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Leash Work for LGDs – How It Differs From Companion Dogs

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

This is six month old Camari happily headed off on an adventure with me. Notice that I am using my outstretched hand to ask her to come with me and that the leash is completely slack.

Most of us, as owners of companion dogs, appreciate it when our dogs look to us for direction; with LGDs, we appreciate the dog’s ability to think for himself. When I do leash work with Maremmas, I still appreciate that behavior, so I do not ask my LGDs to heel, for instance. Rather, I partner with my dogs as we go on an on-leash adventure. I am fine with the dog preceding me and, in fact, often prefer it because I like the initiative shown by the dog, even in a novel environment.

In general, I view a leash as a safety line only. I use my body and training history with my dogs to ask them to come with me, even on a leash.

I never, ever allow pups to become fearful of the restraint of a leash. To do this, I use a front attachment harness with young pups.

Once the pups are very sure of themselves on a leash I switch to the use of a collar simply because it’s easier to put on the dog than a harness is, but if the dog challenges me (as adolescent dogs often do), I go back to the use of a harness until we come past the rough spot.

So, if you, as the new owner of one of my dogs, put on a leash and collar and pull on the neck of a pup raised by me, you are likely to scare him or at least confuse him. This isn’t a productive way to begin building your trust relationship with the pup. Please, please ask the pup to go with you using the language he knows. My pups are quick to please if they understand what is fairly being asked of them.

In this video, I explain my leash work as it pertains to buyers of my four to five-month-old pups.

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