Leash pulling can result from a variety of different things. In some cases, the dog may simply be so excited to go for a walk that he or she is unable to control themselves. In other cases, the dog sees itself as the leader of the pack, and he or she simply takes the leadership position at the front of the pack.
If excitement is the motivation for leash pulling, simply giving the dog a few minutes to calm down can often be a big help. Simply stand with the dog on the leash for a couple minutes and let the initial excitement of the upcoming walk pass. After the initial excitement ahs worn off, many dogs are willing to walk calmly on their leash.
If the problem is one of control, however, some retraining may be in order. All dog training starts with the owner establishing him or herself as the alpha dog, or pack leader, and without this basic respect and understanding, no effective training can occur. For dogs exhibiting these type of control issues, a step back to basic obedience commands is in order.
These dogs can often be helped through a formal obedience school structure. The dog trainer will of course be sure to train the handler as well as the dog, and any good dog trainer will insist on working with the dog owner as well as the dog.
The basis of teaching the dog to walk calmly on the lead is teaching it to calmly accept the collar and lead. A dog that is bouncing up and down while the collar is being put on will not walk properly. Begin by asking your dog to sit down, and insisting that he sit still while the collar is put on. If the dog begins to get up, or gets up on his own after the collar is on, be sure to sit him back down immediately. Only begin the walk after the dog has sat calmly to have the collar put on, and continued to sit calmly as the leash is attached.
Once the leash is attached, it is important to make the dog walk calmly toward the door. If the dog jumps or surges ahead, gently correct him with a tug of the leash and return him to a sitting position. Make the dog stay, then move on again. Repeat this process until the dog is walking calmly by your side.
Repeat the above process when you reach the door. The dog should not be allowed to surge out of the door, or to pull you through the open door. If the dog begins this behavior, return the dog to the house and make him sit quietly until he can be trusted to walk through the door properly. Starting the walk in control is vital to creating a well mannered dog.