Owner approaches and attitudes to the problem of lead-pulling behaviour in pet-dogs

Lesley Townsend*, LM Dixon, Margo Chase-Topping, Louise Buckley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The aim of this study is to describe the approaches of UK and Ireland pet-dog owners to lead-pulling prevention and modification and attitudes to this common problem.
Between February and March 2019, a four-part questionnaire, exploring owner and dog demographics, walking practices, training and attitudes to lead-pulling, was distributed to UK and Ireland pet-dog owners, via social media. A subset of data from the broader analysis of lead-pulling and pet-dog welfare, is presented herein.
Of 2,531 respondents, 82.7% (n=2,092) of dogs pulled on lead. Over the 30-day study period, 32.7% of dogs that pulled were walked for ≤ 30 minutes daily and 18.3% were not walked every day. Although equipment to prevent pulling was widely used [back-connection harnesses (40%), head-collars (13.2%) and front-connection harnesses (11.1%)], flat-collars were the most popular equipment choice (58.1%).
Of dogs that pulled, 61.3% had attended training classes, [puppy classes (18.3%), other classes (14.1%), multiple classes (28.9%)]; 71.3% of which included loose-lead exercises. Owners favoured positive reinforcement for lead-pulling modification [i.e. praise (91.7%), food (71.4%)]; which was also deemed most successful. Nevertheless, positive punishment was common [i.e. pulling back on-lead (32.5%), lead corrections (16.9%)] and 25.1% of owners considered these Very/Extremely successful. Owners believed lead-pulling dogs want to be in charge (21.4%), need stronger pack leaders (17.5%), will grow out of it (13.7%), are dominant (11.5%) or stubborn (11.1%). This study suggests that while humane methods of lead-pulling
prevention and modification are being adopted, aversives are still commonplace. Furthermore, misconceptions regarding dog’s motivations for lead-pulling persist.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPrint publication - Apr 2020
EventBehaviour - a multidisciplinary approach: BVBA Study Day -
Duration: 1 Apr 2020 → …


ConferenceBehaviour - a multidisciplinary approach
Period1/04/20 → …
Internet address


  • Dog welfare
  • Behaviour
  • lead walking
  • Survey


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