Purposeful Walking: How to Walk your Dog on a Leash without Pulling

Who doesn’t want to go out for a leisurely stroll with your dog walking nicely along at your side with no pulling or tugging???

Well, it’s much easier said than done!

Walking along at your side is really hard for a dog and requires a ton of focus…that’s why I call that kind of walk Purposeful Walking.  It’s what you do for a shorter period of time, for small, focused bursts of intense focus on both YOU and your dog’s part.  It is different from hiking,  long line work, and smelly walks.

Pulling on a leash isn’t your dog trying to drive you crazy, it’s usually because your dog is excited and everything else in the world is more relevant than you at that moment.  The goal is making yourself more meaningful than the smells, sights and sounds of being outside.  And, dogs like to GET THERE fast!  They move much faster than typical humans.  We bore our dogs to death with our straight line, sauntering along, unchanging pace. 

Tips & Tricks for Making your Walk with your Dog Interesting 

So human, YOU need to become more interesting and fun!  Have some super high value treats (think hot dog here) handy and cut them into very small pieces.  Every time your pooch is at your side, say, “Good Dog” and reward!  You can pop a treat and keep moving!  And be sure to time your talking just right, so that right before he gets too thrilled at a smell, you say, “Fido, Stick with me, Let’s go!!” in a warm, enthusiastic tone.  It will help your dog focus on you before he gets to sidetracked.  

Make your walk MORE INTERESTING! 

Toss in some surprise direction turns as you go around a trash can or a light pole. Zig and zag in and out around natural obstacles in your path like rocks or trees. Make a 180 degree turn and go the opposite direction. You get the idea, mix it up!!  And be sure to pick up the pace!!  As a matter of fact, toss in some pace changes, sprinting forward for 12 steps then slow to a crawl, then pick it up to a quick natural pace again. Also, do not hesitate to STOP sometimes!  If he starts to pull. Completely STOP.  Place and hold your hands against your belly button firmly so that there is no give and take on the leash as your dog pulls or moves about. Simply stand still and WAIT. Say nothing. Just wait. The second he actually stops pulling, take off!! Movement is motivating & fun for your dog, so keep it fresh and interesting and your dog will thank you for it. 

Little Hacks for Mastering Purposed Driven Walking for your Dog

Here is some PRE-WALK advice!  Try burning off a bit of your dog’s excess energy by playing a great game of tug or fetch.  Do some of your tricks you have taught your dog. Finally, be sure to have your training tool of choice on correctly. Until your dog has mastered Purpose Driven walking, you will need a training tool that will help your dog learn to respect the gentle pressure/release and guidance of a leash. Your flat collar with his tags on, is not a training tool yet. I highly recommend our Learning Leash with Learning Loop to be able to have more control over your dog’s forward motion.

Pillars of Pack Leadership Academy

Purpose-Driven Activities is just the beginning. We have a full, comprehensive online dog training course that teaches you how to:

  • Establishing Effective Structure
  • Establishing Effective Rituals
  • Mastering Purpose Driven Activities
  • Establishing Respect of Space boundaries
  • Mastering The Human Component



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