With Great Dane comes great responsibility. Well, all breeds of dog—whether purebred or all 57 varieties of Heinz—are a great responsibility. Dog owners play a large role in moulding the minds and behavioural patterns of dogs, especially if they’ve owned them since puppyhood.
Some of these responsibilities are more basic—such as keeping a daily walk schedule and picking up any poop that materialises along the way. Some of these responsibilities pertain to psychological developmental training—and that’s one heck of a responsibility.
Leash training is a process of behavioural control that is crucial to keeping dogs in line. Whilst the training process itself is a whole separate article, there are many reasons you should undertake it. Here are our top-10 reasons for keeping your dog on a leash.
- Behavioural control
Dogs don’t internalise social norms or societal laws like humans do. In fact, when it comes to presenting our unfiltered, authentic selves, we could take lessons from dogs. However, dogs are pack animals, programmed to protect their own. Without adequate training, this instinct can skew a dog’s perception of threats. Ergo, aggressive dogs can injure innocent people or animals. If your dog is this way inclined, it is critical that you keep them well restrained whilst on walks.
Stylish Hound’s obedience leashes are a great way to reclaim control over a pulling dog.
- Psychological factors
This is behavioural control on a deeper level. Behaviour stems from our psychology, and that’s why dog training is critical in the early developmental stages. By keeping your dog on a leash, it knows you’re boss. It better responds to the verbal ad nonverbal cues learnt through training. Remove the leash and you’re removing the visual cue for this boundary.
- Dog safety
We’ve spoken of others’ safety, but what about the safety of the dog itself? It’s easy to forget that dogs’ mental capacities cannot exceed that of a human toddler. You wouldn’t let a two-year-old walk as liberally as they please, so it follows to keep a handle on dogs as well—especially considering their capacity for speed. Dogs can run like the wind, and it would be devastating if they were to run onto a busy road. Leashes keep everyone—including your dog—safe.
- Preventing disease and dangerous ingestion
As discussed above, dogs drink from mud puddles. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine they also like to consume animal faeces. This is a sure-fire way to spread disease, but a surefire way to prevent this is by using a leash. This also applies to other dangerous ingestibles. Dogs are garbage gutses, so they may have no qualms about eating dubious offerings or actual garbage. Clip on the leash and prevent dangerous situations from happening.
- Etiquette reinforcement
This is a variant of behavioural control. When greeting humans, dogs will often jump up on them. The reasoning is likely innocent—it may be their way of asking for a hug—but jumping is a negative dog behaviour. This is especially the case when they’re greeting someone new. Leashes can help prevent dogs from jumping to greet strangers at the park.
- Dog-to-dog interaction
This is similar to the above point. Sometimes, dogs like to greet fellow dogs. Dogs are social creatures and like to befriend humans and dogs alike. When meeting a new dog in a public space, a leash facilitates a controlled space. If there’s any dog-on-dog aggression, you can pull them back quickly to avoid any blow-ups.
These two seem cool, though. Image: Stylish Hound
- Dog-to-dog relations
This is the above point up to 11. If you haven’t had your dog spayed yet—and you really should get to that ASAP—you may find yourself in Charlotte’s situation when she let Elizabeth Taylor off the lead (Sex and the City). Spoiler: Elizabeth Taylor the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel became pregnant. We’ll bet Harry regretted urging Charlotte to let her off the lead!
Remember: dogs are toddlers with body strength. Toddlers like making mud pies; dogs like drinking from mud puddles. Ergo, dogs will have no qualms about playing in the mud or running into a nearby lake for a swim. This is sometimes appropriate behaviour, but sometimes you just don’t have time in your schedule for an impromptu dog bath. Leashes prevent these scenarios from happening.
Don’t even think about jumping in the water, Ruby! Image: Stylish Hound
- Establishes them as a pet
Has anyone else felt concerned upon seeing a dog wander around solo? Your first thought is that they must be lost. You start to wonder if their owner is far behind. Off-lead walking blurs the lines and you’re unsure how to proceed. If a dog is on a leash, you’ll immediately know they’re a valued pet. This provides security and eradicates ambiguity.
- It’s the law
Likely for a culmination of the above reasons, it’s against the law to walk a dog without a leash: pure and simple. On-lead walking regulates behaviour and is in the best interests of surrounding humans and animals—and of your dog’s safety. You should let your dog off-lead only in permitted areas.