I have noticed a lot more people walking their dogs these days. Maybe it’s people being home more due to COVID or more people getting out and about when we actually have nice weather. Either way, it is great to see more dogs getting out of the house/backyard and enjoying the outdoors.
However, while I am also out on walks with my dogs, I am disheartened to see many people yanking on their dog’s leash.
I am by no means a dog training expert but I like to think I use compassion and common sense to determine if something just does not look right. I have also participated in my fair share of dog training classes, read lots of books and watched lots of videos online.
What I see many people doing to their dogs are generally referred to as leash corrections.
A leash correction is usually characterized by a quick snap or pop on a dog’s leash to correct a behavior, perhaps the dog is pulling or not paying attention to commands.
In my opinion, this is a form of punishment that does not teach a dog anything. Not to mention the force by which I see many pet parents yarding on their dog’s leash, how is anyone to know the damage they are possibly causing to their windpipe, neck, back, etc.? Plus the damage to a dog is more than just physical, a pet parent also runs the risk of destroying the bond between them and their dog.
If you are frustrated that your dog is pulling or not following commands (or exhibiting any other behavioural issues), I encourage you to seek help from a dog trainer that uses positive training techniques only. There are also any number of articles, books and videos available online that promote and teach positive training.
In this day and age, we not only understand a dog’s ability to smell human survivors in an avalanche, their ability to sense when a human is about to have a seizure, their ability to protect a human from a wild animal or intruder, but we now also understand their ability to feel sadness, loneliness, pain and much more. We must do better by dogs. It is the least we can do for all they bring to our lives.
Finally, walking your dog is not meant to be perfect. Give your dog time to just be a dog and most of all have fun!