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If you're looking to transform your dog or cat into a therapy animal or adventure pet, consistency is key, and there is one simple tool that can easily help you increase your consistency: a leash! Let's dig into how this training tool can help you train your pet, whether you just brought home a new puppy or are just getting around to leash training your adult cat.
What is a dragline?
A dragline is simply a leash that you attach to your pet's collar or harness! Instead of holding onto the leash, you'll simply let your pet drag it around. You may find that a lightweight leash or even a length of clothesline works best as a dragline, but every home and every pet is different!
Why use a dragline?
Using a dragline has tons of benefits! Here are just a few:
Increased comfort using the leash If your pet is dragging a leash around regularly, they're simply going to get used to the sensation of being on a leash. This is beneficial for any pet, but you'll probably see some of the biggest improvements in rescue dogs that have never worn a leash and cats! One of the biggest mistakes I see cat owners make when they start leash training their cats is that they try to rush introducing the leash to their cat, whereas most dogs are on a leash each day as soon as we bring them home. Letting your cat or dog drag their leash around your home will start getting them more comfortable with it! Draglines also increase your comfort using the leash as they will give you more opportunities to intervene using the leash.
Quick & consistent interventions When your pet is dragging the leash, you will quickly and easily be able to intervene when you run into their problem behaviors. Jumping up on the counter? Not if you're standing on the end of the leash! Getting ready to play keep away instead of coming when you call? Put your foot on the end of the leash so your pet can't juke you out and take off on a high speed chase around your home. Already on the furniture without permission? Use the leash to gently remove your pet! (Avoid grabbing your pet's collar/harness in situations like this... it will start to build up a negative association with you reaching for your pet! Save your hands for the positive things like petting and other rewards!) Jumping on visitors? Redirect with the leash! Consistency is very important when you're trying to break your pet's bad habits, teach them good behaviors, and make those good behaviors into habits. Using the leash to quickly intervene will help!
Watch them like a hawk! When you first bring home a puppy or kitten or older pet, my #1 piece of advice is to watch them like a hawk! If you're not watching them, they should be crated or shut into their pet-safe room for their safety AND for the safety of your home. Well, it's a lot easier to watch your pet like a hawk if they're actually in the same room as you! Sit or stand on your pet's dragline to keep them nearby. You may even want to tether them to yourself or a sturdy, stationary object in your home. PSA: Never attach your pet to an unstable object and never leave your pet unattended on their dragline to keep them from getting caught on furniture, pulling things over on themselves, or otherwise getting themselves tangled up or hurt.
These are just a couple of the ways using a dragline is beneficial for your dog or cat. In fact, I recommend that all of my clients utilize a dragline until they are confident in their pet's behavior. When in doubt, use a dragline to keep your pet safe and increase your consistency.
Still need help training your dog or cat? Join the King's Creatures Adventure Team Club to get all the resources you need to transform your pet into a therapy animal or adventure pet!