How To Train A Dog With A No Pull Harness


A no-pull harness is a must-have item if you have a pet dog that pulls on walks. The harness will minimize pulling and prevent any injuries from pulling.

However, your dog will still be able to pull when it’s distracted. So, you need to train the dog how to walk properly with a no-pull harness.

That’s what we’ll be doing here, a step-by-step guide on how to train a dog with a no-pull harness.

  1. Get a good, properly sized no-pull harness. 
  2. Choose a no-traffic, no distraction area for walking. 
  3. Slightly tug the leash when the dog pulls.
  4. Get its attention and reward with a treat.
  5. Allow the dog to explore when it’s not pulling.
  6. Reward with treats.

This is quite a simple process, you just have to be patient. Follow my step-by-step guide and you should be good. This is how I trained my dog.

Get A No-Pull Harness

Get A No-Pull Harness

The first thing to do is get a good no-pull harness. I guess most of you already have one, otherwise, you wouldn’t be here. The only thing left to do is make sure you have a right-sized one.

The harness should have a snug fit. The same rule as with dog collars apply here, you should be able to fit two fingers between the harness and the dog.

Just make sure that the harness is not slipping to the sides of the shoulders and that the dog can’t get out of it. The leash-attachment clip should stay on the back of the dog’s neck.

[Related Article: How To Put On A No Pull Harness On A Dog]

Choose A Good Walking Spot

It’s not like dogs pull intentionally just to piss you off. They do that because they get easily distracted. The main distraction is other dogs. The hardest thing to do is to teach your dog not to pull when there are other dogs nearby.

Your dog will also be distracted by unknown smells or familiar smells of food. I’m not saying that you will find an area where there are no distractions. Just try to minimize them.

Training a dog that usually pulls a lot with a lot of traffic and distractions around will just make the process exhausting. If you have to drive to a good walking spot, my advice is, until the dog is trained, drive there.

Prepare & Go On A Walk

Prepare & Go On A Walk

Training a dog to not pull is best done on regulated walks. Your dog should be hungry for treats and you should have plenty of those.

Think about it, the dog will be less distracted if it’s hungry and it knows you have it. You need to regulate the size and number of treats you give, we’ll talk about that in a second.

Of course, every doggo loves treats, even on a full stomach. But if there is another dog around, there is a chance it will not be interested in the treats.

The second thing you need to do is make sure your leash is big enough. You still want to give some walking distance to the dog. I recommend using a 6-foot leash. [Source]

Once you have everything in order, it’s time to go for a walk. Begin your walk by offering a treat for the first obedient step. If by some chance your dog ate before the walk, don’t stop with the training.

Slightly Tug On Pulling & Offer Treat

Slightly Tug On Pulling & Offer Treat

First thing, decide on the walking distance you want to give your dog. The 6-foot leash is ideal for this. But if you have a longer one, make sure to loop it around your wrist.

Once your dog is getting distracted, and you notice a slight pull, call your dog. Choose your word here, you will be using it quite a lot. This is the word you will be using to stop your dog from pulling.

So, call your dog, and slightly tug the leash towards you to get its attention. When your dog looks at you, offer a treat but do not toss it. Let the dog come to you, take a step forward. If the dog starts walking with you, give out the treat.

It’s really important for the dog to associate walking forward with the treat. You will be repeating this thought the walk when your dog is getting distracted.

What If My Dog Starts Pulling After Taking Treat

There are smart dogs that will figure out the system. So, immediately after taking the treat, it will go on its way. You need to stop this behavior before it develops into a habit.

My advice is to stop walking altogether, once your dog does that. Do not walk unless it comes to you. When it comes to you, offer a treat and take a step forward. If it follows you, give the treat. [Source]

Do this every time until the dog gets that walking with you is rewarded, not pulling.

[Related Article: The Ultimate Beginners Guide To Train A Dog For Obedience]

Treat Distribution

As I said, you will be giving out a hefty amount of treats. Your dog can’t eat that much of course. If you stick to the original amount your dog will be overweight.

So, you need to pay attention to these. Slowly, start cutting down on the treats. For instance, start the walk with a full treat. The next treat you give should be cut in half. By cutting down on the size of the treat, you will eventually get to the point of walking with no treats.

Let Your Dog Explore

Let Your Dog Explore

Now, except for in city traffic, there is no need for your dog to walk step by step with you. Your dog wants to explore, and you should provide that on your walks.

But that doesn’t mean that you should allow your dog to pull. Six feet is enough to satisfy the dog’s curiosity. Of course, maybe take a path that will be entertaining.

This should all be done when your dog is not pulling. Let your dog explore, if it pulls, tug, and give a treat.

Repeat

When it comes to training a dog, it comes down to patience and not giving up. You have to be consistent with what you are doing. Don’t let one pull go without calling your dog and tugging slightly.

After some time, your dog will get used to the word and you won’t need treats. But until that happens, you will have to train your dog patiently. Just don’t give up, work with your dog.

[Related Article: Is It Safe To Leave Harness On A Dog All The Time]

Related Questions And Other FAQs

Is A No-Pull Harness Bad For Dogs

No, no-pull harnesses are not bad for dogs. No-pull harnesses minimize pulling and help pet owners train their dogs to not pull. It also prevents any potential injury from pulling. Also, a dog can escape a collar but not a harness. Harnesses are only bad when not sized properly.

Are No-Pull Harnesses Good For Training

A no-pull harness won’t stop pulling on its own. It may minimize the pull you are getting from the dog. A dog with a no-pull harness should still be trained to walk on a leash and not pull.

Tim Adams

Tim has experience of 15 years with a wide variety of pets. Anything animal-related is his passion, so he is here to share some good practices to know about owning pets.

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