Today is all about how to communicate with the leash and how to prevent and fix leash aggression.
How you grab and communicate with your pup through the leash is very important. Before you even touch the leash you should be aware and in control of your body and mental state of mind.
Acknowledge that a leash should mean relaxation not excitement. If your dog has this wrong you need to fix it. When you put the leash on your dog you are restraining his or her movements. Getting your pup all excited and then restraining him/her with the leash it doesn’t make any sense, yet a lot of people do it.
When you grab the leash you should be relaxed, confident and looking forward to a calm and pleasant activity with your dog. Here is how you can achieve this:
Call your dog. Make sure your pup comes to you instead of you going to him/her. Use a treat or a toy if you need to. Once he/she comes ask him or her to relax. Depends in the pup this might take a little bit of time.
When your dog is relaxed put the leash on.
Make sure there is never tension on the leash. Keep the leash loose at all times and if your dog decides to pull, do a tug to the side to break his or her balance.
When you do this use your dog´s energy not your´s. This way you will be able to do it with your wrist or even with fingers instead of yanking him/her using your whole arm. You achieve this by pulling a little bit to the side.
Do not yank or be forceful. Remember this has nothing to do with strength. Don´t pull him/her backwards and never maintain tension. Every time you do a gentle tug you have to relax when he/she stops. Is a tension-release move, not a tension-tension restrain. Your dog will not listen to you just because you are stronger.
NEVER REWARD FOR PULLING!
Ex: Don´t let your pup sniff something because he/she pulled. Or don’t let your pup greet another dog because he/she is pulling.
If you do, you will be teaching your pup that pulling gets them what they want. This kind of inconsistency creates a lot of confusion and stress in your pup, because sometimes you reward pulling and sometimes you get mad for doing so.
This type of human behavior is what creates leash aggression. And Leash aggression is always created by humans.
Remember that Leash Communication is a skill on you not on your dog. If you are not in control of yourself you won´t be able to control your dog.
As Plato said: “The first and greatest victory is to conquer self. To be conquered by self is of all things the most shameful and vile”
© Gabriel Riesco, Fairfield CT, October 2017