Back when I was learning to train dogs professionally, I quickly realized that many dogs are stronger than me, that they see things to chase before I do, and that they can easily rip a leash right out of my hand in an instant. So I figured out how to better hang on and lessen the risk of a nasty accident.
First, stick your hand through the loop at the end of the leash. I want to add here that leather leashes are much softer and don’t burn your hands when a dog pulls.
Grasp the leash itself with your hand while it is still through the loop. Poor Tyson wants to know why he's on a leash if we don't get to go anywhere...
Now you have a good grip on the situation. The only risk is being pulled off your feet if the dog suddenly takes off. I recommend you pay careful attention if your canine client is likely to pull this stunt. You probably need more help than a good hold on the leash will provide.
No pull harnesses
My recent trip to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers annual conference here in San Diego introduced me to a multitude of so-called “no-pull” harnesses for dogs. I can see where these products would be handy for a pet sitter. After all, we are not being paid to train the client’s dogs.
Some of my clients provide a no-pull harness for their wannabe sled dogs. I’ve learned that every harness is different, and it takes a puzzle master to put most of them on correctly. Most still allow the dog to pull, he just doesn’t crush his trachea during the process.
If you’re going to be walking a dog every day, it is worth taking the time to teach the dog to walk properly on a leash, even if the owner hasn’t mastered this skill. It’s not easy to teach, and some dogs pull all their lives.
Next time…It ain’t easy, but we’ll talk about how to teach a dog this vital skill.
© 2011 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.