Hey Mighty Paw fam, Barbara here to talk to you about how to use a slip lead to stop pulling!
For anyone not familiar with a slip lead, I'll first provide a quick overview of what it is followed by more in-depth information on how to properly use it with your pup.
This includes the correct way of slipping it on, keeping it in place and walking your pup on it!
How to Use A Slip Lead to Stop Pulling
What's A Slip Lead Leash?
A Slip Lead is a dog training leash with a built-in collar loop and a stopper. That means you don't have to clip the leash to a separate collar. The leash is usually made of rope and 6' long. You've probably seen it at some point either at:
- Your vet's
- A shelter
- A dog show
It's an effective training tool for all size dogs because the adjustable collar loop is a one-size-fits-all. That's why it's so popular at vet offices and shelters!
Our Mighty Paw Slip Lead is 6' long, bright orange and made using 1/2" climbers' rope that's both durable and weather-resistant. We refer to it as our Mighty Paw Slip Rope Leash.
The rope is smooth, allowing it to slip into place easily when your pup is wearing the leash. The reflective stitching keeps your pup safe and visible in low light (see video clip below).
The way the slip leash works is it tightens when your dog pulls. That provides a cue that lets them know to stop pulling.
In the video below, I used it on a nighttime walk with my pup Wally and combined it with one of our walking harnesses and LED dog necklace for ultimate visibility purposes!
That said, you don't need to use it with any of those. It's designed to be used on its own if that's what you prefer.
How to Put A Slip Lead On Your Dog
As the name suggests, you slip the lead over your dog's head. To do this, open the loop wide enough for your dog's head to fit through.
That's the beauty about this type of leash - it works for a 120lb Newfoundland just as well as it does for a 35 lb Feist mix!
Which way does a slip lead go on?
If you're walking your dog on the left, hold the slip lead so that it forms the letter P when sliding it on.
If you're walking your dog on the right, hold the slip lead so that it forms an inverted letter P/a 9 when sliding it on.
Proper slip lead placement
Unlike your regular flat collar that sits at the base of the neck, the slip lead loop should sit as high as possible on your dog's neck. Ideally, right at the top of your dog's neck, behind the ears.
That's where you're going to have the most control over your dog's entire body, so this position is crucial for your successful slip leash dog training.
When you keep it around your dog's throat, they're going to choke themselves, so please don't do that!
How do you get the slip lead to stay in place?
Next, secure the position of the slip lead with the stopper. To do this, simply slide the stopper where you want the collar loop to sit. It should be tight but still have enough wiggle room for you to slide a finger or two underneath.
If the slip lead keeps sliding down, it's because you're letting your dog walk too far ahead of you while pulling you. Instead, you'll want to walk your dog without tension on the leash. This will prevent the slip lead from sliding down.
Which brings me to the next question:
How do you hold the slip lead to stop pulling?
First things first: Don't keep constant tension on the leash. That's only going to encourage your dog to pull more.
Instead, incorporate directional changes on your walks to keep a loose leash and teach your dog to pay attention to you. You can also walk figure 8s!
So when your dog starts to walk ahead to the point where tension will be on the leash, turn around and walk in the opposite direction!
Here's how to do that:
- Give a quick tug with the slip lead.
- Get your dog's attention - Cooper, this way!
- Then turn around and walk the other way.
The neck pressure he'll feel when you start walking in the opposite direction will convey the message that he needs to follow your lead and ultimately check in with you. He can't do that when he's pulling ahead of you, so he'll soon get the concept of NOT doing that.
Repeat frequently while you're working on your pup's polite leash walking skills. For starters, you could practice in your yard. If you don't have one, find an area that's not overly busy so your dog has an easier time concentrating on you. If you have a long hallway, you can practice there as well!
It's totally fine if you don't get very far on your first few practice walks! Really focus on getting your dog to pay attention to you and to look at you. If you have to change direction 50 times in order to convey that, do it!
Recommended Add On: Dog Treat Pouch
If your dog is food motivated, you can also use food rewards to let him know you're pleased with his behavior. Our dog treat pouches are perfect to hold treats (as well as keys, your phone, poop bags etc) on your training walks.
That said, I would work on getting your pup to look at you for direction - literally! - without food rewards first.
Make yourself interesting and really use your best happy, upbeat tone of voice to get him to follow you and turn around with you. That way, you're not bribing him into following you. Instead, you're strengthening the invisible bond between the two of you.
Once he starts to get that concept, you can layer on treat rewards! Good boy, Cooper!
How NOT to Use A Slip Lead
Some people use the slip lead leash as a head collar. That's a type of training device that's typically used in combination with a regular leash.
We don't recommend turning a slip leash into a head collar simply because it's not made for it. The rope is too thick and will cause chafing on your dog's face and muzzle.
Also, just as another reminder, don't place the slip lead around your dog's trachea!