How to train using a lead, long line and extendable lead

All types of leads can be useful in controlling the environment a dog has access to. The best example is using a lead to ensure that even the most well trained dogs are safe as they walk next to a busy road.

Part of changing a dogs behaviour is about giving them the right amount of freedom when it’s suitable e.g. a dog who has a habit of jumping up at a table may benefit from being on a lead as they learn leave it. The lead would prevent them from eating the food on the table if we did push the dog too far too quickly. The key thing to note here is that we pushed our dogs too quickly.

To make leads a useful tool it’s important that your dog never views them as limiting or restricting - this can easily be reversed through fun engagement games if this is the case. Starting by training follow-me games on a lead is a good base.

If a dog has too much freedom too quickly they can begin to make choices such as running up to dogs - these are self rewarding choices. The more they happen the more they will happen so prevention using a lead is essential.

My biggest tip is to treat leads like they are not there but more like they are a safety net. We shouldn’t become overly reliant on leads, long lines or even collars to ensure that our dog is safe and will listen to us.

Long lines are an excellent tool and can allow up to 30 meters of freedom with the security of being able to take hold of the lead if you need to and allow you to control the distance your dog is away from you to ensure they they succeed with recall and other training.

They are sometimes impractical when considering the environment and the disability. Which is why it is important to discuss extendable leads. These are not something I would advise if possible as there is a problem in that extendable leads have a slight but constant pressure on the dog. This isn’t useful if you’re training your dog to stop and refocus to slight pressure on their collar on harness. To combat this problem of constant pressure on an extendable lead Id advise using a harness on this lead and a long line rather than attaching to a collar.

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