It's been a long time since I've posted a Training Tools entry. The last one was about the Prong Collar on December 6. Since it has been so long, I thought I'd remind everyone that Training Tools are just that - a means or "tool" to help you help you teach your dog how to obtain the ultimate goal ... Freedom. You need to train your dog so that you can trust exactly what it will do in any situation. So, today I thought I'd blog about the Leash.
The leash is something that a lot of people forget to consider as a "Tool". They see it as a necessity and something they use every day, but not as a stepping stone to further their dog's education.
The leash is just that. A tool. You use it to train your dog how you would like them to walk with you. You should use your daily walks as an opportunity to teach. It's not only a time for Fido to use the "facilities" so to speak and burn off a bit of energy. What a great opportunity that so many people pass by without blinking.
Why is this so difficult for most dog owners out there?? The first thing you do is teach them to walk with a loose leash. When you have that, you teach them how to Heel. When they can do both these things without you holding on to the leash, you remove the leash and teach them how to do the same exercise without a leash.
The best advice I have ever heard regarding teaching a Heel was this; Talk to your dog! If you were walking with a person and they never spoke to you, how boring would that be? Or how would it feel if they only spoke when you did something wrong?
In my opinion you shouldn't need a leash to walk your dog. Your dog should want to walk with you. I don't mean tearing around off leash and recalling when you call - that's a different and equally important behaviour. I mean properly walking with you as though the leash really were there even if it's not.
As is the case with all training tools, the leash is only a tool and another step towards the ultimate gift an owner can give a dog - Freedom.