The Balance Leash
It is a simple and easy to use technique and has the versatility to be used on the fly with virtually any type of leash or harness/collar configuration.
The Balance Leash is a fantastic tool for shelter workers or for any situation when you are unable to use a harness and two points of contact. It can come in handy if your dog regularly walks on a loose leash but occasionally needs help coming back into balance.
If your dog regularly needs help walking in balance, it is advised to use one of the other options such as our Harmony Harness Success Set.
It is simple and a very effective means to stop pulling and help bring a dog into balance. It is a great way to take pressure off of the neck and re-balance a pulling or reactive dog when you do not have any extra tools available.
You can use nearly any 6’-8’ leash (depending on the height of the person and the dog) with this technique to influence a dog’s balance.
Stop the dog and maintain contact on the collar to prevent the dog from moving forward while you move up the leash, gathering a loop or two in your hand, so you are standing near the dog’s collar. Transfer the leash into the hand furthest away from the dog.
Put the back of your hand nearest the dog on the side of your thigh. Bring your hand under the leash and grasp it. As you turn your hand you will see that this directs the remainder of the leash toward the opposite side of the dog.
Take the hand with the remainder of the leash and drop the loop(s) on the opposite side of the dog from where you are standing. This hand will now just be holding the end of the leash.
Exhale while you bring the leash across the front of the dog. Remember to stand in balance, not leaning or reaching forward. Position the leash across the middle of the dog’s chest.
Adjust the location of the hand near the collar to take the pressure off the collar yet close enough to allow you to pick up the connection if you want to use it to ask the dog to move.
Your hips will be turned slightly toward the dog in order to be in a comfortable, balanced position.
If the leash is very long, you may need to pick up a loop with your outside hand in order to re-balance the dog and remain in position near the collar.
If your dog pulls use a “Meet & Melt” (ask and slowly release) signal with the line across the chest in a slightly upward fashion.
Take care not to draw the lead upward onto the throat. Ideally the signal is across the sternum and top of the point of the shoulder (think of gently lifting horse reins with both hands.
The Balance Leash is especially effective on medium to large sized dogs.
If your dog pulls occasionally, in especially arousing situations for example, the Balance Leash may be an ideal tool to use in a pinch to help your dog relax and come back into balance.
Once you are practiced with this technique you can bridge the leash and use with one hand.
If you have dogs who are smaller in stature, you will variation find the “Balance Leash Plus” to be more useful.
This variation on the Balance Leash was developed for smaller dogs or for those dogs that back out of the Balance Leash.
The Balance Leash Plus creates the same re-balancing signal as the Balance Leash, but has added stability.
Standing as you would for the regular Balance Leash, take the leash behind your dog’s opposite elbow and up in between the front legs.
You can either use it like this or bring the end of the leash up through the dog’s collar at the front which helps “lock” the leash into place so it does not slide laterally. This also helps keep the leash from slipping up or the dog from turning out of it, especially with smaller animals.
Being mindful of keeping pressure off of a dogs collar helps reduce pulling and is physically healthier. To learn more about positive, low-stress techniques for walking your dog on leash, check out “Harnessing Your Dog’s Perfection” by Robyn Hood and Mandy Pretty or check out one of many Online Course options, including our FREE course on “Loose Leash Walking“.
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