignoring or gently redirecting the ones you don't. So, when your pup walks calmly by your side, shower it with treats and praises.

Over time, the dog learns that pulling on the leash results in unnecessary things like sniffing a fire hydrant or another dog's pee on the roadside but walking beside humans results in treats. This motivates the dog to walk by your side, like how children get motivated when they pass exams and get presents.  

Note that punitive measures like prong collars and shock collars might seem like a quick fix for leash pulling, but they're more like putting a bandaid on a broken bone. Sure, they might stop the immediate issue, but they don't address the root cause.

Imagine the dog is out enjoying a walk filled with exciting smells and sights, and suddenly, it feels a sharp pinch on the neck. It gets confused, and associates walk with pain and frustration. For territorial and independent dogs, the pain can cause aggression, barking, and excessive pulling.

2.    Use Front Clip Harnesses

Front-clip harnesses are like little lifesavers for both you and your dog when it comes to leash training. They're designed to be comfy yet effective in discouraging pulling. Unlike a regular back-clip harness, which can actually make pulling easier for your dog, a front-clip harness acts like a rudder.

When your dog pulls, the leash pressure redirects its entire body toward your side, like a gentle nudge. It's a natural way to guide the dog back into position without any yanking or hurting. Now, the choice of your front-clip harness can make or break your leash training.

A low quality harness will either break when the dog pulls, or rub the dog's skin and cause chaffing. Again, anything that hurts your furry friend is punitive. That's why we recommend the tested and proven HNTR 3.0 Dog Harness.

We recommend this harness mainly because it covers all the possibilities. It comes with both back and front attachment points, which means you can use it as a normal harness during play sessions and a no-pull harness during training sessions.

The harness is made of 1050D nylon webbing, the same quality used to make mountain climbing gear. That means even if muscular dogs like the Huskies and Saint Bernards choose to pull, the harness still holds. But what makes this harness better than other no-pull harnesses is the neoprene lining.

Neoprene is the same material that lines swimsuits. Your furry friend's skin won't irritate, even if he pulls. The attachment points are welded and won't snap under pressure. It's the type of harness you buy, and you somehow forget that people still shop for harnesses.

3.    Use a Biothane Truegrip Leash

A quality leash is as important as a good front-clip harness for successful leash training. It's like a winning team – the harness guides your dog, and the leash gives you the necessary control. If the leash snaps during a strong pull, it could lead to an escape or an injury.

Another thing is that grip matters. A thin, flimsy leash can dig into your hands during a pull. A slippery leash can be a nightmare during training.  It's like trying to hold onto a greased eel. Remember, dogs are intelligent.  If your dog feels like it can easily yank the leash out of your hand, it will test the boundaries and pull harder.

That's why we highly recommend Biothane Truegrip leashes specifically designed for heavy pullers and dogs with a strong prey drive. These leashes have bumped textures that provide extra traction when you hold them—no more worries of leash burns, blisters, or hand fatigue during walks.

These leashes are made of Biothane, and as you know, Biothane is a strong, synthetic material that's resistant to tearing, fraying, and weather damage. The material is waterproof and easy to wipe clean with soap and water—no worries after messy walks through puddles and mud.

4.    Make Correctional U-Turns

Letting your dog walk while pulling is like accidentally giving them a gold medal for bad leash behavior. For instance, if the dog pulls to go and sniff something, and you let it do it, it's a success. That just reinforces the pulling and makes leash training an uphill battle. The secret is making U-turns.

For example, when your dog happily pulls along, sniffing every fire hydrant, whip around in a complete 180-degree turn. It's a surprise for them, interrupting their pulling momentum and grabbing their attention. This little jolt can be a great way to remind them, Hey, focus on me, not the next fire hydrant.

Don't forget to reward good behavior after the U-turn. Once your dog follows you in a new direction with a loose leash, praise it like it just won the doggy Olympics. Another thing is don't go overboard and turn into a human spinning top. A few well-timed U-turns are enough to get your point across.  

5.    Give Life Rewards When the Dog Doesn't Pull

Leash training shouldn't be about depriving your dog of all the fun stuff that comes with walks. Sniffing fire hydrants, exploring exciting patches of grass, and greeting friendly strangers are all part of a dog's exciting things, and incorporating them into training is a great way to reward good behavior.

Remember, just like humans, dogs can get bored with the same routine. The dog can get bored if all it gets during walks is a few food treats. Mixing up your rewards with some sniffing breaks and friendly greetings keeps training interesting and engaging for your pup.

So, after around 10 feet of loose leash walking, consider letting your dog sniff a safe spot for a few seconds. Remember, if it pulls, it doesn't get the reward.

6.    Walk at a Reasonable Pace

Dogs, especially larger breeds like the Greyhounds, were built for movement. Their natural gait is much faster than a leisurely human stroll. So, when it comes to leash training, taking their natural pace into account is a total game-changer.

Walking at a pace that's comfortable for them allows them to explore their surroundings at a natural speed, sniff things, and stay mentally stimulated. So, aim for a comfortable, steady pace that allows your dog to explore their surroundings with short sniff breaks but keeps them moving forward.

7.    Keep the Training Sessions Short and Consistent

Trying to tackle a long walk with a heavy puller is a recipe for frustration for both you and your dog. Imagine you're on a walk with a Saint Bernard heavily pulling and constantly yanking you this way and that. It's exhausting!

Also, dogs have short attention spans. Long walks become overwhelming and make it hard for them to focus on leash training. They forget about those abrupt stops and U-turns. They get bored by the treats, so rewarding them with treats doesn't impact their behavior anymore.

Instead of one long, frustrating walk, break it down into several shorter sessions throughout the day. In these short training sessions, put your phone on silent and give your dog your undivided attention. This allows you to observe its behavior, reward good leash manners immediately, and gently redirect it if it starts pulling.

It's advisable to practice leash training indoors in a distraction-free environment before hitting the open road or sidewalk. For instance, you can do the short training sessions in the hallway of your home or a quiet corner of the yard.

When it comes to consistency, intelligence levels and ease of training vary across dog breeds. For instance, dogs bred for herding have a strong instinct to guide you on walks. Dog breeds like the Bullmastiffs and Huskies are stubborn and independent.

They won't easily obey your commands compared to breeds like the German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers. The golden rule is consistency and patience. Use the same commands, leash cues, and rewards every single time. 

Another thing: focus on your dog's progress, not comparisons. Comparing your dog's training journey to others can definitely set you up for disappointment. Every dog has a unique history, even if the breed is the same. Celebrate every victory, no matter how small. Did your dog walk a whole five feet without pulling? Awesome! 


The first step to stop your large dog from pulling on the leash is to get a front-clip, no-pull harness. Otherwise, powerful dogs like the Huskies and Saint Bernards will drag you on the sidewalks even before you start applying those positive reinforcement tactics. With the right gear, always make U-turns when the dog pulls, and then reward. Be consistent until the dog learns.