What To Do When A Pit Bull Pulls on A Leash

Are you tired of feeling like the hot mess of the dog-walking world? 

It's like every other dog owner has their pup perfectly trained to walk calmly while you're over there struggling to keep your furball from running into traffic.

And don't even get me started on those well-kept dog owners - they strut down the sidewalk like they're walking the runway while you're just trying to avoid tripping over your dog's leash

It's like they have a secret manual on how to look cool while walking a dog.

We’re here to help you out. Let’s look at why your American Pit Bull Terrier might be pulling you around town and how you can stop it from happening.

Why Your Pit Bull Could be Pulling on its Leash

a pitbull biting and pulling on his leash

Getty Images / Canva

Firstly, a dog pulling on a leash is perfectly natural. 

Dogs simply get excited when out and about, and pulling on their leash gets them where they want to go. 

And keep in mind that this is a dog breed with a big personality. Unlike other breeds that are frightened easily, pit bulls like to take the lead and be at the forefront.

For this reason, it might seem like your Pitty is constantly tugging and pulling at its leash whenever you’re out for a walk.

Here are three more reasons why the pulling might seem excessive and what you can do to prevent it from happening too often.

Related: How to measure for a dog collar

Over Stimulation

As one of the most energetic dog breeds, Pit Bulls are known for their high levels of physical activity and playfulness. 

However, this same energy can become problematic when they are overstimulated on a leash. When this happens, it can become tough for them to maintain self-control, leading to them pulling harder on the leash.

They are so excited and eager to explore the world around them that they simply can't contain their energy.

When walking on a leash, the dog may feel restricted, leading to further frustration and heightened excitement, making it difficult to stay focused and calm. 


a brown pitbull running free

Getty Images / Canva

When we get excited, we speak in a higher pitch. Perhaps you’ve noticed some dog owners talk to their pets in a squeaky voice.

They emulate the squeaky toy designed to excite dogs - and then they wonder why their dogs can’t focus on them while doing it…

The point is that this added excitement is just too much for dogs to handle when they’re already hyping themselves up for a walk.

They can’t sit still or stop wagging their tails and seem to bark at everything. All they think about is running down the road with the wind in their hair and the slobber dripping from their mouth.

So if you want to prevent your Pit bull from pulling, try to keep them calm whenever its on its leash.

Don’t shout, don’t change the pitch of your voice, and do not draw their attention with one of their favourite toys.

It's important to understand that when a Pit Bull is pulling harder on its leash, it's not necessarily because they're trying to be difficult or disobedient but rather a result of its natural energetic tendencies and enthusiasm for exploring the world with its best friend.


a lady walking her pit bull in the snow

Getty Images / Canva

Pit bulls are an assertive and territorial breed of dog. And that goes for all Pit Bull breeds, from the American Pit Bull terrier to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

While they’re known for their loyalty and displays of affection toward their owners, this dog breed can act up when they come across other animals that they don’t know.

Your dog might be prone to pulling on its leash or harness simply because it feels a natural inclination to protect you from what it perceives as threats to you.

However, there’s a fine line between aggression and protection.

If your dog is aggressive with all other animals around you, it might need to undergo some serious behavioural training and socializing to get that bad habit under control. 

But if they’re simply pulling on their harness when there’s a serious threat around, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

It’s up to you as the dog owner to figure out what triggers their aggression and act accordingly.

How to Stop Your Dog From Pulling on his Leash

Don’t give up if your Pit Bull is particularly badly behaved when on its leash. There are a few things that you can do to counter the pulling or, at the very least, deal effectively with it.

Here are a few tips to deal with the pulling:

#1 Get the right equipment

a pitbull wearing a sparkpaws harness

It cannot be overstated how important it is to use the correct harness for your dog. Some dogs, like Pit Bulls, are just heavy pullers by nature.

And all the pulling causes a lot of friction around their neck area where their leash or collar is in contact with their skin.

Dogs often develop skin irritation around their neck, causing discomfort. It could lead to more serious medical side effects. For example, your dog could choke or damage the trachea.

Another potential issue is your leash actually snapping under the tension and you losing control of your dog.

An anti-pulling harness is a great option for dogs that pull heavily on their leash.

Designed with heavy pullers in mind, the anti-pulling harness is made from high-quality materials such as neoprene and can withstand the pulling force of 5 times the suggested breed.

Using an anti-pulling harness gives the owner peace of mind knowing that he will have his dog under control while providing all the support and comfort your dog needs.

an anti-pulling harness for pit bulls

They’re incredibly easy to use and made from weather-proof materials. Whereas a normal collar sits around a dog's neck with all the tension in one place, an anti-pulling y-shaped harness displaces the tension evenly around your dog's upper chest.

This makes it much more comfortable for your dog to wear.

#2 Be consistent

Being consistent in the messages and visual queues you send your dog will help get their habit of pulling under control.

You might want your dog to walk on your right, left, slightly in front, or even behind you. It's really a personal preference of each dog walker.

Whatever you decide - stick to it!

Each time you take your dog out for a walk, make them walk on the same side of your person. This will bring structure to the routine and teach them that it’s not just a free for all.

Also, don’t allow your dog to pull on a leash one day while disallowing it the next. This will only confuse your dog. 

Correcting your dog when he does something displeasing to you might seem too strict, but their behaviour will improve and you’ll notice the results after just a few short walks.

Speaking of correcting and training your dog…

Pit bulls can quickly learn to behave properly when walking on a leash. 

If the dog pulls, the owner can use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage the dog to stay in the heel position. 

By rewarding the dog for staying by their side and not pulling, the dog learns that staying in the heel position is the behaviour that will be rewarded. 

Over time, your Pit bull will associate the heel position with positive outcomes and will be more likely to stay in this position while on a leash.

#3 Start in a relaxed environment

a pitbull looking into the distance

Getty Images/Canva

Starting your walks in an area with other dogs barking and cars racing down the road will only excite your dog.

And Pit bulls often react to these exciting objects by running after them.

So set the tone for your walk by starting in a relaxed environment. Switch off the TV or move a bit slower around the house just before you go out for your walk.

Do whatever you can to bring a sense of calm to your dog. This way, he’ll be less likely to associate the event of going for a walk with running around uncontrollably.

Walking with Pit Bulls

If you’re reading this from anywhere in the US, chances are that you own either an American Pit Bull terrier or an American Staffordshire terrier.

Both breeds are wonderful dogs; you undoubtedly enjoy spending time outdoors with them. 

When taking either breed for a walk on a leash, it is important to consider their individual personalities and tendencies.

American Pit bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull Terrier may require more training and patience when walking on a leash, as they are more prone to pulling and may become excited easily. They’re also larger and stronger than their smaller cousins, the Staffordshire terrier.

However, with proper training and socialization, Pit Bulls can make great walking companions. 

By incorporating training into their walks, Pit Bull owners can help their dogs release excess energy and build a strong bond with their furry friends.

Teach them to heel, wait, and sit during walks.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

On the other hand, the American Staffordshire Terrier may very well be more obedient and easier to manage on a leash. 

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Getty Images / Canva

However, it is important to be aware of their protective nature and ensure they are well-socialized and trained to obey basic commands.

The Staffordshire bull terrier is quite a bit smaller than the American Pit bull terrier as it wasn’t bred to be the vicious dogfighter.

Instead, they were bred to have a very stable temperament, hunt rodents, and display qualities such as loyalty and courage.

Did you know?

a pitbull in a weight pulling event

Getty Images / Canva

The American Pit Bull terrier is so good at pulling that many dog owners regularly train their dogs to partake in weight-pulling events.

With specially designed harnesses, these dogs pull enormous amounts of weight over predetermined distances.

Training often occurs in open fields or public parks where the dogs can walk about and get stronger while undergoing minimal stress. This explains why they tend to pull on their harness or leash.


To wrap it up, it’s important to understand that training a pit bull to walk on a leash without pulling requires consistency and patience. 

A dog's behaviour is heavily influenced by its human owner, so the training process should involve a lot of positive reinforcement and exercise. 

Walking your pit bull terrier safely on a leash helps prevent injuries to both the dog and humans and creates a strong bond between the two. 

By following these guidelines and investing in a trustworthy harness and proper training, you can enjoy long and pleasant walks with your pit bull while keeping them and others around you safe.