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Leash Training: Never Use This Type Of Equipment When Leash Training Your Puppy
What could be more adorable than a tiny 10-week-old German Retriever walking down the street with its owner, pulling at the leash as it excitedly greets anyone who walks by? These little puppies put so much effort into seeing what's going on and are almost always greeted with a pat on the head and a smile from passing strangers.
This is all cute and adoring, that is until the dog reaches a bodyweight of 50 to 60 pounds and is literally dragging its owner down the street on the leash. The once happily smiling owner is now gritting her teeth and doing all she can to keep the dog from pulling her down the sidewalk.
As strangers pass by it takes all of the owner's muscle and might just to hold the dog back from getting its dirty paws all over these people. Eventually, these types of dogs who have no leash control end up spending all of their time in the backyard without ever being walked.
Leash Training Should Begin Immediately
Many dog owners who purchase a new puppy totally underestimate just how vital it is to invest time into leash training, and from as early an age as possible, especially when they have a pup that will grow 6 to 10 times it's puppy size. They do not realize that training begins the instant their new dog comes home.
Any and all behaviors a puppy practices will become a learned subconscious activity. In time the dog will not think twice about what it is doing, even though it may be a wrong action that you disapprove of. In all fairness to the puppy, what do you expect if you ignore sound training principles early in its life? What choice does the dog have?
The Importance Of Having The Proper Leash
Having the right type of equipment can make or break dog training. Using the proper tools can either make your training experience pleasant and productive, or a complete waste of time.
What is the best leash for training purposes?
Fortunately, when it comes to leash equipment, you can't go wrong with most of them. However, there is one type of leash that is not recommended for training purposes and that is the retractable kind.
Retractable leashes are available in all sizes and extend at different lengths. These leash devices are simply a plastic casing that fits into your hand which has a control trigger that either releases the leash to extend up to a certain length and can then be locked at the specific distance you choose.
Yes these types of leashes can definitely be a benefit for many situations, but for training a new puppy or even an adult dog, you need to have a leash that can provide constant tension on the dog's neck.
You also need to keep a very short distance between you and your dog, which is very hard to do when using a retractable leash. With too much distance, your dog will have no concept that you are even walking with him.
Lastly, you must have consistent leash pressure and release moments in order for the dog to understand the commands you are teaching him, such as heeling. With a retractable leash, it can extend at different distances and be locked inconsistently. Your puppy may become frustrated as it perceives unfair and irregular corrections each time you vary the length and lock it in place.
BONUS : Leash Training: Your Leash Training Questions Answered
Leash training is hugely underestimated by new dog owners. The process of getting your puppy or adult dog used to being on leash is fairly simple and just takes a little bit of your time. Trust me, this small investment of properly training your dog to walk politely on his leash will pay high dividends in the near future, especially if your puppy will grow up weighing 50 or more pounds.
Leash Training Questions
I get at least a dozen or more questions each week from new dog owners that ask me about leash training. They want to know what type of leash is best, what type to avoid, how long they should walk their dog, how to get the dog to stop pulling, etc.
Below I have listed a few of these common leash training questions for your benefit. Remember, there is no one best way to do anything so when it comes to dog training, whether it involves leash training or other lesson, it is okay to mix in your own training ideas so long as you keep it 100% positive. Negative dog training is not recommended and highly discouraged.
Having said that, here are a few basic leash training questions:
1. How much room should I allow the leash to extend when walking my dog? According to most dog trainers, your puppy or adult dog does not need anymore than 5 to 6 feet of distance to roam when you are walking him. This is plenty of room for you to keep control of the situation, while at the same time giving your dog a chance to sniff out small areas along the way.
2. What type of material should my leash be made of? If you walk into any pet-specific store you'll find that the majority of leashes for sale are made of nylon. Nylon is easy to wash and comes in all kinds of pretty colors. However, they will burn your hand if the dog suddenly pulls and the leash moves through your fingers.
My recommendation is to use a leather leash. In fact, a 6 foot leash made of leather is the perfect size and material. It will last a long time and you will not experience any type of burning sensation if it is pulled. The grip is firm and your control is increased.
3. What about using chain leashes? Chain leashes are practically indestructible and will last a very long time, but just like nylon material, a chain leash can hurt your hands if the dog yanks hard and your grip slips. In fact, the injury could be much more severe than a nylon burn.
4. How wide should the leash be? This answer is very simple. A leash that is approximately ½ inches to ¾ inches is ideal. Try to avoid heavy, bulky leashes.