9 Good Reasons To Use a Leash Indoors
Leash Training: 9 Dog Training Reasons to Use A Leash Indoors
Nearly every single week, someone asks me "You mean, I should have him on the leash in the house?" And my answer is: "Yes!"
Not all the time, of course, but when you are are introducing a new dog into the home, doing some training activities and/or trying to solve a behavioral problems.
House Training: if you are relaxing with a good book or a movie and don't want Fluffy to sneak around to the dining room to for a potty break, simply tether the leash to your belt, loop it over your foot, etc. That way when he gets up to leave the room, you'll know and will be able to direct him/her outside for successful potty training.
Basic Obedience: Fluffy may decide he really doesn't "want" to practice his training right now and scurry off to play with his toys. With a leash on, you control the follow-through on the training interval and skills he needs to perform.
Duration Work: Great for building a long duration down stay. Just put your food on the leash with enough room for the leash to be loose ONLY if the dog is holding the position. If he starts to stand up, he will feel the tension on the leash, you'll be able to say "no, down" and continue the exercise without moving. You can also use it for a good place stay -- just tie him to a sturdy object he can't move and give enough room to step off and make the error, but not enough to walk way. A verbal cue from you should have him step right back on the mat. When he masters the concept, you'll do more work without the leash.
Greeting Visitors: if you know company is coming over, or it's time for the delivery guy, or it's trash pick up day -- go ahead and leash Fluffy up to practice a good sit/stay while that activity occurs. If he's holding a good sit/stay and getting a nice reward/praise for doing so -- he's learning to perform a behavior you want him to repeat in this scenario in the future.
Impulse Control: If Fluffy is known to chase the cat, your kid or your other dog, every time the they stroll through the room, using a leash to prevent the chase and redirecting him to other activities like "Place" or holding a down/stay helps to break that habit. It give him the ability to make the decision. If he bolts off the couch he still can't reach the cat, and you get a chance to redirect his work. And if he makes the right decision to stay put -- you praise and reward lavishly! Teaching him it's better to stay calm and cool :-)
Door Bolting: if you have a dog with a very high chase/prey drive, they can often get amped up just at the thought of going outside. And they charge out with crazy levels of excitement. This is dangerous if they do this out a door to an unfenced area. I recommend teaching all dogs to sit and wait at street-side doors, but I also do control exits even to fenced areas for dogs with a high chase/prey drive. The need to learn to go outside calmly.
"Get off my couch!" -- many dogs coming into rescue programs may never have been in a house, ever! So getting them familiar with the rules of the house is important. They may jump on the couch, even though you don't want them there. Reaching for the collar can be dangerous if the dog doesn't trust you yet, but a leash can offer you a way to navigate them away from your furniture and redirect to other more appropriate places for them to relax.
"Get off my counters!" - much like the above scenario, many dogs like to jump up to see what you have on the kitchen counter. Having him on leash, again, gives you a way to navigate his feet off the counters without having to reach for the collar and then redirect him to a 4 on the floor position for praise (no treats from the counters -- ever!)
Learning to wear a leash -- many dogs and puppies who have never had the weight of a leash around their neck may suddenly act like they are frozen when you put the leash on them. Supervise so they don't get tangled up or chew on it -- but let them drag the leash around the house throughout the day/evening. Let them eat with it on, take a nap, etc. If they freeze up, let them experience that a little bit -- move across the room and encourage them to come get a treat, play with a toy, etc. The usually forget it's on, and start moving. Thought it may take a while. Once they realize the leash is not so scary after all, they get unfrozen and just go with it :-)
There are many other reasons to consider using a leash indoors for your training needs. Remember to always supervise so that they don't get tangled up or start to chew your best leather leash.
Feel free to share your ideas with us!