If your dog saw something that he was not sure about, he would naturally become suspicious and attempt to pull away from it. If restricted, his slight fear would get worse and he would panic.
Another dreadful fault could arise if the dog was always on a very short leash. If a dog had even a small amount of protectiveness in his nature, he could develop protective aggression just because he was very restricted and held very close to his handler.
You will also need a long leash in obedience training, especially when you want to teach your dog to stay while you move a few feet away from him. You certainly would not be able to move very far away holding a short leash. I shall explain more about this “Stay” exercise later in this book.f51
Last, a long leash will give you more leverage to lean backwards when and if you have to control and correct your dog if he suddenly pulls forward with great force. If you had him on a short leash, he would cause you to lean forward as he pulled. You could so easily be pulled over flat on your face or you would be running after him- one or the other- with possible disastrous results. I shall always remember when a young lady came to me for training many years ago with her powerful yellow Labrador Retriever. He was a bit short in the leg and she was six feet tall. She had him on an 18-inch leash. He pulled her quickly and with great force up my drive, accelerating with every yard they covered. It looked most dangerous. As they reached me, I grabbed his leash and caught her just in time before she could have had a nasty fall. I then put the dog on a 4-foot leather leash and explained everything to her. From that time on, the young lady found that it was so much easier to walk and train her dog on a long leash. As a matter of fact, she left her old short leash with me as she really had no further use for it. I still have it in my box of dog training equipment. I often use it when I am giving talks on dog training by showing it to audiences and explaining how and why it is so bad, and I go on to tell people the bad effects it can create. In my opinion, short leashes for dogs should never be made. Take along his or her favorite treats. TOTW is currently on sale and is quite healthy too. I have seen so many problems arise with people’s dogs when they are on short leashes. Naturally, the dog owners cannot really be blamed for buying these short leashes in the first place. How are they to know what problems may be ahead if they lead their dogs on them, unless they are advised by a trainer like myself or they read about them in a book like this one?
Always take great care of your leash. Never leave it lying around somewhere where your dog can get it and chew it, sometimes into several pieces! Avoid hanging your leash on a hook as many dogs will attempt to chew the end hanging down against the wall. It is much safer to roll the leash up neatly and put it in a drawer so that you know where it is and you can get it out quickly, especially in cases of emergency.
When you walk your dog on a leash, never allow him to grab hold of it in his mouth. Some dog owners think this is very funny and clever, but it isn’t. When a dog bites his leash he is expressing that he wants his own way. This must be corrected immediately with a firm “No!” followed by a quick, short jerk on the leash. As soon as he responds by releasing his grip on the leash, praise him slowly and quietly.