My dog Lucas is a really great dog. He’s affectionate, playful, a little mischievous at time, but on the overall, a good pooch. His biggest issue, besides stealing shoes from everyone’s closet, is that when he has a leash on and the gate in our yard opens for a walk, he can’t possibly get to where he wants to go fast enough. One of my favorite things to do with a dog is go for a long walk, but Lucas manages to make walking the most unenjoyable part of the day because he pulls the leash so hard that he gives himself a mani/pedi due to scraping his nails across the sidewalk and whoever is walking him a leash burn on their hands.
There are a lot of problems with this. First, there are a lot of people who would employ the “jerk and pull” method, which is probably one of the most dangerous actions a dog owner can perform. There are a few reasons why the jerk method can irreversibly hurt your dog, including physical and psychological injury.
Physical Injury. When jerked by his collar, a choke chain, or a tight leash, a dog’s neck is stationary, which can cause the body and all of it’s weight to whip around and put pressure on the neck. This can lead to dislocated neck bones and damaged voice boxes. Tight collars and leashes constantly pulled can cause bruising and damage to skin tissues in the neck, which can cause scar tissue. The scar tissue builds up, and subsequently, you need to pull your dog harder the next time for him to feel the effect of the jerk method.
Other physical injuries:
- Spinal cord injury
- Partial of complete paralysis
- Bruising of the esophagus
- Crushing of the trachea or the bones in the larynx
- Damage to the vagus nerve, affecting major organs
Psychological Injury. Your dog could become seriously afraid because of a choke collar or tight leash. The choking sensation is similar to that of a stranglehold, which can make the dog feel scared, or rebellious.
Walking Safely. One of the best devices to help your dog not to lunge is a harness. It’s a safer option that puts pressure on the dog’s chest and armpits, not his neck. Though safer than a collar, these harnesses can still cause chafing if the dog lunges. If your dog continues to lunge, immediate training is most likely necessary to assure that your dog stops lunging and putting himself in the position of potential injury on walks.