Reducing Lead Tension – Stroking the Lead



Tension in the lead can trigger your dog to react. A simple way to reduce this tension is by using a technique called stroking the lead.

Hold the end of the lead in one hand. With your other hand reach along the lead an arm’s length and, with the lead between your thumb and fingers, slide your hand back along the lead towards you. Repeat this with the other hand, and then again with the original hand, over and over, in a smooth action.

Keep your hands as soft as possible and move your hips and your feet. This will keep tension out of your body.

Practise the action while your dog is standing still to begin with. This is particularly important if your dog is pulling. Move on the spot and stroke the lead until they stop pulling forward and can stand with no pressure on the lead. Then take a step forward as you continue to stroke the lead.

As well as reducing tension in the lead, lead stroking helps you signal to your dog to change direction and can encourage your dog to move on if they become stuck. It’s a very versatile technique that can really support you and your dog as you work through their reactivity together.

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