Teaching your dog to walk politely on leash is one of the top reasons for people seeking training assistance with their dogs. Dogs generally like to walk a lot faster than we do and aren’t particularly keen on walking in a straight line. Face it, we can be pretty boring walking partners for our dogs!

Most of us want our dogs to walk nicely so we can enjoy the walk too. However, there’s another reason to work hard at teaching your dog polite leash manners. Convenience and enjoyment are good goals, but safety should also be on the top of that list.

I’ve seen both people and dogs who have been injured as a result of a dog’s poor leash manners. In particular, I have seen the worst problems when dogs are being walked on retractable leashes. But injuries can easily occur when dogs are on 6 foot leashes as well.

I was reminded of this when one of my clients mentioned that in her job in an ER she was seeing more people coming in lately with injuries caused when out walking their dogs. Most often injuries happen when the dog sees something he can’t resist – a squirrel, a bunny, another dog, or something else – and lunges after it. People often get knocked off their feet and can injure knees, wrists, or other body parts when they crash to the ground.

While it takes some effort to teach those leash manners and “leave its” it is worth the effort if you can enjoy your walks AND prevent injuries to you, your dog or someone else who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If you’ve been avoiding teaching your dog polite leash manners, now is the time to resolve to work on it for the safety and enjoyment of you and your dog!