Best Leash for Dogs that Pull – Our Top 9 Leads for 2020

When puppy and adult dog’s pull on their lead/leash – it can be frustrating for both the dog and their owners. After expert advice and research, we concluded that the best leash and harness to be the Halti Training Lead combined with Ruffwear Front Range Harness. Alternatively for those looking for headcollars, we found the Halti Head collar to be an excellent choice.


Our Top Pick
Leash and Dog Harness Combination

Note: Check the sizes of harnesses for your breed. Either check our Harness section or this sizing guide.

Headcollar

Why Do Dogs Pull on Their Lead?

Pulling in dogs is a common type of behaviour that dog owners face. We often discuss the role of harnesses in reducing pulling behaviour, but leashes are often an afterthought.

The reason dog’s pull on their leash is simple; they want to. You may be walking too slow, or not going where they want to go.

Be it to sniff, chase a ball or explore – without proper training – they’ll tug and pull to get with you want. What’s more, the more you give in to the pulling behaviour, the more they do it and, unfortunately, the longer it will take to train it out of them.

Whether it’s a puppy pulling on a leash or just a stubborn adult dog refusing to move – a combination of training, patience, a good anti-pull lead and a no-pull harness will help extinguish pulling behaviour dramatically.

a combination of training, patience, a good anti-pull lead and a no-pull harness will help extinguish pulling behaviour dramatically

That’s not to say that choosing the right lead won’t get you closer to your goal.

Some attempt to carry out more than one function, such as leads which turn into headcollars; most common example is a generic figure of 8 lead, or what would essentially be a slip lead, turned into a headcollar.

Our top nine dog leashes for dogs that pull are:

  1. 🏆 The Halti Training Lead
  2. Halti Headcollar
  3. 🏆 Big Dog Styles Head Collar
  4. Gentle Leader
  5. Halti All in One Shock Absorbing Lead
  6. Dogmatic Headcollar
  7. Ancol Outside Training Line
  8. Ancol Nylon Training Lead Police Type
  9. Dogs & Co. Rolled Leather Police Training Lead

Others promise pulling prevention because of their shock absorption (nothing to do with electric shocks, you deserve that yourself if you’re using an e-collar). While those are unlikely to help much with loose lead walking, they most certainly serve a purpose.

What Makes a Good No-Pull Leash?

The primary outcome is to prevent or decrease the injury to yourself and your dog if you have a dog who regularly pulls and jerks on the lead.

There are no leads themselves that stop pulling. They require a collar, harness or (as you’ll see shortly) a headcollar. We have selected these leads as they have given us the best results with dogs that pull.

However, not all leads are created equal; whether it’s a lead that will reduce the impact of pulling on your shoulders, or one that has multiple lengths, there are always good and bad ones. Below we cover some of the best leads and attachments which will see you and your dog walking in sync soon.

Best Leads for Dogs That Pull – Our Top 9 Leashes

1. 🏆 The Halti Training Lead

Recommended Combination Harness

We covered the Halti Training Lead in our review of the Ruffwear Front Range Harness.

Yes, it might seem basic at first glance, but it’s far from it. Halti Training Lead is by far the best readily available lead in many ways, and we use it to walk all our resident and guest dogs.

Made from a soft padded material, it is incredibly comfortable to use, with minimal risk of lead burns on your hands. Watch out for those rings though!

There are two trigger hooks, one on each side of the lead, and three attachment rings. This means the lead can be used in 8 different ways. Don’t worry, this lead knows what it is, and isn’t trying to do any other job than be a leash.

The Company of Animals HALTI Training Lead, Black, LargeThe primary function of the rings is to provide different lead lengths quickly. Short lead for heel training or those busy city walks, medium length for obedience training, or long length for distance and recall work (if you don’t have a giant dog as we do, you’ll need a longer line when working with an XXL dog).

You can hook the lead around your waist, which is particularly useful when using a clicker and treats, or use the lead to tether your dog easily, just don’t do it for long periods of time.

We are lucky that none of our resident dogs chews leads, but I don’t think it would survive for long if they did.

Other uses of this lead are in combination with a harness, as we most commonly do, particularly one with front and back attachments, and halters.

With harnesses, you would attach one end to the back and one end to the front of the harness for easy steering. When it comes to headcollars, you can attach just one point, but we would not recommend that as you shouldn’t always need to steer; additionally, if your dog likes to wriggle out of things, headcollars will not hold them back, so attaching one end to a normal collar or a harness is highly recommended. It also works well with the Halti Headcollar.

The Halti comes in two widths, and we tend to use narrower one for smaller dogs, and a wider one for dogs above 15kg. The smaller one would simply not be comfortable enough for walking with bigger dogs, especially those who pull.

Colours are a little limited: black, red, and black with red handles. You could bleach and dye and make it your own, or in our case, let a Great Dane drool all over them and then you can turn them whichever colour you want.

And finally, every Halti Training Lead comes with a free training guide, so do make sure you give it a read.

A note on Headcollars

Before delving into other dog leads that stop pulling, it’s worth noting that head collars are not suited to all dogs. To start with, the design is only really suitable for long-nosed breeds; don’t try to fit this on a Frenchie!

Even with long noses, sizes vary, and you might find the collar hanging off too low on the nose, or getting too close to the eyes for comfort.

A big factor to take into account is whether your dog would like something around the mouth. It’s a fairly unnatural thing to have on one’s body, and most dogs will find it offensive at first.

When deciding to use a headcollar, it’s best not to put it on for a good few days, and instead spend those desensitising and counter-conditioning your dog to the collar. This should even be weeks with some dogs.

Although to humans the head collar seems perfectly harmless and gentle, dogs decide what is unpleasant to them, and many will find restrictions imposed on them upsetting.

This is primarily because they have something around their face, and it doesn’t feel great. Like with anything new, it shouldn’t be a problem after spending some time properly desensitising your dog and getting them to associate the head collar with something amazing (i.e. treats and walkies).

2. Halti Headcollar

HALTI Headcollar Black Size 3 The Halti Headcollar was specifically designed to stop dogs from pulling. The walker can gently steer the dog in a direction, including halt.

Halti head collars are both comfortable (it uses padded lining) and adjustable.

The headcollars measure in size depending on your dog – so it’s best to check out the measurements before you order. The smallest size, 0, suits breeds such as a Bichon Frise or a Yorkshire Terrier.

The largest, size 5, would be for a breed like a Great Dane. Incidentally, we have used this particular head collar on our Great Dane and found the results positive (albeit she got a little annoyed with it).

3. Big Dog Styles Head Collar

Preview Product Rating
Big Dog Styles Head Collar (2, Red) Big Dog Styles Head Collar (2, Red) 160 Reviews

Big Dog Styles Head Collar (2, Red) I love this head collar. Big Dog styles cater for large dogs. Specifically Labradors to St Bernards (puppies to adult). Another British company – they’ve created four variations of this popular head collar.

Its core purpose is to prevent your large dog from pulling (a problem I know first hand with a Great Dane). It is built not to ride up when worn and is made from a strong cushioned polypropylene webbing.

Given the breed sizes the head collar uses a 4mm thick martingale chain to stop your dog chewing straight through it.

We have used this headcollar many times on our Great Dane, often combined with the Ruffwear Front Range Harness.

 

4. Gentle Leader

Preview Product Rating
Beaphar Gentle Leader Medium Black Beaphar Gentle Leader Medium Black 619 Reviews

This head collar is ideal for those on a budget. Despite the price, it is extremely durable and recommended by many looking for a head collar to accompany a dog lead to stop pulling. The loop around the dog’s neck and nose are adjustable.

The head collar is available in a range of sizes. The Gentle Leader head collar also comes with a handy guidebook.

5. Halti All in One Shock Absorbing Lead

HALTI All-in-One Lead, with 3M reflective strip, strong shock absorbing section, and flexible handle that can also be used as a belt. Ideal for running, jogging or walking. Large, Red The HALTI All-In-One Lead is another specially created no pull dog leash that helps with pulling.

It works as a handheld, hands-free or tether format.  This is handy when doing running, hiking or other active exercises with your dog. The lead measures 2.1m long (15mm wide).

The lead also comes with a 3M reflective strip for night-time walking and running. The shock absorber protects both owner and their dog from sudden halts (a frequent hazard when out jogging).

As with other leads of this type – a suitable no-pull collar or harness is also required.

6. Dogmatic Headcollar

Dogmatic is a lovely British company and their website is always heartwarming.

Out of the readily available headcollars, Dogmatic is the best for comfort, as it has a much wider range of sizes and materials to ensure a perfect fit for your dog.

If it’s a headcollar you want, start with a Dogmatic one.

7. Ancol Outside Training Line

Preview Product Rating
Ancol Outside Training Line Nylon 15m Ancol Outside Training Line Nylon 15m 140 Reviews

Ancol Outside Training Line Nylon 15m/50ft This leash is one of the best long lines, perfect for recall training or tracking. This lead, made of nylon, stretches an impressive 15m (50ft).

This isn’t for everyone and is for more advanced types of training and loose leash walking. But if you are looking for a line for sports or specialist activities – this is for you.

8. Ancol Nylon Training Lead Police Type

Like the previous review – this is one of those dog leads that stop pulling for those looking to train for outdoor activities. Particularly if you have a very active dog which perhaps has a high prey drive.

These types of dogs can suddenly just… go. In my experience, this can be when a squirrel is nearby – but it depends on your circumstances. The lead is sturdy double-ended nylon with three attachment points.

The lead measures at 225 cm length by 19 mm width.

Available On Amazon

9. Dogs & Co. Rolled Leather Police Training Lead

This anti pulling dog lead is not only practical but also a bit of a luxury item. Beautifully crafter from soft rolled brown leather this lead includes chrome fittings. Beyond the aesthetics this 200cm lead is VERY strong – so good for large breads and those with great strength.

Available On Amazon

Are Slip Leads good for Dogs that Pull?

Slip leads are commonly mentioned as a helping tool for dogs that pull, but that’s far from their intended use. Slip leads were made to be an easy tool to put on and take off in special circumstances.

They are commonly used during gundog training and other types of dog training so that you can easily get a dog under control after they finish working.

At this point, your dog should already know not to pull on the lead. If your dog pulls on a lead, slip leads can cause more problems than solve them.

Slip leads are often referred to as a figure of 8 anti-pull lead. One has to twist the collar loop of the leash and place one end over a dog’s muzzle so that it functions as some sort of headcollar.

The problem with it is the same as the problem with it being used as a regular lead, it will tighten up and cause pain to your dog.

In addition to that, the rope can easily create friction and cause irritation and/or burns on your dog’s nose. It might also take quite a long time for your dog to get used to the whole process, so we wouldn’t generally recommend them to people who do not know what to do with them.

If you’re looking for a headcollar, there are much better ones on the market. Ones that you can use to make your dog comfortable and happy wearing them, so that not only you enjoy your walk, but your dog enjoys it too.

Leash + No Pull Harness vs. Headcollar

Headcollar is a great tool, similar to a halter used on horses. It works by leading your dog’s head to the side, and the body usually follows as well.

Dogs tend to learn that pulling doesn’t get them anywhere, so they stop trying. The problem is that headcollars can be aversive to your dog, whether that’s through pain caused by some headcollars, or through simply not having any positive associations attached to it.

And while in some cases it may appear as if your dog has magically stopped pulling as soon as you put the headcollar on, you shouldn’t just force your dog to wear one. All tools require training and headcollars are no exception. If you decide to use one, start with making sure you have the right size.

Then spend an adequate amount of time desensitising your dog to the headcollar and making them happy to wear it. If your dog is reactive and likely to lunge, you shouldn’t use a headcollar as you risk a bad injury to your dog’s neck.

No pull harnesses, those that are Y-shaped and not made to cause pain, in combination with a good double-ended lead are a much safer option overall. They won’t necessarily stop your dog from pulling without doing any training, but they will enable you both to be comfortable on walks and during training.

The Y-shaped harnesses ensure free movement of your dog’s shoulders, thus avoiding long-term health problems caused by improper equipment. Front-clip on these harnesses creates a similar effect to that of headcollars, where it moves the entire body sideways if your dog pulls.

The rest of the body should follow, for some dogs this is enough to learn that pulling doesn’t get them to where they want to go. Most dogs, however, will require training, but with the body shifting sideways, you should be able to get their attention and focus back on you to continue your training and in no time walking around with a loose lead.

Our Top Leash Pulling Tips

  • You can use a normal collar for leash training your dog not to pull, however, if you heavy a really strong puller, then you are better off with a harness
  • There is a common myth that says that harnesses encourage pulling. Although harnesses do make it easier for dogs to pull, purely because they are not causing them pain, or at least they shouldn’t be, they do not encourage pulling. Your dog should be comfortable when going for a walk, and if your dog is pulling you need to focus more on training and less on getting to a destination
  • Don’t train when you’re in a bad mood
  • Don’t train when you are in a hurry. If you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, e.g. you’re doing a school run, do something else with your dog instead of taking them out and stressing both yourself and your dog. You risk setting back your training or put simply your dog will practice pulling and getting closer to the idea that pulling is normal.
  • Opt for a Y-shaped harness with back and front-ring. Pair it with a double-ended lead for easy control and ‘steering’ your dog without having to pull them around
  • Headcollars are an option too, but you have to have at least another collar on your dog for safety, and you have to teach your dog to like wearing a headcollar first.
  • If your dog keeps trying to take the headcollar off, focus your training on that, and make sure the headcollar is not hurting them in any way

Further Reading

When Pigs Fly!: Training Success with Impossible Dogs We’ve also found great tips and hints from this little gem. This includes advice on dog leads that stop pulling, pulling in general and how to train both puppies and fully grown dogs.

When Pigs Fly!: Training Success with Impossible Dogs

Written by Jane Killion, this firsthand account of training dogs considers not only the owner but the dog, providing guidelines that are both humane and dignified.

Covering techniques such as shaping and clicker training – this is a must read for anyone looking for practical advice on training a difficult dog.

Available On Amazon

 

Summary

This concludes the collection of our dog leashes to stop pulling. As we explained there are some great leads out there which need suitable collars/harnesses.

The best solution for dogs pulling on a leash is either a combination of a good lead plus a no-pull dog harness or a headcollar.

The two can also be combined – the headcollar being more important than the leads themselves. Breed, energy levels and desired training outcomes will heavily influence your choice. From the items above this is our summary to suit your needs.

Lead For Dogs That PullHalti Training Lead

Headcollar for Larger Dogs That PullBig Dog Styles Head Collar

Headcollar for Smaller Dogs That PullDogmatic Headcollar

We hope you enjoyed our article on the best leash for dogs that pull. If you have any other suggestions please let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook page

Marko has worked with animals all his life and divides his time between dog care and web design. The owner of two Great Danes, Marko has written and spoken about pups for several publications. Dog skills include food and nutrition advice, dog training, agility and exercise.

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