Why I Use a Tie-Down for Training
1. To keep my dog and home safe from unsupervised puppy perils (such as potty accidents or destruction), while I am working or doing something that doesn't allow me to pay 100% attention to my dog's every movement.
Letting a puppy that is not house trained run free is the fastest way to a potty accident. Nobody enjoys stepping in a pee puddle...or worse. If my puppy is not in their crate or pen and I can't focus on what they are up to, then using a tie-down can help keep them from getting into trouble (eg knocking something over, eating something dangerous, or destroying something expensive) and minimize the likelihood of a potty problem, as they are not likely to go while on this short line.
Similarly, if I have a dog that is new to me and I'm unsure of how it will behave in my home or office, then I can use a tie-down for the periods where I have to focus on some work or take my eyes off the dog for a bit. Especially if it's not my dog, I don't want them getting into something that could hurt them.
2. To teach my dog to hang out in one spot, so they are used to it when they have to lay under a table at a coffee shop or at my desk in the office. It's okay to just sleep or chew on a bone sometimes, even if things are happening around us.
This is a behavior that is important for assistance animals but I think in a companion pet too, because having a dog constantly pacing, needing interaction or generally unable to hang out is a challenge. Dogs don't go from buzzing around all of the time to instantly loving the tie-down, but with a little practice, I've watched anxious, active, barking dogs be able to relax in a place even when they're no longer attached to it.
3. To prevent them from harassing another dog (or you), by clipping them to something without expressing any negative emotion, and giving them (and you) the chance to calm down.
I wish I had perfect patience for every situation, but there are times when I'm already at capacity and my dog starts to pester me repeatedly. (Does anyone else's dog chomp wildly on a bone near your hand and accidentally catches your skin?) Taking a deep breath and calmly walking them over and clipping them to the tie-down gives us each a moment to reset.
Or, say your friend and their dog is visiting, and your dog is being a bit too rambunctious and bothering your friend's dog. You could use the tie-down to create some space for them. (I don't like to use the crate as a means of separation as it may be seen negatively by my dog and I want to make sure that it remains his safe place.)
I spent two weeks house and dog sitting 3 dogs that were initially zooming around the house, jumping up like rockets, and wrestling without regard for the objects around them. After using tie-downs for periods of time, the dogs mellowed out and were able to hang out too. They still played, just a little more politely, as we established a new expectation of inside behavior.
It's possible (maybe even likely) that your pup could decide to chew on the tie-down, so
1. the metal is a lot harder to get through, and 2. these cost less to replace than my nice leather leashes.
Start with shorter periods of time (5-10 minutes) and connect the tie down to a heavy desk, something bolted into the wall or my new fave, a kettlebell on its side.
The video above goes into this a bit more, or if you're ready to get support with your training, join the club and get started with our online courses and community today!