Last Friday we were in Acworth at a Home Dog Training session with a new client and his Dutch Shepherd named Adolph. Adolph, as with most shepherds, was very intelligent, friendly, and full of energy. He was ready and willing to please. With a little bit of fortitude, the training went quickly and Adolph was no longer jumping on our client or stealing food from the table. The one, last thing were were going to work on that day was having Adolph walk on a leash without being completely crazy. As always, I asked my client to get what he used to walk his Shepherd. He went into the other room and returned with a dog collar and extension leash. I stopped my client right there and told him that he was about to break one of my “never ever” dog training rules. I never, ever want my clients to use extension leashes. I went on to explain why…
All people love things with buttons, gizmos, and widgets. When we look at an extension leash, it has a handle with a button. Button! Wow! If it has a button, I must need that! No you don’t. Bad, Bad dog owner!
When we are walking our dog down the street, in the mall, at the park, etc., it is our responsibility to keep him safe. Our dog needs to understand that. He needs to keep his focus on us so that if we change the direction of our walk, he will naturally and instantly comply. If we speed up or slow down, he will comply. If we stop, well, you get the point.
In order to maintain this focus, our dog must always have an eye on us and we must have an eye on him. The only way we can accomplish this is if he is by our side. If he starts to stray from our side, we must be able to appropriately guide him back to his proper position. When this takes place, we are providing the proper consistency and repetition of our actions to communicate to our dog “don’t worry, you are with me.”
Now we come to the horrible extension leash. The only thing this leash does is to give our dog the ability to do whatever he wants. Our dog can be all over the place sniffing whatever he wants and deciding what he wants to do next. Because of this, he will naturally loose focus on us and will not comply when we need to quickly get his attention and focus.
When another dog or person starts to approach us, our dog will bark and jump at them. He is simply taking the leadership/protective role in the situation. We now get angry at our dog, but we are the one telling him he is the leader and has to protect us. That is what the extension leash does for us.
With the good old fashioned leash, we can keep our dog right next to us and naturally provide the leadership our dog requires. We will easily and naturally have great “walkies” and a dog that will be well behaved on and off the leash.
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training experts for over fourteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.