Abby works as a kennel tech at an animal clinic. She is a firm believer that leashes save lives.
Leashes and Dogs: Meaning of Leash Training
Leashes have been around for a while. Almost every dog I know is leash trained, but there are a few that are not. So, you may not think Fido needs to be trained. But Fido does.
Many, many places have leash laws. What? That's right. Laws. Your dog has to be on a leash. Places like parks and walking trails require them. In all honesty, I support them. I don't want to be hiking with my small dog and have her be attacked by a big dog whose owner could have prevented it.
You might say, "Oh, but Scruffy here listens to voice commands and never runs." Dogs are natural hunters. That lazy, snoring Bulldog of mine may not bring down a deer or kill an elk, but that doesn't mean anything. The moment we let her outside in our yard, she's on the hunt for something, whether it's food, treats, or the neighborhood cat who torments her. She doesn't leave the house without her leash and a backup.
Why Is Leash Training Important?
I work at an animal clinic, so I have the privilege of cleaning out the dog runs and taking the dogs potty. This morning, I went in. I normally get to work at 5 a.m. and work a few hours, then head home to take care of my dog and cats. Today was surgery day. We do surgeries Tuesday through Thursday.
A little poodle by the name of Izzy was dropped off by her owner last night to make sure the dog didn't eat. (Eating the night before surgery is bad.) I walk the big dogs first, then the little ones. In total, I had five dogs: four big, one little. After my last dog, Skye, was walked, I went to get Izzy. No one told us that she didn't know how to walk on a leash.
You may wonder why I launched into half-hour storytime, and here is why. My job as a kennel tech means I have to make sure the dogs do their thing. This little three-pound pup wouldn't walk on the leash. Whenever I put her down, she jumped around and pulled against our leash, which only scared her more because of how tight it got. It took a good 20 minutes to just get her to potty.
I've had big dogs that way too. Ruby is a 200-something pound Mastiff. She's a big dog with a big bite and a big hatred for leashes. Ruby and her brother Cody normally stay a week or so while their parents are out of town. No biggie. Walking her, on the other hand, is an absolute battle. I normally walk her with two leashes after what happened.
Ruby and I were walking out of the clinic by the back door. Now, to remind you, it's five am. It's dark, and I understand it's scary. Ruby decided she wanted to bite through my leash and take off. Thank goodness I reacted quickly because a semi was coming down the road. Poor Ruby almost didn't make it. Once she was back inside, I gave her hugs, her food, and a new blanket.
You may be reading this going, "I'll never board my dog, so it really doesn't matter." You might be right, but what about a dog sitter? What about your mom coming over to take Fries to her vet? Vets require your dog to be on a leash. Leash training is one of the most important things you can teach your dog besides sit, stay, and come.
Here is another dog who comes into the clinic. Ace. He is a three-year-old German Shepard police dog. He's a lovely dog with great manners who listens to commands, but he still needs a leash. Just because he's a trained police dog doesn't mean he doesn't need a leash. Leashes save lives. It's not just in case Oreo gets in front of a car; it's when I'm walking my dog, Allie, and your 200-pound Mastiff decides he's hungry and gobbles up my pup.
Leash Tips and Tricks
Here are a few good articles from dog trainers about leash training. You may not agree with them, but overall, they are great tips.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.