How to Stop a English Bulldog Pulling on a Lead

If you have an English Bulldog that pulls like a steam train, walks can be an unpleasant experience and you may even start to dread getting the leash out. The English Bulldog’s solid build and low centre of gravity mean they are as strong as a much larger dog, so don’t be deceived.

But this breed needs regular exercise as they can be prone to weight issues, so what do you do if your English Bulldog pulls?

Below is a complete guide on how to stop an English Bulldog pulling on a lead.

This breed can be stubborn and a challenge to train if you don’t know what you’re doing, but loose-leash training is not as tough as you may think and there’s no better time to start than the present

Are you ready for a walk with your English Bulldog? Keep reading to find out how to teach them some manners

8 tips on Leash Training for English Bulldogs

1) Start training your English Bulldog when they are young

Why? At about eight weeks old, an English Bulldog puppy is very impressionable; between now and six months of age, they soak up information like a sponge and develop behaviours that they take through to adulthood, so we need to make sure these are the right ones.

Teaching an English Bulldog puppy basic commands like “sit”, “come”, and “leave it” will come in handy and you can get them used to the lead indoors

This video has some handy basic training tips for English Bulldogs

2) Getting your Bulldog to focus

Keeping your dogs attention when all sorts is going on around them isn’t easy, so it’s a good idea to practice before your English Bulldog is fully vaccinated and ready to venture outside.

A few minutes a day spent training your dog can make all the difference when you start going on walks. Simply say their name followed by look or watch and offer treats when they give you eye contact; after a few sessions, they will get the idea.

3) Teach them impulse control

Have you ever seen a dog with a biscuit balanced on its nose or lying down 100 feet away from its owner? This is the ultimate in self-control. A dog’s instinct is to act without any thought of the consequences.

This emotional response needs to be controlled to avoid dogs pulling, but the good news is it’s relatively easy to do. Begin by performing simple exercises like making your dog wait until you give a signal before jumping out of the car, teaching them not to begin eating until you say so, and withholding a treat until you give them permission to take it are all ways to teach your English Bulldog impulse control.

4) Pick suitable equipment

As Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed, collars are not recommended; if they pull on the leash, a collar may damage their windpipe and exacerbate any breathing issues. Plus, this dog breed has a short neck with lots of folds, making it much easier for a regular collar to slip off.

Harnesses should be well-fitting and comfortable and made from materials like high-quality nylon or leather. 

The leash is important too, don’t use a retractable leash for training. They offer little control and can become a hazard to both you and your dog.

5) Is a no-pull dog harness better?

An anti-pull option can be used if your dog pulls, but it is not a solution and most dogs will return to pulling when they begin walking with a regular collar and lead. However, they are helpful to stop pulling if you have adopted an older pet and won’t hurt their neck.

6) Reward walking by your side

When your Bulldog is walking nicely by your side, be quick to offer praise and a small treat, reinforcing the wanted behaviour. It’s a good idea to start training in a place with minimal distractions. Keep the leash slack and have your pup on the left-hand side while holding the lead in your right hand.

Training your English Bulldog to walk nicely will mean investing some time, but with a few treats as a reward, they’ll pick it up in time.

7) Don’t give in when your English Bulldog pulls

Letting your furry friend drag you over to a specific lamppost or towards another dog on a walk will undo all your hard work; you need to be consistent. The biggest reward for pulling is getting where they want to go, so stop, change direction and resume walking again.

Once your dog has released the tension in the leash, go back in the opposite direction, this shows him that not pulling gets him to his desired destination any quicker.

8) Try training with a clicker

Clickers can be an excellent way to communicate with your dog when they are doing something correctly; they work as a marker to let your dog know it has done something right and a reward will be forthcoming.

For example, as soon your pooch relaxes the tension in the leash when on a walk, click and offer a treat, do this for a few feet whenever you leave the house and your pet will soon get the hang of it. Clickers are cheap and can be used for all sorts of training.

Some Reasons Bulldogs Pull

Outdoors is exciting

One of the main reasons your English Bulldog pulls on a walk is because there is so much going on around him, most of which is a lot more interesting than you. He wants to sniff and explore everything, which means you are pulled in a new direction every 30 seconds, which is no fun!

He hasn’t been leash trained.

If you take on an older dog who has never been taught to walk on a leash properly, there’s every chance they will pull. It’s simply a result of the behaviour never being addressed. It’s not as easy to teach an older bulldog to walk nicely, but it can be done with either treats, their favourite toy and lots of positive reinforcement.

They have a mind of their own

Bulldogs are extremely powerful and will push their luck if they can get away with it. They need rules and boundaries from an early age to avoid behavioural issues later in life. Training them to walk on a leash is an integral part of their education.

Last Word

English Bulldogs are renowned for their stubborn nature. This can make it difficult when lead training- but following the tips above will result in an English Bulldog that can walk on a leash without issues.

Yes, it may take a few times to get the message across, especially if other dogs are around but practice taking your Bulldog on short walks regularly and eventually, with lots of praise and the odd treat, your dog will learn.

Leash training is an essential part of English Bulldog training and getting it right means walks with your four-legged friend become a pleasure instead of a chore.

John Devlin

Hi, my name is John, and I am the founder of Dogsbarn – a UK-based website dedicated to helping the owners of furry friends enjoy life with their four-legged companion. We currently own two golden retrievers, George and Henry, who love running around in the park together. We are thinking about adding a third – called Frank! Our mission is to provide excellent guides and introduce great products we’ve bought or come across online.