Tired of feeling like walks are a constant fight for control?
Loose leash walking (aka not pulling) is sort of a holy grail. Everyone wants it, most dog owners never really achieve it.
I bet you've already tried a lot of things to stop the pulling:
Treats? Your dog isn’t interested. Or they eat their treat and go right back to pulling.
The “stop walking every time the dog pulls” thing? Ha! That’s been an exercise in futility, making you dread the idea of walking your dog more than you already do.
Keeping Sparky on a short leash at your side, in hopes they’ll recognize your pack leader energy? All that seems to be doing is giving you one hell of an arm workout.
All the harnesses and collars that promise to “stop pulling instantly?” They don’t help, or they do help, but now you feel bad because Sparky looks super uncomfortable. And he STILL ignores you.
Don't worry, it's not just you. Loose leash walking can be one of the hardest things to train!
Hi I'm Jake, and I used to suck at training loose leash walking
I guess you could say it was my... Achilles heel lol
I like to think I’ve always been pretty decent at this dog training thing. I had no problem teaching my dogs to do fancy tricks or basic obedience. I even competed in agility.
But getting those dogs to stop pulling?
Yeeaah… not so much. I tried all the things you’re “supposed” to do. None of them worked.
And even once I became a professional trainer, I still hated loose leash training. I knew how to do it, sure. But I didn’t want to. Because it was infuriating.
So I pretty much convinced myself I didn’t care if my dogs pulled, and just learned to live with it.
And maybe you can relate.
Maybe you’ve hit the point where, for your sanity’s sake, you go, “okay, Sparky, I’ve decided to let you pull, because if I keep trying to fight you on this, I’m just going to get more mad at you, and I don’t want to be mad at you.”
key the bane of my existence
You’ve probably heard that in order for training to work, you have to enforce the loose leash rules every. single. time. your dog is on leash.
I don’t know about you, but I do NOT have that kind of patience.
And as it turns out, I have ADHD. I didn’t get diagnosed until I was an adult, and when I did… wow, so much of my life made sense.
ADHD hates consistency. Big on starting new projects, not so great about sticking with them every day for a long period of time.
With this new understanding of how my brain works, I looked at the loose leash problem with fresh eyes, and came up with a plan that would make it work for me and people like me.
Achieve loose leash success without driving yourself (or your dog) insane
I’m guessing you dream of having a strong relationship with your dog.
Teammates! Partners in crime! That Timmy-and-Lassie vibe.
You want to go out and have adventures together, and feel like the two of you are really walking together, instead of feeling like your only “connection” is the leash.
You want your dog to listen to you, not because they’re afraid of what would happen to them if they don’t listen, but because they actually like you, trust you, and want to hang out with you.
And most of all?
You just want to go for a nice neighborhood stroll without getting your arm yanked out of its socket.
Imagine your dog actually enjoying training, instead of just enduring it.
Imagine being a real team and working together, instead of having your daily walk be a battle of wills, and who can “out-stubborn” the other.
That’s the dream.
And it is within reach.
About Practical Leash Manners
Get your dog to stop pulling with a detailed plan that mortals can follow
When we started working on this course, we looked at all the areas people (myself included) tend to struggle with when it comes to loose leash, and figured out a plan of attack.
Overcome obstacles like:
Being driven mad by the “stop walking when the dog pulls” technique. Everyone tells you to do this, but when you try it, your dog just stands there at the end of the leash, completely ignoring you.
The “yoyo dog” problem. Maybe Sparky DOES come back to you when you stop walking, but she immediately pulls again. Then you stop, she comes back, pulls again.. and repeat until the end of time.
Your dog not being sufficiently food-motivated. Maybe they’ll happily work for treats in your living room, but don’t care about them outside the house.
A sustainable training plan that creates lasting behavior change.
Step-by-step video tutorials that take the mystery out of training.
Footage of our real training sessions that show you how we work through challenges.
The objective: To walk you (no pun intended) through beginner to intermediate leash manners. By the end of the course, you should be able to loose-leash-walk your dog through your neighborhood or other moderately distracting areas.
You’ll also establish the foundation of important skills, habits, and dog-owner teamwork needed for advanced leash manners later, when there are more intense distractions.
The approach: One of the core aspects of our program is the on-and-off-duty method, a clear signaling system that tells the dog when they may pull and when they may not pull.
You’ll need two leash-connection points on your dog’s body for this. Preferably a collar and a harness, but you could also use a harness with a front clip and a back clip. One of these points will be for on-duty, and one will be for off-duty.
We teach your dog that when the leash is connected to the on-duty point, they need to maintain a slack leash. When it’s on their off-duty point, it’s okay if they pull. This lets you “level up” in a controlled, systematic way, which makes training quicker and more efficient.
This was the game changer for me. It meant I could slack off and walk my dog without it being a training session sometimes. And during training, if we encountered distractions at a level we weren’t ready for, I could switch my dog from on duty to off duty.
How long it takes: The course can be completed in 3-4 months, if you’re training 4-5 times per week. This plan is designed to be sustainable and achieve behavior change that actually lasts, as opposed to a quick fix that would soon have you right back where you started.
This is a self-study course. So you can dive right in and proceed at your own pace.
This course is not for:
- Reactivity/anxiety/aggression. If your dog lunges or barks at other dogs or people, this course won’t be enough. It can be useful as a supplementary component of your training, but it won’t help on its own.
- Training a formal Heel. The course teaches a basic “casual” heel, but not the flashy precision version.
- Anyone looking for quick fixes. This training plan takes some patience and time to implement.
When you join, you'll get:
THE STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS
Learn the core concepts you’ll need to know to be successful with training. You’ll learn why dogs pull (and why it’s so hard to get them to stop!), how to reduce pulling even before you start training, how to pick training areas, and more.
Get your dog to pay attention to you and follow basic instructions in the presence of distractions. These foundation skills don’t directly create loose leash walking, but they teach your dog skills that improve their behavior on walks and make loose leash training much easier.
LOOSE LEASH - PHASE 1
This is where we teach your dog a new, strong habit of walking WITH you instead of pulling you. You’ll also learn:
- How to hold the leash and treats
- What to do if you can’t set up a perfect “distraction-free” initial training environment
LOOSE LEASH - PHASE 2
This is where we start leveling up and adding distractions. Most dogs start pulling at this stage, so we teach them that pulling causes forward motion to stop.
This module includes four training exercises designed to teach dogs the skill of recognizing when the leash is starting to get tight, and slowing their pace on their own.
LOOSE LEASH - PHASE 3
This is where you start doing real walks, and applying all the loose leash skills you and your dog have learned so far. You’ll learn tips and tricks to help you succeed at the “real life” stage of training.
NEW! YOUR MEMBERSHIP ALSO INCLUDES:
Two live Q&A’s per month. Bring us your questions, and let us help you troubleshoot your canine conundrums. If you show up live to these sessions, we can chat about your specific issues and help you troubleshoot. This feature has previously only been available to coaching clients.
New content added every month. In May, our new content will include a mini course all about food motivation, So Your Dog Won’t Work For Food.
The Rescue Dog Roadmap. The most common question we get about our big flagship program, Puppy Survival School, is “will this work for my new adult/teenage rescue dog?”
The short answer is… mostly, but not completely. Raising a puppy and a rescue dog are similar, but different experiences. What all you folks with a new rescue dog really need are bits and pieces of ALL our courses.
So we’ve created a new feature: the rescue dog roadmap. It’ll show you exactly which lessons to take from each course, so you can get your new dog settled in.
We’ll be adding more roadmaps over the next few months, to help you quickly make progress on a variety of canine issues.
Ready for life on a loose leash?
Let's get started!
Get Practical Leash Manners when you sign up for the Academy All-Access Pass
$14 per month for a limited time
You’ll get access to:
- All of our courses
- Twice-monthly live Q&As with Erin and Jake
- The Rescue Dog Roadmap
- New content added monthly
The 60 Day Money Back Guarantee
If you decide the Academy isn’t for you, send us an email within two months of purchase and we’ll refund 100% of your payment, no questions asked.
- A leash (shocking, I know!)
- Two ways to attach a leash to your dog. We recommend a regular collar and a harness. If you have a hard time physically controlling your dog, we recommend a front-clip harness (we include harness suggestions in the course)
- Some way to carry treats on you. Either a wearable treat pouch, or pants with pockets that you don’t mind getting a little messy
- Optional but highly recommended: a longline, which is a training leash at least 6m (20ft) long
It’s designed to be completed in about three months if you work on the Foundation Skills module at the same time as Loose Leash Phase 1, or four months if you choose to work on Foundation Skills separately first.
Of course, it may go faster or longer depending on your specific dog, and how much time you can dedicate to training. That’s the beauty of a self-paced course: proceed at whatever pace works for you!
That kind of behavior, usually called reactivity, isn’t covered in Practical Leash Manners. Loose leash walking is a useful skill for reactive dogs to have, but if you’re looking for a direct solution to the barking and lunging, this is probably not the right course for you.
Thanks for asking! The training methods are positive reinforcement/reward-based. We teach the dogs exactly what behavior we want, and strengthen those behaviors with a wide variety of reinforcers.
We also teach the dog that when they pull, forward motion stops. This is technically a punishment (in the negative punishment quadrant of operant conditioning, if you’re into the nerdy stuff), but it’s taught in a way that keeps frustration to a minimum.
We don’t use collar corrections, leash jerks, or other types of physical punishers.
About your instructors
We are Jake and Erin Buvala, partners in life and dog training. We run 3 Lost Dogs to provide simple, non-judgy dog training information, and we’ve been helping dog owners feel less lost since 2009.
With modern, effective, dog-friendly training methods, we’ll help you get your dog to trust, love, and listen to you.