Tip 86 – Leashes for training puppies and dogs
There are many different types of leashes that are available at any pet store. Although some of the leashes may be very comfortable for your dog, they may not be well suited for training. Good examples include retractable leashes which allow the dog to roam up to 10 or 15 feet or more. These allow a great amount of freedom for your dog and they are perfect for dog parks but they are not good for training.
In general leashes that are good for basic training are short, roughly 6 foot long and made of leather or another sturdy material like heavy cotton, hemp or parachute strapping. Although nylon leashes are cheap and easy to find they can dig into your skin when your dog pulls during training. Larger dogs can require a 1 inch wide leash and smaller dogs a half inch wide leash. Once your dog has mastered some basic training then a 20 foot non-retractable leash can be very useful.
Leashes should be attached to a sturdy regular buckle collar which is not too tight. Training collars or choke chains or prong collars should ONLY be used for training and then switched for a regular collar after training. In general you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and the dog’s neck to achieve a good fit.If you are having trouble with a regular leash, you might consider a head halter type leash. These are especially useful for larger dogs and dogs that are difficult to train and that may have or are developing behaviour problems.
Once you have selected the leash it’s time for training. Although you can train your dog by yourself through pet articles and information from the pet bulletin board on this and other sites on the Internet, it is HIGHLY recommended that your dog take a GROUP obedience course. This will allow the dog to socialize with other dogs while recognizing that YOU are always the leader. It also gives you a great opportunity to talk with a trainer about any particular problems that you may be having including leash problems.