How to Take Bigger Dogs for Walks

Table of Contents

It can be very hard to walk a big dog sometimes. Even the calmest giants can be hard to walk on a leash, and if your big dog is overly excited or not well trained, you may end up with a very sore shoulder. In some situations, it can be very dangerous for both you and the dog.

It's important to know how to walk your big dog safely, whether you're the pet's owner or a professional dog walker looking for ways to handle your bigger clients.

Why do dogs pull on leashes?

Dogs pull for one simple reason: it gets them where they want to go quickly.

Even if your dog loves you very much, being tied to you by a leash isn't always a good way to have fun. As far as your dog is concerned, humans walk very slowly, which prevents them from smelling new scents, meeting new dogs and people, and exploring their environment. The natural thing for them to do is pull.

Unfortunately, this behavior is easy to reinforce. Your dog can quickly learn that pulling on the leash will bring them closer to an exciting new smell, dog, person, or activity, and this behavior can easily become a habit. And if the dog is a large or giant breed, this can make walking them uncomfortable and stressful.

Dogs of all shapes and sizes can be taught not to pull on the leash.

What is the best leash for a big dog that pulls?

If you want to walk a dog, you need the right gear. This is especially true for big dogs, who can be very hard to stop when they want to get somewhere quickly.

Start with a leash that's strong enough to hold a big dog but won't hurt you if the dog pulls suddenly. A leash that is 6 to 8 feet long is a good place to start. However, retractable leashes encourage your dog to pull, so you should avoid using them.

Is it better to use collars or harnesses on big dogs?

For some dogs, a simple flat collar is all they need, but there are a lot of other choices. Head collars can be a great way to keep strong-pulling dogs in line. But we never suggest using a choke, prongs, or other painful training collars to stop a dog from pulling.

Harnesses are preferred by many people with big dogs because they give the owner more control. A harness can also spread the pulling force across your dog's chest and shoulders instead of putting it all on its neck.

How to train a big dog to walk on a leash

Before we talk about how to teach a big dog to stop pulling, it's important to note that most dogs won't learn this skill overnight. It's important to be patient and consistent. But if you stick with it, you'll end up with a much better-behaved walking partner in the long run.

Start getting ready early

When you first bring your new puppy home, it is the best time to start teaching it how to walk nicely. Of course, that doesn't always work, but the good news is that you can teach this skill to dogs of any age.

The bad news is that teaching a dog to walk without a leash isn't always easy, so you'll need a lot of patience to be successful.

Start by giving your dog a treat when it stands or sits next to you. It doesn't even need to be on a leash for this part. Give them a treat and some praise for doing the right thing. Then, go for a walk and keep rewarding your dog for staying by your side.

Once they get the hang of it, you can start training with the leash. Walk further, turn around more often, and keep giving your dog treats to keep him close. As your dog gets better at walking on a leash, you can slowly stop giving him these treats.

Know how to make things right.

When your dog pulls, what do you do? Some trainers say that stopping in one place is a good way to teach the dog that pulling won't get them anywhere, and that you should reward the dog when it stops pulling and comes back to you.

You can also walk in the opposite direction of where the dog is trying to go to show them that pulling won't get them where they want to go.


It's also important to think about what could go wrong in the worst case, like if the dog got loose while you were walking it. With this in mind, it's important to train your dog to come when called. So you can rest a little easily, knowing that if they do get away from you, they won't go very far.

Obviously, if you're a dog walker looking for ways to handle bigger dogs on walks, you won't be able to make leash training a regular part of your job. But you can still train your clients' dogs on every walk you take with them by using the techniques described above.

Walking a big dog can be a lot easier if you do these key training tasks over and over and use the right gear.

One dog at a time

Another thing to keep in mind is that you should never walk more than one big dog at a time. This will let you give your full attention to controlling your strong four-legged friend, which is especially helpful if they have a problem with pulling. Taking more than one dog on a walk can be hard at the best of times, and it can be even harder if the dogs are big.

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