Dog Training Leashes and Leads -
What you Need to Know About Them
If you own a dog, it is very likely dog training leashes have played an integral role in your interactions with your pet. Whether used to keep dogs under control or to abide to local leash laws, dog leashes are sure to accompany many canine companions across the globe.
Training a dog to walk politely on a leash is one of the most critical parts of practicing responsible dog ownership and something every dog owner needs to do.
When your dog is well under control, you are ultimately showcasing your four-legged friend's ability to be a polite, well-mannered member of society.
If you are a new dog owner looking to buy your first leash, you may think it's a pretty straight forward process. But while buying a dog leash doesn't seem complicated, there is more to it than meets the eye.
We will go over some popular types of leashes in a moment but first, why do dogs need leashes in the first place?
The Function of Dog Training Leashes
Dog leashes are often referred to as "leads". These two terms can be used interchangeably since they both have the same meaning.
A leash or lead is a rope, or any other material, used to keep a dog under control. Leashes are commonly attached to a dog's collar, but they can also snap on harnesses, halters or other dog training collars. When one extremity of the leash is snapped to a collar, the other extremity is typically held in the hand through a loop.
The main function of dog training leashes is to prevent a dog from escaping and getting into trouble.
However, even the best trained dogs are often required to wear a leash due to local leash laws. Leash laws are generally enforced in parks and other protected areas. However, even where dog owners are not required to put leashes on their dogs, dogs running at large may be subjected to impoundment.
An Overview of Dog Leashes
There are a variety of dog training leashes on the market and choosing the best one can feel overwhelming. Choices can be easily narrowed down by taking a closer look into the functionality of dog training leashes and their common uses. Following are some common, and not so common, types of dog leashes found in pet stores today.
Leashes come in a variety of materials nowadays.
Nylon leashes are very common and relatively affordable, but they can easily chafe and cut into the skin, especially when dealing with an exuberant dog.
Many trainers recommend leather dog leashes which tend to soften over time and are quite durable. Leather braided leashes may be more expensive, but they are kinder on the hands when compared to nylon leashes and their texture offers a better grip.
Cotton leashes are fairly priced and offer the advantage of being easy to wash and quite durable. Since they come in different colors, they can be coordinated with the collar.
Chain leashes, on the other hand, are the perfect match for choke or prong collars and are great deterrents for dogs who like to chew on nylon, cotton, and leather dog leashes.
Some dog training leashes also come in a reflective material to allow safe walks in the night.
The ideal leash length ultimately depends on your training needs and local requirements.
The most common leash is generally 6 feet long, designed for casual walks. Shorter leashes are commonly used for training or safety purposes. Pull tabs, also known as traffic leads, are very short leashes generally averaging between 6 to 10 inches and commonly used in metropolitan areas. Dog training leads are generally 1 to 2 feet long and are often used to train a dog to heel.
Longer leashes give dogs a glimpse of freedom while still keeping them well under control. Retractable dog leashes allow dogs to walk farther from their other owners, but they may expose the dog to upcoming traffic or other dangers around the corner. Long lines, ranging between 15 to 50 feet, are excellent for training dogs the recall command or for preparing dogs for hunting, trailing and herding trials.
There are several dog training leashes built for specific purposes.
Drag lines are lightweight leashes made to be worn indoors for the purpose of discouraging dogs from jumping or climbing on furniture. Couplers and triplers are leash extensions specifically designed to walk two or three dogs at a time. Bike leashes, as the name implies, are used to attach a dog to a bike using a harness.
Hands-free leashes, on the other hand, can be attached around the owner's waist for comfortable jogging sessions at the park. Finally, slip leads can be slipped through a dog's head so to offer quick, flawless control.
Considerations about Safety
It is imperative to know how to use a leash properly. Some leashes are not designed for being used in certain ways.
For instance, you do not want to attach your dog to a bike by attaching the leash to a collar. A dog harness with padding is a must to distribute the pull evenly and for safety purposes.
Retractable dog leashes are not meant to be used for training a dog to heel for the simple fact that they confuse the dog as to how far he is allowed to go at any time.
Most importantly, no leash should be misused. Leash jerks may ultimately cause serious neck injuries or tracheal damage. If your dog tends to pull, avoid getting too frustrated. Invest in some books, seek free dog training advice online, or consult with a professional dog trainer. Nowadays, there are far better training methods than the outdated, old-school "jerk and choke" training.
As seen, there are a variety of dog training leashes on the market. If you are planning to train loose-leash walking, make sure you choose your dog collars and leashes wisely.
Keep in mind that dog training leashes are ultimately tools; therefore, it is up to you to acquire the necessary skills to train your dog to walk politely on a leash. So far, the best way to accomplish this is through training and the right choice of dog training leashes and collars.
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Want to learn more?
If you need help with teaching your dog obedience commands or just trying to understand dog behavior, I recommend this dog behavior and obedience training guide.
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