There is a right way and several wrong ways to hold your dog’s leash. Avoid injuries to you and your dog and do it safely by following these tips.
Holding your dog’s leash seems like such a basic thing, but it could mean the difference between safety and some pretty awful injuries. I know, right now you’re probably thinking something along the lines of “how could holding a leash possibly be that dangerous?”. Many of us don’t even think about how we hold our dog’s leash, we just do whatever’s comfortable.
A little known fact about leash holding is that you are never supposed to wrap the lead around our arm, our wrist, to gain better control over your dog. There are many cases of an owner being dragged by their dog breaking an arm, fingers and even a dislocating a thumb.The proper way to hold a lead is to place your thumb through the loop, then close your hand over the handle.If you have a dog that pulls, work on teaching him/her to heel. Or take a short-cut and use a head-halter instead, these brilliant inventions can really help you take the lead again – pun intended!
Here’s another common problem: you’re trying to walk your dog on the leash, but instead of keeping his/her feet on the ground like a civilized canine, they’re constantly jumping up, grabbing the leash and playing tug with it. The first thing to bear in mind is that behavior tells the truth. If you dog grabs and tugs on the leash while you’re walking them, they really, honestly, do like holding things in their mouth and playing tug. The kind of game they like is not a problem. The problem is that they are playing that game in an inconvenient and annoying context – and one that’s potentially dangerous. A strong young dog can pull the leash out of your hands, or even take you off your feet.Reprimanding your dog is not recommended as an effective way to ward of the behavior, instead what is recommended is a reward system for whenever they aren’t leash grabbing. If your dog grabs the leash anyway, here’s a trick: attach two leashes to your dog’s collar and let one drag while you hold the other. Then, if she grabs the leash you’re holding, you can pick up the second leash and drop the first. If nobody is holding the other end of the leash your dog is tugging, they’re thwarted in their attempt to start a game.
With all that can go wrong with holding a leash, a hands-free leash (one that wraps around your torso like a belt) allows humans to learn the natural body posture and movement that help guide a dog. We suggest giving these a try if you are having trouble adjusting your hand placement to one that’s comfortable for you and your dog.