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My dog is out of control on walks (Why, How to stop)

Dogs need exercise just like people do. They also require mental stimulation. Walks provide both of these, which is why they are so important. 

Walking should be a good experience for you and your dog. However, if they are pulling at the leash on walks, they are certainly not fun for you. It can be tempting to just avoid walks, but that isn’t healthy for your dog. So, what do you do? Why is your dog out of control? 

Why is my dog out of control on walks?

A dog being out of control during walks is one of the most common problems pet owners face, so you aren’t alone. The good news is that you can teach your dog to walk calmly. The first step is understanding why they go out of control on their walks.  

Lack of Exercise

One of the most common reasons dogs misbehave on walks is that they don’t get enough exercise. It’s a bit ironic. After all, the point of walking is to get them their exercise, right? 

If your pooch doesn’t get enough activity each day, they will naturally be hyper and even out of control when they do get to be active. 


Boredom is another common reason dogs get out of control on walks. Dogs need both mental and physical stimulation. Without it, they will quickly become destructive or out of control. 

Signs of boredom include excessive barking, potty accidents, pacing, and chewing or destroying items. 

Lack of Training 

Dogs aren’t born knowing how to walk on a leash. Nor are they naturally always calm and well behaved. If you want your dog to behave on walks, you’ll need to train them to do so. 

Remember, training is not about yelling at your dog, or forcefully pulling them. Training is teaching them that the way you want them to act is also in their best interest. 


Some dogs are very easily distracted or over excited by certain stimuli. It may be passing cars, or other dogs. Birds and squirrels are also fascinating for many dogs. 

Any of these things can send your pooch into over excitement. They will either want to interact, in the case of another dog, or chase it, in the case of cars or other animals. 

How do you walk a dog out of control?

Since you can’t avoid walking your pooch, you have to figure out how to walk them while you work to correct the issue. 

Allowing them to pull on the leash can reinforce the behavior. Pulling back creates a negative experience that can actually make your dog more hyped. However, there are some ways to manage your out of control pooch. 

No-Pull Harness

One of the best ways to control your pooch on walks is with a no pull harness. A harness is safer for a dog than a collar, particularly if your dog pulls a lot. 

A no-pull harness has a chest ring. To prevent your dog from pulling, you’ll need to use this. Many also have a back ring, which can be used once you have your pooch under control. You can also use both the front and back ring for maximum control. 

This type of harness will not hurt your dog in any way. It simply keeps your pooch walking by your side, due to the way the leash moves as they pull. 

This isn’t a complete fix. Instead, consider it a band-aid to use while you are working on training your pooch. 

Getting Them Away 

Once your pooch gets excited, it can be difficult to redirect them. You’ll need to remove them from the situation as quickly as possible. To do this, stay calm. Do not yell at your dog. Instead, call them in a happy, friendly voice. 

You’ll also need high value treats. These should only be used in emergency situations when you are walking. To lure your dog away, show them the treat. 

Use it to lure them away from the distraction. Only give it to them when your dog is away from the distraction, and is calm. 

How do I get my dog to behave when walking?

To get your dog to behave on their walks, you’ll need to address any issues that are causing them to act out. Then, you should focus on training your pooch to stay calm and walk beside you. 


If your dog is only getting exercise on their walks, they will naturally be very excited. To solve this issue, you’ll need to let them exercise before their walk. 

You can do this by having a play session.  You can also allow them to run in a fenced-in area or a long leash. 

Busting Boredom 

You’ll need to be sure they have plenty of mental stimulation as well. It’s particularly important to allow them to interact with the world at a time other than their walk. 

Have you ever been cooped up inside, and felt overwhelmed with excitement when you finally went outside? Your dog can experience this as well. 

Remember, they don’t have the same impulse control that you do. So, if they are very excited about the sights and smells on their walk, they will naturally be overly excited. 


Now, it’s time to train your dog. They learn by positive reinforcement. When something they do results in something they like, they will continue to do it. 

So, to get your dog to act the way you want, you’ll have to reward good behavior. 

Choose a high value treat, preferably different from the emergency treat. When your dog stays calm and beside you, praise them and give them a treat. 

When your dog starts to pull or getting over excited, stop walking. Stand still, and wait for your pooch to calm down. If your pooch can’t settle, follow the previous steps to get your pooch away from the situation. Once they do, begin walking again. If they remain calm, praise them and give them a treat. 


If your dog gets really excited when they see another dog, they probably need to socialize. If they don’t get regular playdates with other dogs, it’s not surprising that they will do their best to visit when they see others. 

Schedule playdates for your pooch. It’s best if these are in an area where the dogs can move freely, like a dog park or a fenced in yard. 

Try to Avoid Their Stimuli 

If your pooch gets set off by a particular thing, like another dog or cars, try to avoid these things for a bit. If you can get them to behave on walks without this stimuli, you can then begin slowly expose them to it. 

To do this, start far away from the stimuli. Allow your pooch to see it. If they are calm, give them a treat. Then, move a little closer. If your dog gets excited, move away. 

It’s best to do this towards the end of your walk. This will allow your pooch to get exercise before interacting.