Slip Lead Training

black dog image by Penny Williams from

Slip leads are one of the most common and effective tools used in obedience training for dogs. A basic slip lead is a length of chain or nylon strap that is looped around the dog's neck and tightens when tugged, allowing the handler to correct undesirable behaviour.

The Right Fit

For a slip lead to work properly, it needs to be the correct size for the dog. The collar should be just long enough to slide on easily over the dog's head. If the collar is too short, it will be difficult to put on; if it is too long, it may slip off.

The Proper Position

When putting the collar on the dog, it is important that the loose end (the end that connects to the leash) comes over the top of the dog's neck, not under. When the collar is applied this way, it will release the tension immediately after it is tugged. Ideally the collar should ride high on the neck behind the dog's ears, not down over the shoulders.

The Correction

When using the slip lead, the handler performs a quick, sharp tug on the leash to get the dog's attention or correct a behaviour that is not desired. It is often suggested that this tug mimics the way that a mother dog grabs her puppies behind the neck. It will remind the dog that its focus should be on the handler and that it should not behave a certain way. Slip leads are not meant to be used with constant pressure; "choking" the dog is not an effective training method.