How I got my dog to WALK on a leash

When we first brought home our little black lab puppy at 8 weeks old, she was only 5 pounds and I carried her in my arms everywhere! Any time she wasn’t being carried she followed right behind me and stayed by my side. She was baby girl, my sidekick, my best little buddy. Just like any new dog owner we bought her a cute little pink collar and a retractable leash. As she got bigger I couldn’t carry her up and down our apartment stairs anymore and that retractable leash didn’t last very long. She quickly became interested in all the stuff around her, like bugs, squirrels, even the leaves on the ground.

For her next leash I decided I would buy a sturdy, thick leash with an extra wrist loop near the hook so I could easily pull her close to me if I needed. Well she got a little bigger and then holding the extra loop didn’t make a difference. She continued to pull me as hard as she could on our walks because she was so excited to be there and smell all the new things. She started figuring out when we were close to the dog park and she would run there, all the while dragging me with her. I decided to take her on longer walks that didn’t include a stop at the park with hope that she might forget where it is. I tried training her to respond when I pull back on her leash. If she pulled too hard I gave the leash a tug and said “easy” and if she slowed down I gave her a treat, which was actually a small treat cut into tiny pieces so that I could give her more of them without her getting sick. It started to help. But she was still so strong and would pull my arm when we would walk near people. So I thought I would train her to sit every time a person started walking by us. She picked up on that really quick however I couldn’t get her to stop pulling so hard. The bottom line was she was a big, strong dog and I was not a big, strong person.

One day at the dog park I was talking to another dog mom who recommended the Petsafe EZ walk harness. She was showing me how it has a hook at the chest to help dogs who pull. Most of the harnesses I’ve seen have the hook on the back. That same afternoon I went home and went on amazon and did some research on this harness. It had great reviews. I picked out a cute pink and grey one and bought it. It arrived a few days later and I was ready to give it a shot. It took some time to figure out exactly which way it went on but once we got her hooked up we went on our walk. She knew it was dog park time and she was excited. The very first time she started pulling I gave her leash a little tug to pull her back and immediately she ducked her head and slowed down. I was in shock! And I think she was too. It was a life saver, or an arm saver at the least.

5 years later we decided to get another puppy. This time we got a yellow lab. While she has her challenges (like chewing everything and having an endless amount of energy) walking on a leash hasn’t been a huge issue. I got her the EZ walk harness as soon as she was big enough. I have even rigged up the leashes together in a way that if one of them pulls too hard, they end  up pulling on the other one. 

Danielle Crawley is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


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