If you are currently using a slip lead (we did too, once upon a time!) you would want to think twice after reading this (at least we hope so). Slip leads remains a topic of much controversy, in both worlds in dog training and welfare.
What is a slip-lead?
According to the Whole Dog Journal slip leashes are “collars of convenience”. A slip lead is actually a leash and collar combined, made of a length of nylon or leather with a handle at one end and a ring at the other. The leash is pulled through the ring to form a slip collar at one end. his means that, like a choke chain, the collar part can tighten without limit, so there is potential for choking the dog.
Why it got popular?
Due to its popularity with some celebrity trainers, many pet owners or dog “trainers” are advocating the use of slip leashes as a training method and tool. It is used to “correct” dogs by jerking and pulling on the leash whenever they pull or do “bad behaviour”. However, no positive reinforcement force-free trainer would use such outdated and aversive methods.
Can it be damaging?
The function of jerking your dog by the neck or choking your dog, has the same function as a choke chain and can cause trachea and spinal damage. Leash corrections, jerking on the leash, using prong collars, choke collars, slip leashes will only acerbate behavioural issues such as aggression and fear, not stop them, as the pain creates psychological and physical damage to your dog.
The pressure they cause on a dog’s sensitive neck are linked to the following:
- Ear and eye issues – due to the collar restricting the “lymphatic flow to and from the head”
- Malfunction of the nervous system
- Hypothyroidism – it pushes on the throat directly on the thyroid gland, which becomes traumatized, inflamed.
- Behavioural problems- pain is highly linked to behavioural problems. There was a study that aimed to understand aggressive behaviour in dogs found that 400 dogs, 79% of those deemed aggressive had back problems, while 69% of the shy and wary dogs had back problems.
When is the use of slip-lead acceptable?
It is commonly used during rescuing a dog, moving dogs within the shelter or at the vet, it is not recommended for daily walks or training.
What’s your alternative?
A well-fitted harness! Check out our recent post to learn more .
Despite of what some trainers, pet-shop employee, veterinarians, social media might say, there aren’t any good reason to use the slip-lead. Do not use slip-lead for training and on your regular walks. Using such tool and techniques that cause pain or punishment such as jerking/pulling on the leash, are outdated practices. Training using punishment is abusive, inhumane and misused. These practices compromise your dog’s ability to learn by increasing their insecurities, developing long-term and sometimes lasting emotional or physical damage.