Leash Training

Dictionaries define leash as a restraining device but ironically, it brings freedom for dogs and their owners. When you can control your dog’s movements, you can take it outdoors, to new places, and around new people. Humans domesticated the dog about 15,000 years ago but unfortunately, walking on a leash is still an acquired trait. Leash training is an indispensable duty of dog ownership.

What is Leash Training?
It means teaching a dog to walk while its owner directs it through a rope attached via a collar to the dog’s neck.  It aims at giving a dog owner complete control over his/her dog’s movements while allowing the dog to maintain freedom of motion. It is the first step towards a comprehensive dog obedience program. Eight months is considered the ideal age for introducing a dog to the leash. However, older dogs can also be taught to walk on a leash.

But Why Use a Leash?
When you take your dog outdoors, you introduce it to countless unknown elements- strangers, noises, sights and situation. Your dog may react violently to any of these, retreating to its primordial beastliness. It may bound at and scare strangers, bite people, fight with and debilitate other pets, and cause damage to public and private property. On a less selfless note, your dog may hurt itself by getting in way of passing traffic, operating machines, or by falling through open manholes. Once leashed, your dog will find itself accompanying you on significantly more outdoor trips than before the training.

If you still think it is too much of trouble, humor this fact-according to The Courant, an average dog bite claim is worth $30,000.The last argument in favor of leash training, and the one that settles the case, is that leashes are mandated by law. Most cities have implemented strict by-laws mandating leashing of dogs, even though state laws about it are still not consistently formed. However, almost all states have dog impoundment laws that direct loose dogs to be legally captured or even killed on sight.

Getting Down to It
Leash training is easy and best done by the owner but if pressed for time, you may hire a dog trainer by the hour. Whichever way you choose, you can start by prepping your dog for the training. Tie a collar (or a harness, if your dog has respiratory issues) around your dog’s neck such that it is just loose enough to slip two fingers underneath it. Let the dog wear the collar around the house supervised to accustom it to the added weight. Once the dog is used to the collar, you can move to practicing leash handling and standard commands with it.

A leash may seem cruel at first, more so if you treat your pets like people. However, it will bring safety and freedom of movement to you, your pet, and the people around you. With the correct leashing equipment, a few minutes every day, and tender instruction, leash training can succeed with any dog.