The most “liked” column I have written for Dogster was about why it is critical to observe leash laws. Nearly 20,000 of you clicked that button. The article struck a nerve because owners who flout these laws exist from coast to coast. Some of them angrily responded to my article, insisting they had every right to have an off-leash dog who runs amuck and molests (“he just wants to say hi!”) other dogs and humans. Many more of you wrote to tell me about the severe physical and psychological damage your dog has suffered because of a run-in with an off-leash dog.


Purposes of a leash include: preventing animals from frightening or biting people or other animals, defecating and urinating in inappropriate places, endangering traffic, digging up lawns, causing other damage, getting lost, and getting away from owners. Leashes also provide a clear method of communication and ensure control during training of dogs.

Even though your puppy may be learning to walk on a leash very nicely, you’re likely to run into some issues as he gets older, goes new places, and experiences new distractions. You’ll want to teach him loose-leash walking, because it’s much more pleasant for you both, and also then he can pass his Canine Good Citizen test. Here are a few tips on what to do if you’re having trouble with leash training, courtesy of the AKC GoodDog! Helpline.
And because each dog collar & leash material has unique properties and advantages, it’s important to take note of your canine’s breed and the way they behave on walks. Young puppies have tons of energy and are eager to please, so with the right reward, it’s never too early to start leash training. If you know your small and adorable puppy is going to grow into a large and powerful canine, certain dog collars can keep proper walking manners clear from the very beginning. By consistently showing them how to walk the walk as puppies, you can reduce the chance of getting pulled and dragged, as they mature into muscular adults. And if they already have the ability to pull, it’s not too late to suit them up in front-clipping dog harnesses, so they can learn to trust your lead. In addition to being powerful training tools, dog harnesses can also provide your pup with added comfort when you need to suddenly pull on their leash and change the direction they’re walking or running towards. Successfully leash training your pup doesn’t just put your mind at ease, it also helps reduce anxiety in your pup as they realize that you are in control of the situation and can safely steer the pack. Keep your dog walks enjoyable for the two of you with the right accessories from Petco.
Speaking of reward, positive reinforcement refers to operant conditioning, and I won’t bore you with the details right now, but suffice it to say B.F. Skinner, one of the leading researchers on reinforcement, found that positive reinforcement (to reward good behavior) is far more superior to punishment in altering undesirable behavior because positive reinforcement results in lasting behavioral modification, and punishment changes behavior only temporarily; and presents many detrimental side effects. If the problem behavior changes temporarily, it will reappear later, and it comes with even more problem behavior! Good Behavior = Reward and Bad Behavior = Punishment, does that sound familiar? Positive reinforcement training is what exotic animal trainers have used for years to teach dolphins, whales and large cats among other animals.  You cannot force a dolphin to do what it does not want to do!
Make the puppy come to you. While he’s on his way to you, still wearing the leash and collar, back up a few paces and then reward him when he gets to you. Continue the progression until your puppy, upon hearing the cue noise, comes to you and walks with you a few paces. Remember that puppies have a short attention span, so keep your sessions short, and end them when your puppy is still eager to do more, not when he’s mentally exhausted.
Throw a meat treat in the direction of the oncoming dog, turn on your heels, and walk away. I cannot even count the number of dog owners who are shocked that as their dog is being harassed by the off-leash dog, the owner of stands there, saying nothing, and doesn’t help to put an end to the situation. If another person is walking with you, ask them to attempt to catch the oncoming dog as you leave the scene (you have to decide in an instant if that would be a safe maneuver or not because breaking up a dog fight is an excellent way to get bitten).
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