Walking your dog with a training lead.


Both my friend and I have German Shorthaired Pointers. My friend walks hers using a training lead, which is longer than the leather lead I use, and it seems to be more effective in that her dog rarely pulls and mine does. Can you explain to me how a training lead works, and would you recommend one for my dog? My friend has a webbing variety with several D-rings attached along the length of the lead.

Tony says: A training lead is slightly longer than standard leads and the benefit is that it will be looser for more of the time.  Many dog trainers now teach a method called loose lead walking. When teaching, we want the odds on our side, so it’s worth bearing in mind that a short lead is usually tight, making learning loose lead walking an almost impossible process.

With a slack lead, the walk is also more relaxed as the pressure is removed from the dog’s collar or harness. With a longer lead, there are more reward opportunities to let your dog know that this is the required behaviour. You can do this by rewarding him when the lead is loose. Remember to reward when moving or you may be teaching your dog to stop frequently.

Avoid any equipment that can tighten when the dog pulls as it can induce stress in the dog and you often end up with other issues. Train him to walk with a slack lead instead. 

It can take a while for a dog to learn to walk nicely, but if you are consistent, it is well worth the training lead and the time taken. For rewards, you can use some of his breakfast kibble or even pieces of chicken.  

Tony Cruse is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers.