How to Stop a French Bulldog from Pulling on the Leash in 5 Steps


french bulldog pulling leash

If you are a regular reader of the blog, you will know that it took us 12 months to train our Frenchie Claude. Of all the training, trying to stop him from pulling on his leash was one of the hardest things to master. Claude would pull like crazy as soon as we left the house; he knew we were on our way to the park where all the exciting stuff happens!

We tried various different ways of training our French Bulldog to stop pulling on the leash. None of them worked until I had a conversation with a local dog trainer. She gave me a couple of tricks which had almost instant results… I am going to share them with you here.

If your French Bulldog pulls on the leash and you don’t want to get dragged about again, follow the steps below and you should get the same results we did. I hope it works for you!

What you will need for this training

If you don’t have these already you can pick them up on Amazon:

Stopping a French Bulldog pulling on the leash

It’s really important to have a calm and obedient Frenchie when going for walks. It means you’re both going to remain safe and the walk should be enjoyable.

Leash pulling is the antithesis of an enjoyable and safe walk, so needs to be trained out of your Frenchie as quickly as possible.

french bulldog pulling leash
Claude used to be a terrible leash puller until we trained him out of it.

This training is all about your Frenchie’s focus to be on you at all times, with the aim to be walking with a loose leash at all times; here’s how to do it:

1. Pick your moment

Don’t attempt any leash training unless your Frenchie has pent up energy. A dog that hasn’t been exercised before training will be very hard to train… so have some playtime and fetch before you get started.

Also, don’t attempt to train your Frenchie not to leash pull on a normal walk. This training needs to be done in its own dedicated time.

2. Avoid distractions

Your training environment should be free of distractions.

For example, there’s a video lower down this page where you see a trainer and dog encounter a cat. The dog trainer starts to act all manic with a toy to get the focus and distance away from the cat, and from the dog to the owner.

3. Be unpredictable

And here’s where the magic happens and how you can stop your Frenchie pulling on the leash – it’s all about you!

What you need to do is start walking but keep on changing direction sharply. You need to be unpredictable so your Frenchie has no idea on which way you’re heading. You can switch direction every few meters, it’s really should be that frequent!

It’s going to be manic, but it will mean your Frenchie is completely focussed on you and won’t pull on the leash.

And if you do feel him pulling on your leash, change direction immediately and keep doing this.

The reason it works so well, is that your French Bulldog thinks you’re crazy and fun, so will be looking at you constantly, waiting for a change… and he won’t have the time or inclination to pull.

4. Be interesting to the dog

As well as the changes in direction, be interesting at all times. That could mean you have a squeaky toy on you or use something else as a distraction like a tug of war rope.

Ultimately, you want your Frenchie to be focussed on you, so he doesn’t have the desire to pull on the leash.

After a few days of doing this, Claude stopped pulling and dragging us and how walks next to us with no problems.

5. Try the stop and stand still tactic

If the previous steps haven’t worked for you and your Frenchie still pulls on the leash, then try the statue tactic…

When your Frenchie starts pulling on the leash, just stand still. Don’t scold them, don’t shout, and don’t get over-excited… just be still like a statue.

Once your Frenchie relaxes and the leash loosens you can start to walk again.

What I would say about this tip is that our Frenchie didn’t really seem to understand it. It was steps 1 to 4 that worked best for us.

Why this works so well…

  • Your Frenchie will soon learn that following you is a better option and more fun.
  • Your Frenchie will always be focussed on you, so you need to be more interesting than anything else.

Watch this video now!

And here’s that excellent YouTube video I told you about earlier which shows this process step by step. You might want to skip a couple of minutes in to get past the promotional aspects of the film.

Why Frenchies pull on a leash

Now you know what to do, why do Frenchies leash pull?

  • They are curious and want to explore everything and anything.
  • They have lots of energy and want to run and explore.
  • They actually walk faster than humans (here’s how fast Frenchies can run).

More leash training advice

This article is only related to leash pulling. If you would like a more comprehensive guide, please check out the following training guides:

Conclusion

Frenchies are excitable creatures and will want to pull on the leash, particularly during the puppy phase.

However, if you can get them to keep their eyes on you during the walk by keeping things energetic and interesting, there’s no reason why the pulling won’t be stopped in a week or so – if you are patient, it will come!

Handy Hint: Find out why I recommend you use a harness instead of a collar for your Frenchie, and which is safest for leash training.

Marc Aaron

I am one of Claude the French Bulldog's human parents. I write about all the things we've learned about owning a Frenchie, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips I've picked up along the way. Read more about Marc Aaron.

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