A guide on proper leash handling
By Beverly Buechse, Staff Writer
Walking a dog on a leash can seem straightforward. However, when leash training a dog, it is important to follow steps to hold a leash properly.
This can quickly teach the dog how to walk on a leash and help the dogwalker prevent injuries.
One can start with just using a thumb. The trainer would put their thumb through the loop at the end of a leash while holding their hand upwards in front of them. Then they can close their hand around this loop.
“This technique allows you to have a handle on the leash without injury,” said Beth Barbour, a dog trainer and a veterinary technician. “Be sure never to wrap the leash around your wrist. A dog that pulls could hurt you if you hold a leash this way.”
Another option is folding the leash in one’s hand. The trainer should fold the leash several times and hold it in their hand, not around it. Wrapping a leash around their hand or wrist can cut off circulation or even break a bone.
“Different ways of holding a leash allows you to have the most control over the dog,” said Barbour. “These techniques are most important during leash training and are crucial to keep practicing even after the dog has learned.”
If the owner has a dog that likes to pull, standing on the leash when they do this will encourage them to stop. Some dogs are more robust than others, and it may not be easy to get them to stop without them pulling the trainer. Standing on the leash provides more stability and resistance if the dog tries to run away or pull.
“Immediately after a dog begins to pull, place the leash on the ground and step on it,” said Barbour. “While doing this, look away from the dog as if they are not there. They will pick up on this cue to stop pulling if you do not give them attention for this behavior.”
It is essential to follow techniques that work best for the person and dog, but be sure to handle a leash safely. Unsafe handling can result in injury. Owners should learn to hold a leash properly, no matter how big or small a dog is.