Thursday, December 15, 2011
Lesson 18: The Leash
Before you put a leash on a dog it's a good idea to learn about how to use the leash and what the equipment is meant to be used for.
The leash is not simply a rope that tethers your dog to you or a means of control. The leash is a communication tool that makes asking your dog to do things for you a possibility and with the proper and intended use of a leash you will be communicating with your dog instead of being controlled by the leash and the dog's movement or intention.
Therefore, the leash can become either a tool for you to use to communicate to your dog or for your dog to use to control you, such as when your dog drags you down the sidewalk. Who is in charge ? Who is controlling who? In the sidewalk case, the dog is using the leash to control you!
Leashes come in many sizes and types for several different uses, just like a collar has many intended purposes so does a leash. You can learn about collars in lesson 17.
The leash is called a lead in some circles and often attaches to a collar. Some leashes have a collar included, such as many show dog leads or slip leads.
Deciding on which type of leash or lead you use depends upon what you and your dog will be doing along with how comfortable you wish you and your dog to be. Chain leashes can be quite painful if the slip through your hand when your dog pulls or takes off while a flat leather leash can still burn your hand if the dog pulls away to fast a nylon lead will make a much harsher burn then leather will.
A leather leash will stretch while a nylon leash will not give. I prefer leather because I can get a better grip and the burn is less if the dog takes off. I use a long nylon leash for tracking and trailing because it is difficult to find a leash longer then 6 foot in leather. A leather leash does not tangle as easily as a nylon leash either.
Any leash can become tangled around your or your dog's legs tripping both of you if you are not careful. Never pull constantly on a leash or your dog will pull hard against the pressure created making a game of tug a war with you.
If your dog pulls on the leash to hard, all you have to do is give the dog some more leash or slack and turn around to go the other direction. You keep walking and let your dog go until the dog hits the end of the leash and the leash will work for you bringing the dog around and back to your side. This does take practice.
Never keep constant pressure on the leash, if you need to correct your dog, give the leash some slack and then pull the slack out of the leash to tighten and release the collar which will give your dog a correction or a cue to stop what it is doing.
Be aware that when using a leash on a chain collar which has to much chain when the collar is tighten allows the snap of the leash to hit your dog in the face or eye possibly injuring your dog.