Lead walking - What type of lead do you use?
There are lots of reasons why people move from a collar to a harness and that is for another day. This is all about the type of lead you use.
There are so many types of leads available and many of them are sold as the answer to walking your dog. Sadly, it is not as easy as that but having the right lead for the right experience is helpful for your dog. Many of you will be using an extension lead - not the best idea but I do get why some of my clients use them. When you have a nervous dog but want to give them more freedom in a safe place, why not? but please use a tape and not a cord. My daughter had one wrapped around her legs as a youngster and wound was horrible. Never again, I said but with some scared dogs it is helpful. Of course, you must never use if walking by the roadside and be extra careful in busy places.
For working in an open space, I tend to use a long line attached to my dog. It gives them some freedom but I can stamp on it if they are moving too far away from me. Great for recall and follow me practice. Then there is the slip lead, which is a combination of lead and collar. Gun dog owners use them and great if you are working a dog but not ideal for teaching. We could go into traditional lead and collar versus harness but that’s for another day. We do suggest that a brand new rescue has a harness on to start with, especially as many do not do well with a collar after a fearful experience of being caught. You still need a collar on as well though, as this is the best place to pop your ID disk with the details needed to get your dog home if lost. However, it is enough to say that some harnesses encourage a pulling dog to put all their strength into pulling you along and that’s not the idea. You can also use a head collar and traditional lead but they don’t always work as the dogs get used to them and still pull. Using a double training lead will help a lot with this but do get help with how to use it and never let your dog off with the head collar still on. Can you imagine if it got caught on something? Remember that the lead is a requirement in some places and is your connection to your dog. It’s used for teaching and guiding, restraining and keeping safe, so you owe it to both of you, to have the best.
Hmm, so what to use? - if your dog chews its lead then many owners may get a chain lead – they can be very heavy and wont help if you don’t use it correctly. Some people go the way of leather - expensive but last forever and I still have some of mine which are over 20 years old. Nylon can tear your hands and some material ones are likely to slip out of your hand if wet.
What is important is that the lead is strong enough to hold your dog, with no knots and tears in it. The clip should be safe too, so an older clip may wear and you should always check it. Which is why I no longer use my old leads, the clips are not strong enough. And while we are talking about checking – lets look at your dog’s collar too. It should not be so loose that pulls over their head. This is especially important to check with growing puppies as it can quickly become chewed, torn or too tight!
So, what to do? Every dog trainer will have a favourite but it really doesn’t matter. And so will your pet shop who has the perfect lead for you. You see it’s what’s going on with the handler that matters to your dog. If you walk with confidence and being engaged in your dogs walk, they will respond. You don’t have to go far but you need to be consistent and fair. Put your phone away, stop chatting/whinging? to yourself or partner and focus on your dog. Engage with them and let all your worries go for the whole time you are walking. It will benefit you both.
But my dog is reactive, scared, not interested in me? Don’t worry they will change and if you really want peace and quiet then book a secure field and see what changes. If you need extra help, I have moved my appointments around and can now help you so get in touch today while the discounts still apply. Contact me today for appointments during the summer holidays.
Now go and check that lead out and while you are at it, can you read your dog’s id disk or does that need a clean?