Living better with dogs – management techniques, part 1: tethering

tetheringBy Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA

If you spend any time at all with dog trainers, you will hear us talk a lot about management. There are a lot of ways to manage your dog and help prevent bad behavior. In this post,  I am going to discuss tethering.

Tethering is one of my favorite forms of management. All you need is a leash and a heavy piece of furniture or a door. To tether, take the handle of the leash and loop it under the leg of your chosen piece of heavy furniture (make sure the furniture piece you choose cannot fall on top of your dog, doesn’t have a bunch of objects that can fall on your dog, and won’t move if your dog pulls on it). Then you attached the clip to your dog’s collar.

Voila! Your dog is now tethered and can only move as far as the leash allows. Just remember to never leave a tethered dog alone. If you have a dog who likes to chew through the leash, I’ve got a fix for that – check out the VirChewLy Indestructible Leash. It just gives you one less thing to worry about.

So now, let’s talk about ways you can use this handy new form of management.

  • Potty training: The mantra for potty training is constant supervision. If your puppy is in your vision, they won’t be able to go find a corner to pee in without you seeing. Tethering is a great way to have your puppy hang out with the family, but it doesn’t give them the freedom to walk around your house and risk peeing somewhere they shouldn’t. I like to have different tethering stations around the house: one in the kitchen, one in the living room, the master bedroom, etc. – pretty much anywhere your dog is going to be hanging out with you. If you move from room to room quickly, you can tether your dog to your body. Again, the idea is keep them in your eyesight so you can start to see when they need to go out.
  • Supervision: Besides keeping an eye out for when your new puppy needs to potty, tethering is a great way to keep your puppy out of mischief. This is especially nice if your puppy is in the chewing stage and chews on everything. Tethering allows you choose where puppy can hang out. I recommend setting up a tether next to their bed. This way they have a nice comfy place to hang out and you can give them proper things to chew on, such as Kongs and bully sticks.
  • Guests: If you are going to be having guests over and the front door is going to be opening a lot, it’s nice not having to worry about your dog running out. This is especially helpful for those of you who have escape artists or don’t have a good recall. Tether your dog to a low foot traffic area, give your dog something to chew on, and enjoy the fact that you don’t have to worry about where he/she is. Once everybody is in the house and your dog is calm, you can then undo the tether and allow him/her to greet visitors.
  • Meal time: If you have a counter surfer or a dog that always like to be underfoot when you are cooking, tethering is a great way to control those behaviors. I recommend having a tether station in or near your kitchen. You might want to put it near a rug so your dog has a comfy place to lay and give them something to chew on. This way, they feel a part of things, but they won’t be causing any trouble. It’s nice not having to worry about your expensive and delicious t-bone steak being stolen, isn’t it?
  • Baby time: One way that I have found tethering to be extremely helpful is when I am feeding one of my children on the couch. If you have a dog that has always been allowed on the couch but has been banned during feeding times, this can be very confusing and problematic. Instead of stressing out about your dog jumping up on the couch and constantly telling her “off”, set up a tethering station in the living room. Your dog can hang out in her bed with a nice Kong filled with her favorite treat, and you no longer have the stress of her jumping up randomly. This is also very helpful for tummy time.

Give tethering a try. It really does make life with a dog easier!

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Erin with bailey

Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA and owner of Touch Dog Trainingis a certified professional dog trainer who employs positive reinforcement behavior modification techniques intended to deliver results while building stronger bonds between dogs and their owners. Erin practiced her craft in Chicago for many years as a Senior Trainer for AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior. There she taught dog training classes and also conducted private, in-home lessons with pets and their owners. In March 2015, Erin relocated to Colorado and is excited to share her knowledge and expertise with dog owners in the Denver/Boulder metro area.

This post was originally published on the AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior blog.

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