How To Train a Pitbull to Walk On A Leash

By Bethany Tate

If you’re a pit bull parent then you understand the importance of good leash walking behavior. Your pit bull is muscular and energetic, and you don’t want walks to turn into a daily tug of war competition. 

Also given the unfortunate and bad publicity that pit bull breeds receive in the media, a calm pit bull on a leash is also important for keeping everyone at ease. Here’s a few steps you can take to train your pit bull to walk on a leash. 

1) Introduce your pitbull to the leash and harness (or collar)

Step one is to get your pitbull used to wearing their harness or collar. Put your pitbull’s harness or collar on while they are in the house. Let them walk around with it. You can even keep it on during playtime. The idea here is get your pitbull to a point where the harness is normal and doesn’t trigger any unnecessary fear or excitement. 

2) Encourage good leash behavior with positive reinforcement

Here is a simple process you can use to train pit bulls to walk on a leash. This training method emphasizes positive reinforcement over negative correction. 

  1. Grad a pocket full of training treats.
  2. Start by holding some of the treats on the side you’d like your pitbull to walk on.
  3. Take one step and stop. Give your pitbull a treat from your hand, while keeping your hand close to your side. 
  4. Repeat this process. As the pitbull learns that he can expect a treat when he walks with you, start gradually increasing the distance to two, three, four steps and so on. 
  5. Come up with a word or phase to signify to your pit bull a loose leash. You can call out this phrase during walks so that your pit bull knows what kind of behavior is expected of them.
  6. Choose a command to show your pit bull that a walk is done. This will let them understand that leash time is over and they don’t need to walk by your side anymore. 

3) Correct bad leash behaviors

When your pit bull pulls on their leash

If your pit bull starts pulling in any direction other than the one you’re walking in, stop walking immediately. Don’t pull back on the leash as a response. Simply wait patiently until your pitbull comes back to you. 

This will teach your pit bull that pulling means no walking. It will also save you from a potential tug of war with your dog. 

If your pit bull pulls on their leash a lot then it’s a good idea to invest in a harness. Finding the best harness for your pit bull will protect their neck while you are teaching them not to pull.

When your pit bull lunges toward something while on a leash

If you’re on a walk with your pit bull and they want to lunge at something (or someone), it’s important that you act proactively. Teaching your pit bull a come or stay commend will help divert their attention from whatever is agitating them and put the focus back on you. 

If something really catches your pit bull’s attention it’s always a good idea to put as much space between them and whatever it is that caught their eye. 

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Bethany Tate
Writing and analyzing data are her superpowers. Dogs, nature, and trail running are her oxygen. Bethany passionately believes pets make the world a better place. Her world is made better by Nemo, her pet dachshund.