I have had my eight month old Corgi/Toy Australian Shepherd puppy for about three months already. He's doing well with the "sit" command. However, I have a problem with teaching him not to pull the leash.

I've tried two strategies: short leash and "pull, then stop" or "pull, then change direction". As I understand, the root of the problem is lack of attention. He's always looking around, sniffing everything he finds, etc.

How do I capture his attention when we start a training session? Should my puppy be hungry enough before we go for a walk? Will treats work in this case (he seems to be food motivated)? Will I have a problem of him trying to eat everything he finds? I already observe something very similar even if he's fed.

Another potential problem is that I have a lack of authority for him. How do I build it?

  • Do you use a whistle or a clicker at all?
    – Piper
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 3:03
  • @Piper no, I don't use it. Why? Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 4:39
  • A whistle can be great to get attention and for verification (depends on the training). A clicker can be used to get the dog a verifying "well done" or "here, get your treat" that won't change significantly based on outside conditions (e.g. your own mood or whether you're ill for example).
    – Mario
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 8:00
  • 1
    Lack of leadership is not good and needs to be build, but you do have a puppy and they tend to be more curious than adult dogs. Don't walk your dog when it's hungry and give it treat trying to train it. Exercise the dog first then do your training routine. Take a look at youtube.com/watch?v=jBN2_YuTclU there are many resources for this, google is your friend
    – Huangism
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 19:03
  • Dogs are doing quite good ignoring whistles/clickers/whatever.
    – user7514
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 10:10

3 Answers 3


This is not a copy paste but i have also tried it,

  • Whenever your dog pulls, stop and stand still (be a tree). No matter how hard your dog pulls, don't let it go in the direction it wants to go. The reason for this is that if the dog pulls, and you follow it, the dog is learning that pulling is a very effective way to get somewhere.

  • Wait until the dog does anything that loosens the leash. The dog might stop pulling by leaning back, sit, or change direction. As soon as the leash loosens, start walking again.

  • Repeat for the duration of the walk. This method requires a LOT of patience! You're teaching the dog that pulling gets it nowhere. You have to be consistent and timely. - Source

I know you tried ""pull->stop" or "pull->change direction"." but changing direction is not much helpful better don't allow him to pull you and when he loosen the grip allow him to walk but remember not to make strain in his neck.

There is other method also mentioned on the page but this worked for me.

Even my Labrador catches the leash in his mount too but that also stopped when i tried this trick.

The other method is treat method but over treats make the dog greedy.


One of the earliest exercises we learned with our dog was autofocus. Specifically - to get them in the general habit of 'paying attention'. It's quite simple really - using a sufficiently high value treat, hold it under your chin. When the dog looks at your face, reward them.

Do it fairly frequently, and slowly build up the amount of time. What you need to do is make the association that paying attention to you is good, and will get rewarded. This leads directly into a lot of the other training techniques - you want then listening to an order when you give it.

Here's a more detailed article on the approximate technique. http://www.wikihow.com/Teach-Your-Dog-to-Focus


I think Sobrique's idea is the place to start. One of the first things you should teach any dog is to look at you on command. Clicker training is a really good technique and their are a lot of sites out there. Karen Pryor is one of the originals to teach it in modern times, but it goes back at least as far as Pavlov. You may have heard of Pavlov's Dogs. He would ring a bell before feeding his dogs and after a time, he would ring the bell and they would start salivating. It's also called operant conditioning and its about linking two things, a signal and a behavior with a bridge. A gesture or word can be the signal, the behavior is whatever you're trying to achieve, be it the whole action or a partial action building to the main action, and the clicking noise of the clicker is the bridge.

Many people use the clicker because it's easier, but others mark with their voice, because it's always with them. You can say, "yes" and achieve the same results as long as you say it the same way every time. The key is to mark the exact behavior, the second it happens. The traditional way to teach the sit is to hold a treat over the dogs head, wait till he starts to sit, say "sit" as he's sitting, and when he does, say "good boy" and treat him. The problem is that animals, not understanding human speech, associate the reward with what they were doing the exact second they were rewarded. Even in this instance, where you're standing right over them, they could be doing any number of things before the treat enters their mouth. They could be starting to get up out of the sit and think you're rewarding that.

So the clicker marks the exact instant they do the action you want and makes it much easier for them to understand. Think if you're in a foreign country and don't speak the language. If someone asked you to sit in a chair, which seems stupidly simple to them, you wouldn't understand. If they sit you in the chair and make positive noises, you'll understand what they were asking even if you don't understand the praise, and you'll know what cues to look out for next time.

The first exercise usually taught with the clicker is called "charging the clicker". You click and hand your dog the treat. You repeat this over and over until the dog understands that the click equals getting a treat. This is often observed when they start looking at or pawing the clicking hand instead of the one that holds the treat. You can get them looking at you instead of the clicker by simply waiting. They'll eventually get frustrated that the treats aren't coming and glance at your face. Click and treat. They may think it's a fluke, but with repetition, they'll understand looking at your face gets the click and hence forth the treat. They'll start staring at you. You don't have to wait for them to look away. If they keep looking at you, click and treat again.

When any behavior is down solidly, you can begin adding a verbal cue as the behavior is performed. Like saying, "sit" as you click. Then back it off, so you're saying it slightly before they sit. If they ever get confused, back off and work on the basics. Take baby steps. A 1% gain every day is a 100% gain in 100 days. Also, always start with no distractions and work them in gradually. You can't teach him to focus on you for one day and expect him to do it when you take him outside where there are squirrels. You also can't expect him to want a piece of kibble over a squirrel, so offer hot dogs in those situations. The reward you have has to be better than the one he thinks he's going to get.

Use these same methods to teach him to yield to the leash. Put slight pressure on the leash asking him to move in any direction. When he moves to create slack in that pressure, even a half step, click and treat. repeat till he moves away from the pressure, then when you walk him and he moves ahead, just apply pressure till he falls back where he's supposed to be. Good luck.

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