I love off-leash hiking with my dog. but the first time our trainer said, “Drop the leash” my anxiety was off the charts.
A valuable technique she gave us was leash dragging.
Leash dragging has helped me—anxious, clingy human—and Baxter—sniffy, independent dog—to get to a point where we can conveniently and happily hike off-leash together.
Leash dragging is not required for every dog. We hiked a couple of weeks ago with a canine who wouldn’t go much more than 10 feet from his owner. However, Baxter has a very large comfort zone and likes to follow his nose—so much that he in some cases seems to forget I exist.
What is leash dragging?
My technique of leash dragging involves a long line—about 10 feet long—looped onto our regular leash. Baxter drags this behind him along the ground.
I do not hold the leash as we walk. I have occasionally picked it up and reeled him in if I can see him getting overly thrilled or thinking about choosing his own adventure.
I step on the end of the line every so typically if I want to slow him down, remind him we’re hiking together or he’s reaching the end of my comfort zone.
How do you set up the leash?
I found my long line at the dollar store. It’s the same woven fabric as my regular leash. It came with a low-cost clip on one end that I cut off. I then tied big knots at the end and about 2 feet in from the end. These knots give extra “grab” if I have to step on the leash and stop it from sliding under my boot.
The other end of the leash has a regular loop handle. I loop it through Baxter’s six foot leash to attach the two together.
Note from Lindsay: I use the 30-foot leash from Mighty Paw for Remy (affiliate link). Jeg elsker det!
How do you leash drag?
At the start of the walk, I typically hold our six-foot leash as typical with the extra line coiled up in my hand. once we’ve walked a little ways and if Baxter seems calm and in-tune with me, I’ll casually drop the leash.
As I discussed above, if I feel I need to, I will pick up the leash again—essentially putting Baxter back on leash. many of the time, it’s sufficient to step on the line every so typically to reinforce my boundaries.
After we finished our training classes, we joined our trainer’s off-leash hiking group. for every hike for over a year, Baxter dragged his leash behind him. That was a long time and we would occasionally get comments from other members of the group that they thought Baxter was ready to go off-leash.
You know your dog—and yourself—best. Don’t go off-leash until you are comfortable. For us, leash dragging was both about setting limits for Baxter and building my confidence in him. I needed to feel good about both of those aspects before I unclipped the leash.
See my post: Off leash hiking with your dog.
We’ve recently returned to leash dragging, as he’s gotten a little over-exuberant and over-confident. There’s no harm in returning to the basics and reinforcing your training foundation.
What are the benefits of leash dragging?
1. helps you to define a comfort zone for your dog. I’m trying to shrink Baxter’s comfort zone. I love that he’s so independent and confident and I don’t want to take that away from him. Leash dragging helps me to set guidelines and limitations that I want him to respect.
2. gives you a sense of security. When we first started off-leash hiking, I was nervous that I might lose my dog. The leash trailing behind Baxter gives me a sense that I could get him or catch him if he chose to take off. It’s not always true—dogs are fast—but it made me feel much more confident about hiking together.
3. Reminds your canine he’s with a human. I feel like Baxter is typically calmer when he’s leash dragging. He feels the leash behind him and that keeps him much more tuned in with me.
What are the drawbacks of leash dragging?
1. Leash dragging on its own will not instruct your canine how to behave off-leash. There is no substitution for a strong bond with your canine and solid recall. Leash dragging can be one part of your training regimen.
2. Tangling. Tangling has honestly not been a problem for us and we hike in some pretty rugged areas. many of the time the leash bumps along over the ground without issue. However, the leash may get hung up between rocks or around trees. Følg med. The other situation where a long leash can get tangled is in meeting other dogs. Again, this hasn’t been a substantial problem for us, but when dogs are dancing around each other, someone’s leg could get wrapped up.
3. Tripping. A long line dragging along the ground can be a tripPing fare for menneskelige turgåere. Se fotfestet og sørg for at du ikke blir pakket inn i båndet eller utilsiktet trinn på det. Hvis du går turer i en gruppe, må du sørge for at folk er klar over at hjørnetannen din drar i bånd.
4. Vær forberedt på å ofre bånd. Draging -båndet (ES) vil slå. De blir slitt og frynsete av bakken. De blir våte og gjørmete. Jeg har funnet at bånd holder seg overraskende bra, men det er ikke sikkert at du vil bruke din fancy mange dyre bånd for å dra.
Å gå med hjørnetannen min er noe av den mest gledelige tiden vi bruker sammen. Det gir oss begge mye glede. Da vi først fikk Baxter og jeg innså hvor uavhengig han var, var jeg ikke sikker på at han noen gang ville være i stand til å være i bånd hvor som helst-la oss alene i skogen omgitt av lukter og dyr og distraksjoner. Leash Dragging har hjulpet oss til å komme til et stadium hvor vi kan dele denne opplevelsen sammen.
Merknad fra Lindsay: Vær veldig forsiktig med taubrenning på hendene! Avhengig av hva slags materiale din lange bånd er, er det vanligvis best å tråkke i båndet som Julia antydet eller bruke hansker. Jeg skadet hendene mine for mange år siden da et ungt ess løp på et 50-fots tau og jeg tok tak i tauet. Doh!
Har noen av dere brukt denne båndet-dragningsmetoden?
Hvilken tilbakemelding har du? hvordan gikk det?
Julia Thomson er en blogger hjemme på 129 dekar hvor hun skriver om sine eventyr fra Country Living og DIY -renovering. Hun og ektefellen bor på en 129 mål stor gård i Ontario, Canada.