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

Lesley Townsend, L. Dixon, Margo Chase-Topping, Louise Buckley

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


This study aims to describe approaches and attitudes of UK and Ireland pet-dog owners to lead-pulling prevention and modification.
In February/March 2019, UK and Ireland pet-dog owners, aged over 18, were recruited online, via dog-related and non-dog-related Facebook pages. Respondents completed a four-part questionnaire, exploring owner/dog demographics, walking practices, training and attitudes to lead-pulling, for one dog, owned for over thirty days. A data subset from a 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, 32.1% of dogs that pulled were walked for ≤ 30 minutes daily and 18.2% were not walked every day. Although equipment to prevent pulling was popular [back-connection harnesses (43.1%), head-collars (7.4%) and front-connection harnesses (11.2%)], flat-collars were the most frequent equipment choice (59%).
Of dogs that pulled, 63% had attended training classes, [puppy classes (21%), other classes (13.3%), multiple classes (28.7%)]; 85.3% of which included loose-lead exercises. (Of all the owners who answered) Owners favoured reward-based training for lead-pulling modification [i.e. praise (91.2%), food (72%)]; which was also deemed most successful. Nevertheless, aversives [i.e. pulling back on-lead (33%), lead corrections (16.4%)] were common and 25% of owners considered these Very/Extremely successful. Owners believed lead-pulling dogs want to take charge (21.7%), need stronger pack leaders (17.6%), will grow out of it (13.5%), are dominant (11.5%) or stubborn (11.5%). 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
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Owner approaches and attitudes to the problem of lead-pulling behaviour in pet-dogs.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this