Something every first-time dog owner should understand is the importance of leash safety and proper leash training. Though you might see the appeal of training your dog to walk leash-free, and though it’s perfectly fine to be leash-less at home, leashes are an absolute must in public settings.
Generally speaking, leashes keep both you and your pup safe during your daily walks. Your dog may not be able to help but become excitable, especially in new environments. However, you can definitely control their risk of breaking free and then either getting lost or heading into an untoward accident. Additionally, keeping your dog on a leash is a show of goodwill to your neighbors. Even if you know for sure that your dog wouldn’t leave your side or disturb anyone else, other people may not.
Indeed, upholding leash safety at all times will keep your daily walking routine with your dog safe, comfortable, fun, and trouble-free. In that vein, here are eight safety tips and tricks that you and your dog can follow:
Use the Proper Leash Size and Length for Your Dog’s Breed
The first thing you need to sort out is the proper leash length and size for your dog. Your leash should be between 4 and 6 feet, depending on how big your dog is. Shape and thickness also matter when choosing the right leash. For example, you’ll need thicker and wider leashes for bigger pups. Not only will it be easier to walk them, but the leash itself will also be more comfortable for them.
Match a Good Leash with a Good Collar
In addition to a proper leash, you’ll need a quality dog collar to attach it to. Choose a collar with a firm buckle and quality stitching, as well as a D-ring that makes it easy to clip your leash onto it. Consider shopping for quality custom dog collars for one that can fit your pooch’s needs as well as reflect its unique personality.
Start Leash Training as Early as Possible
Once dogs figure out that leashes are a cue for a good time outside, dogs often end up really liking leashes. Knowing that, it’s good to train them to recognize that cue as soon as possible
Start acclimatizing your dog to its new leash inside of the house. Afterward, do the same in your own backyard. Once they’ve gotten used to it at home, you can then get them used to wearing it while you’re out in your neighborhood. If you need additional help, you can ask fellow dog owners, consult a professional trainer, or search online. Make sure that your training is appropriate for the dog’s age, as a proper training routine for puppies can be very different from that of a rehomed, previously untrained older dog.
Hold Your Leash Properly
One of the things you should learn before you take your dog on regular walks is how to hold your leash. If your grip is incorrect, you could get hurt from any painful friction that’s generated between your skin and the rope. At worst, you could get a sprain or fracture if your dog suddenly sprints. That may also cause you to let go and lose sight of your dog. Make sure to wrap your leash around your palm and not around your wrist. Also, maintain enough slack so that it’s a little more comfortable for your dog to move from spot to spot.
Resist Dragging and Pulling
Many new dog owners will feel the impulse to drag or pull their dog, especially when the latter gets very excitable. But remember that you don’t need to do this in order for your dog to listen to you. Rather than risk hurting them by pulling or dragging their leash forcefully, learn to rely on voice commands to get their attention. Adjust your position, call your dog’s name, and praise them when they listen to you.
Check the Condition of Your Leash Regularly
Another thing you have to pay attention to is the condition of your dog’s leash. Damaged and deteriorated leashes could pose extreme danger to you and your dog. Make it a habit to check your leash regularly and to see if it’s in good working condition. If it’s fraying or threatening to snap, replace it immediately.
Be Aware of Your Neighborhood’s Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Rules
As a new dog owner, it’s also important for you to learn the traffic and safety rules that apply to you and your dog. Find out which areas are safe to walk your dog in, and in which areas you’ll need to be extra careful about leash safety. For example, you’ll want to take extra precautions if you find yourself passing by an open road. A good rule of thumb is to always walk your dog in the same direction as the traffic. This makes your dog more visible to drivers, and it also lessens the likelihood of them getting into an accident from a sudden collision.
Keep Your Dog’s Leash and Collar Visible to Others
If you’re thinking about leash design and color, go for brightly colored and distinctive designs. Consider getting a leash and collar with reflective designs so that they make you and your dog easily visible to other people. If it’s easy for them to see you and your dog, it will also be easier for them to give way to you and prevent any accidents from occurring.
These rules may seem intimidating to a new pet owner at first. But as time passes and as you and your dog fall into a routine, following proper leash safety will feel like second nature. Ensure that you have fun and stay free from danger when you and your dog are outside, and you’ll be sure to enjoy lots of quality time together!