Do you remember the very first time you put a leash on that cute, chubby little fur ball of a puppy you just adopted? You immediately click the leash on his collar (Oh look! The snap is almost as big as he is), you then begin to tug on the leash with the expectation that your new pup is going to automatically know what this thing is yanking on his neck. You laugh at him and maybe even praise him for flopping down on the floor and biting the leash. You drag him a bit, and then he takes a couple steps and then rolls over scratching and biting and flails around trying to escape the collar. Then the whole scenario repeats itself, all the while you are telling little rover he is a genius, a champ, the best pup in the world as he gnaws on the leash and flops all over the floor like a fish. Sound familiar?
Consider why puppies pull when they are walking; there are many things that tempt your dog when you’re out for a walk, like children playing in the yard across the street, you neighbor grilling some hot dogs and that squirrel in the tree at the park. Your pup will try to get where he wants to go, even if that means pulling you along with him! If he pulls on the leash and you allow him to, you’ve reinforced that pulling gets him what he wants. Once you’ve allowed him to do this, he’ll do it again and again:
A professional (find one through The Pet Professional Guild) can help you train your dog to trust his environment and handler when he is on leash. Dogs can feel trapped by that lifeline. It’s vital that we teach them how we want them to behave when they see other dogs. These behaviors first must be taught in a safe, controlled setting such as a dog-training center.
This two-layer leash is tougher than typical nylon leashes, but light enough to be comfortable for everyday use. We think this product stands apart from its competitors because it’s priced right, comes in five different colors and even has a money-back guarantee. It comes in two sizes, a one-layer version for smaller dogs and the standard two-layer for medium to large. We love the soft padded handle that’s built in for comfort, helping you avoid burns from pulling and lunging.
If you’re a pet parent to more than one pup, you probably know the struggle of tangled leashes and wishing you had more than two hands. The Vaun Duffy double leash is a great alternative to a traditional leash, offering a pet owner the ability to hold only one leash for two dogs. The Vaun Duffy attaches to a traditional leash and features a swivel clasp that’s designed to keep your dogs from getting tangled up. Each leash also has a neoprene padded handle so you can have more control over one or both dogs during lunging or pulling episodes.
Leather is a great option for a long-lasting, attractive leash, and the Leatherberg is the best one you can buy. At a great price (under $30), the Leatherberg is constructed from real cowhide leather with a zinc-alloy snap hook, and comes with a full one-year warranty for any reason. It’s made in both black and brown and measures six ft long, perfect for medium to large dogs. This leather leash is treated to stand up to the elements, and won’t attract dust and dog hair the way a nylon version might.
If your pup barks: Some dogs have the habit of barking at other dogs while on a walk. Oftentimes, this behavior comes as a result of lack of exercise. Make sure your dog gets the proper amount of mental and physical stimulation for his age and breed. If this is still a problem, use the same process as you would if your dog is lunging, as described above — create distance and offer treats before he starts to bark, so every time he sees a dog he gets used to turning his attention to you.
About the author: Annie Phenix, CPDT-KA, is a force-free professional dog trainer enjoying her mountain-filled life in Colorado. She is a member of the Pet Professional Guild and the National Association of Canine Scent Work. She takes her highly trained dogs with them everywhere dogs are welcome because of their exceptionally good manners. Join Annie on her dog-training Facebook page.
The best dog leash should be sturdy enough to stand the test of time (or the occasional chomp) without immediately fraying or snapping. It must also have a clasp that's easy to attach to your dog's collar or harness and always shuts tight once you click it closed. And for the fashionista dog moms among us, it helps to find one that looks as adorable as your pup does, too!