black lab with beautiful brown eyes on leash smiling

Top five: best leashes for dogs that pull

Pulling can be frustrating. When your dog does this as a tiny puppy, it can be easy to overlook. Once they have grown to full adult size, this behavior can be embarrassing and even dangerous. It’s important to address this issue as soon as it comes up.

Take a look at this video on some reasons why dogs pull:

As this video explains an adult dog may pull, it may result from a lack of leash training as a puppy.

This was the case with my dog Thor, who I adopted when he was 11 months old. He was a stray that was brought to the local Humane Society by a police officer. They didn’t know much about his background, except that the officer had noticed him in a downtown park a few times. Thor was always sweet and friendly, but he needed a lot of work on his leash manners. We started with a sturdy harness, and a flat leash. The trainer at Humane Society actually recommended a leather leash. Leather does not wear down as quickly as fabric material.

Through trial and error, I noticed that he did well with a leash that had more stretch.  Eventually, I noticed Thor did especially well with a hands-free leash. This allowed me to take him on trails and jogs easily. Whenever he pulled, I would stop walking. I found calling his name, saying “hey”, or generally distracting him gave him attention. And he is always looking for attention! Over time, he got the message. Today, Thor is well behaved on his leash. He now knows “stay with me” to walk beside me. He can walk loose leash style with a longer leash when we are outside of the city.

How to select a leash for dogs that pull


If your dog is pulling, chances are your leash will wear down. Tying your leash in knots where it is worn down is a popular solution. But, unless your dog is very small, this may be unsafe. If the leash breaks, you may have difficulty getting your dog back home without tying it. But, be sure to replace it as soon as possible, before your next walk. Knots can come undone at any time. The last thing you want is Rover suddenly breaking free in the midst of your walk on a city street! This can be a heart-stopping moment.

A woven leash, rope leash, or natural leather can all be good choices. All these options will last longer, and withstand more wear and tear than a typical flat fabric leash.  No matter what type of material you choose, inspect your leash daily for any fraying or small tears.

Add some stretch to the leash for dogs that pull

If your dog pulls, a little stretch can go a long way. Your dog will be more comfortable and may get to know when the leash starts to feel taught they have gone too far. You will be more comfortable walking a puller with a bungee leash too. The stretchiness will absorb shock. This minimizes how much force from a sudden movement makes its way to your hand and arm. For this reason, a bungee style leash can be helpful.

Combine a leash with a harness

When I first brought Thor home, he only had a simple collar. Walking him was very tough and stressful. I was certain he would strangle himself! Enter the harness. A few days later, when I put it on him for the first time I could not believe it. Thor was a completely different dog. He did not pull when wearing the harness whatsoever. It wasn’t even the kind where the leash clips in at the front! It gave me the peace of mind that he wouldn’t choke either.

Dogs may react this way to adding a harness because it is more comfortable for them. The pressure is evenly distributed over their bodies. Since they don’t feel an uncomfortable neck pressure, they are more relaxed. Wouldn’t you be? I suspect Thor was pulling out of anxiety. Usually, if we took the same route home, Thor would not pull one bit.

Go hands-free

A hands-free leash is a great way to walk with a dog that pulls. You will have more control since your entire body is attached. The waist is closer to the center of gravity than the hand, and you are less likely to be forcefully moved by your dog. Over time, reducing pulling in this manner may clear up the whole pulling problem.

Top 5 best leashes for dogs that pull

Ruffwear - Timberline Durable, Water-Resistant Leather Dog Leash

Ruffwear – Timberline Durable, Water-Resistant Leather Dog Leash

Ruffwear is a very well known dog equipment brand with a reputation for being high quality. If you are going to invest in a leather leash, this may be a good option for you. A leather leash combined with a harness was recommended to me when I adopted my dog from The Humane Society. This leash is only four feet long, so your dog can stay close by your side in any environment. Check price here.


  • Naturally water-resistant
  • Naturally scent resistant
  • Ages nicely since it is cowhide leather
  • Comfortable lined handle
  • Ethical and sustainable leather
  • Can be easily wiped down to clean
  • Handmade
  • Strong Talon-clip to attach to collar
  • Very reputable brand


  • Slightly more expensive due to leather
  • Not reflective
  • No stretch

BAAPET 5 FT Strong Dog Leash with Comfortable Padded Handle

BAAPET 5 FT Strong Dog Leash with Comfortable Padded Handle

If you prefer not to use leather, this popular dog leash may be a good option. It is sturdier than traditional flat leash because it is made of rock climbing rope material. This leash is very cost-effective, and it is available in a range of colors. Check price here.


  • Reflective material
  • Rock climbing rope
  • Comfortable grip handle
  • Clasp with swivel
  • 5 feet long gives your dog room while keeping them by your side
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Includes storage bag
  • Very affordable price at the time of writing this article


  • Not scent resistant
  • Not waterproof (but will dry quickly)
  • No stretch

Heavy Duty Dog Leash

Heavy Duty Dog Leash

This tactical leash definitely has the heavy-duty feeling. With a neoprene handle, and anti-shock bungee cord it is comfortable for both the pup and the walker. It is available in both 4 feet and six feet lengths. This leash is cost-effective. The warranty boasts they will even refund you if it is accidentally chewed on by your dog. My dog is a total power chewer, and he has gotten his teeth around an unattended leash or two! Wish I had known about that warranty in the past… Check price here.


  • Anti-shock bungee interior
  • Comfortable neoprene handle
  • Warranty includes accidental chewing
  • Two soft padded handles
  • D-ring near handles to clip on poop bag dispenser or treat pouch
  • Locking carabiner-style collar attachment
  • Reflective stitching
  • Includes car seat belt buckle
  • Available in two lengths
  • Suitable for dogs up to 150lbs


  • Not waterproof (but will dry quickly)
  • Not scent proof

Mycicy Rope Dog Leash

Mycicy Rope Dog Leash

This is another rock climbing rope type leash, but the highlight for me is that it is braided. If you have concerns about a leash coming apart after excess pulling, this can give you extra peace of mind. It is available in a wide range of fun bright colors, so your dog will be easy to spot. I can see this fitting in with hiking and camping gear. Be sure not to mistake it for your actual mountain climbing rope. Check price here.


  • Braided nylon is strudy
  • Available in three lengths
  • Available in a range of bright colors
  • Safety lock clip
  • Padded handle
  • Very reflective – highly visible in the evening
  • Very lightweight


  • Not waterproof (but will dry quickly)

iYoShop Hands Free Dog Leash

iYoShop Hands-Free Dog Leash

This hands-free leash has two shock absorbers. Since it is hands-free, a serious puller has less of a chance of knocking you over. This can be a safer option when walking a large dog who pulls. It also has two convenient handles for any time you may need your hands on the leash like crossing a road. I have a very similar leash that I use to walk my dog Thor. In my experience going hands-free helped to decrease pulling. Check price here.


  • Hands-free
  • Shock absorbent
  • Reflective stitching
  • Two handles
  • Dual bungee construction
  • Affordable
  • Suitable for dogs up to 150lb
  • Waist fits up to 52 inches
  • Can be removed from the waist belt to use as a handheld leash


  • Not waterproof (but will dry quickly)
  • Not scent proof
  • No warranty


In my opinion, the best leash for dogs that pull is the Heavy Duty Dog Leash. The iYoShop Hands Free Dog Leash is a close second, but the warranty sets the Heavy Duty Dog Leash apart. I also like the seat belt feature. This could come in handy for anyone who is concerned about their pooch sitting politely in a vehicle. Chances are, if you have a dog who pulls, your pup is still in training, and may need to work on their in-car behavior associates


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