There are many misconceptions about how dog training leashes should be used. It is important for the owner to get the facts from reliable sources and present them in an organized way. Many owners have made the mistake of relying on what they have seen online without taking the time to understand what they can expect from their dog training leash. Taking a few minutes of research can mean the difference between a successful training program and a disastrous one.
Many people have been sold on the idea that the use of a choke collar would train a dog better than a dog training leash. This could not be further from the truth. In many cases, a choke collar can make a dog worse instead of better. The best way to train a dog is with a light leash attached to a gentle leader and doing nothing more. Doing nothing more is the best way to train a dog. This works very well. I don’t know what goes on in someone’s head to think that they have a choice of walking the dog on a leash or not. Maybe some people do that same thing, but I don’t see how it is supposed to work. If you don’t have a leash, you can still use a gentle leader and not a choke collar, but you will have to work a little harder to lead the dog.
I am not suggesting that you ignore the correction and be unpleasant to the dog. Quite the contrary. But understand that you need to give the correction smoothly, as not to confuse the dog. And you have to be consistent, as this will be a common pattern for beginners. If you have a leash, but you are having a hard time leading the dog, take a second to find the leash, and give the lead a small tug. Don’t haul the dog around, just gently tug him around to the side he wants to go, and make a correction at the exact moment he starts to move. Don’t say, “Here, now, your moving again.” That will just tell the dog that he has to try it again, and he will do it all the time until he gets it right. Just be consistent that way, and lead correctly.
When you have the right lead and collar, the next step is to walk the dog. Instead of just holding the leash, you now hold the lead and give a small correction, at the moment the dog is running. This same strategy works, but you now give a small correction and then praise the dog when he is not running. This is a very simple example to show that you don’t want to skip a step with the correction and praise, as that takes away the positive reinforcement that your dog is getting from you.
The key to making the correction work is to do it when the dog is not doing anything. But never, ever, ever allow the dog to be the one to put the leash back on. Remember when you are correcting the dog, to give him a second or two to react. If the dog remains calm, then praise is in order. The second the dog becomes calm, you can begin to move again. If the dog begins to follower you, give a very small correction (as little as a tug on the leash) and you can move again. The idea is that when you correct the dog while he is not doing anything, he learns to just watch you. Then when he is doing something, you correct him. So the timing of the correction is critical. The whole idea of using a gentle leader to lead the dog is that you correct the dog at the exact moment he is doing something wrong.
Now to say that you successfully lead the dog and it’s the right behavior, would not be the best unless you had perfect timing and bring the dog back instantly. It’s also important to realize that you must lead the dog back without him taking off and dragging you around. If you have proper timing and good contact structure with the lead, the dog will follow your lead. He will not be able to take off and go do his own thing.
It’s been said many times that aggression is a bad thing and an undesirable trait. In this case, I agree. Using a choke or prong collar to correct a human being is never the way to correct a dog. I do not believe that you can create good timing or structure from that sort of start.
In conclusion, to effectively lead the dog you need to understand how that particular working relationship is. The best way to achieve the leadership requires an understanding of the dog and how it works. If you understand the dog and its natural instincts, you’ll be able to complete the task at hand without any complications or excess frustration.