Leash manners are not just about getting from one place to another. Asking your dog to behave while on a leash affects your dog as well as other animals and people around you. Imagine walking into your veterinarian's office with a dog on a leash who is not properly leash trained. Your dog could potentially pull you through the door injuring himself or you. An excited or fearful dog on a leash may attack other dogs who might be sitting in the waiting room. A dog who is eager might pull you behind him and overpower you. Moreover, a dog who is fearful may pull you in a direction if he wishes, in order not to go where you are leading. This could mean injuries or a direct route back to the hazardous parking lot.
Teaching your dog to walk on a leash is imperative if you live in an area where you will expect your dog to walk with you on a regular basis. Leash manners will help to keep your dog safe, keep him from dragging you behind, and keep him from being distracted by the sights, sounds, and smells of your neighborhood. Taking your dog for a walk has an entirely different meaning if you are running behind your dog with a taut leash, fighting to maintain control. If your dog is easily distracted by another dog, children playing, or a rabbit who may cross your path, you could potentially be in danger yourself, or your dog could become injured or responsible for injuring another animal or person in your path. Training leash manners is a vital part of your dog training process if you expect to take your dog outside of your home for any reason.
Leash training a puppy is a bit easier than leash training a dog who is not used to using a leash and suddenly needs to become more aware of his surroundings while on a leash. Both will require patience, time, and effort.
You will need the proper size leash for your dog’s breed and size. This is imperative if you have a dog that is more than you can handle. A 50lb dog could potentially pull the weight of an adult holding the leash. Be sure the leash you use is secure and strong enough to not only keep your dog safe and near you but also in a position where he is unable to jump on anyone as well.
A collar or a harness will be required to support the leash. Many veterinarians and trainers will not recommend shock collars or spiked training collars. The purpose of a spiked training collar is to tighten the collar around the dog's neck, digging spikes into their fur and skin to correct the dog’s behavior. If you have a large breed dog or a dog who is more than you can handle on a leash, consider a harness instead. Chest harnesses give you better control over your dog's movements. A harness which has the leash clipping onto the back still gives your dog the ability to pull and jump up. A harness with a leash clipping on the chest will allow you to pull the leash down, keeping your dog from jumping up. Chest harnesses can also prevent your dog from going too far if the leash is placed behind one leg. When you are shopping for a leash and harness, be sure to consider the size and weight of your dog and how much control you need over him compared to how much control your dog may have over you with inadequate equipment.