There are many things in life that have a collateral effect. What I mean is that you do one thing with one intent but you get other, unintended, consequences as a result. When you teach your dog to properly walk on a leash this often has many collateral effects. The following article will outline those and give you several reasons why you want your dog to have great leash manners and how it will effect so many other areas of your dog training efforts.
Leash Manners To Fix Destruction?
You may be asking yourself how teaching your dog to walk on a leash could possibly help your dog stop digging or chewing. The answer is that when your dog is walking in a focused walk (right by your side, paying attention, no pulling, no cheating out of position, etc.) he or she is required to think. Not only to think but to pay attention, to focus, to really make sure that he or she is watching you like a hawk.
This level of focus takes a lot out of a dog. Think about it, when are you often the most tired? Sure, you get tired when you go for a jog, a bike ride, or a hike. But when are you the most tired where you don’t want to do a thing? Where the thought of getting off the couch is painful and causes a panic attack? For most people that level of exhaustion is only attained when they are MENTALLY tired. It’s usually after a long day of work, a day of trying to figure out your taxes, a late-night cram session, or other mentally taxing activity.
The same is true for your dog. Your pup needs exercise. You need to be playing fetch, running around, and doing other physical activities. The real exhaustion for your dog, though, is going to come when the brain gets worked. Too many dogs rarely get a good mental workout. It’s almost as if we’ve created a nation of canine ‘mush brains’ because we never challenge our dogs mentally.
Guess what happens when an intelligent dog with a lot of energy does not get to a level of mental exhaustion regularly? You guessed it. That dog is much more prone to digging up your yard, chewing up your stuff, and otherwise finding ways to destroy all your nice and expensive stuff.
A dog who is taught to walk on a leash properly is getting a mental workout often and is much less likely to be destructive.
Leash Walking To Gain Leadership?
Have you ever gone online and asked Mr. Google how to be ‘dominant’ over your dog or how to ‘be the alpha’? The types of answers you’ll find are insane.
Other trainers will recommend you growl at your dog, flip your dog on his back, bite your dog, etc.
All of these ideas are pure craziness. Your dog does not view you as a big, hairless canine. When you try acting like a dog you end up looking like a fool.
What DOES help you achieve leadership and respect from a dog is obedience training. Think about it, if your dog comes when called he’s putting your will first. If your dog stays when told she’s putting your will first. When he walks properly on leash he’s doing as you asked him.
Proper leash walking puts your dog in a position where he is a follower, where she is paying attention to you, where he is focusing on you and your commands.
In case there is any confusion, those are good things. When your dog walks perfectly on leash you will find that your dog starts respecting you in lots of other areas as well.
On Leash Training To Fix Aggression?
For dogs that are aggressive one of the best things we can do is train them to walk on a leash perfectly.
This is part from the relationship aspect that I’ve already mentioned but also from a logistical standpoint.
Your dog can’t lunge at other people if she’s walking perfectly on leash. Your dog can pass by people, dogs, cats, and kids with no problem if he is heeling like a champion.
In fact, in 90% of the cases when I’m working with an aggressive dog for the first time our first order of business is to start working on great leash walking.
In summary, there is a major difference between a dog who will walk on a leash and a dog who heels perfectly. When you’ve got a dog who heels perfectly you are in a better position to fix destruction, aggression, and leadership problems.