The Importance Of Leash Handling
Your leash is a vital tool in dog training and knowing how to use it properly is crucial to success with your dog.
Leash Handling is the ability to connect with and direct your dog to anywhere you want it to go using your leash. Operating your leash is as important to leading your dog as a rein on a horse. When people ride horses they do so with nothing more than a little leather strap connected to a 1500 lb animal. They can’t physically hold the animal back using brute strength alone, it’s just not possible, what they can do is use their body movements and the horses’ reins to indicate the appropriate direction. This is what leash handling is all about, doing the same thing with your dog using the leash.
The art of the technique is keeping the leash loose at all times. The only time it should ever be tight is for that split second when you’re correcting your dog and then you should immediately return right back to a loose leash again. The more you hold back on a tight leash the more your dog is going to pull. This is where human instinct fails. Our problem as humans is that our instincts tell us to hold tight on that leash to keep the dog from pulling or getting away. Instead you need to resist those instincts and practice keeping that leash loose and releasing that collar immediately after every correction in order to accurately mimic the mother’s ‘nip’ at the neck, in the wild. A correction, properly administered, is like a firm tap on the shoulder to the dog to let them know that what they did was wrong and direct them back to the proper behaviour.
When you’re raising a puppy, if that dog is not in its crate, it should have a leash on. Whether it is tied to you or dragging around the house, you have to look at this as you would the training wheels for your bike. You’re not going to use it all the time and certainly not forever. But to increase your timing and improve your technique while you’re learning, you will be much more successful if you leave the leash on your dog at all times, unless your dog is in their crate. Having the leash attached to your dog allows you control over your dog and their actions. If your dog misbehaves all you have to do is step on that leash to grab it and you now have control of your dog. Remember, the leash is your connection to the dog and using it correctly with the proper body language is how you communicate with your dog.