Leash tension, which is what we call the tightness of the leash when your dog pulls on it, is generally considered bad. It means your dog is pulling. Some people believe you should never let there be any tension on the leash because your pup will get used to it and just think that's what a walk is: them going as fast as they want while some mysterious force tries to pull them backwards.

While we understand that logic, and even use some of that logic in designing our "Be a Tree" and "Speed Bumps" games, we also know avoiding leash tension is an insufficient technique. If your pup already pulls on the leash, it's hard to avoid it altogether as you're helping him learn to walk like a champ.

So what's a pup parent to do?

Flip the leash tension on its head.

What if your dog learned that every time he felt a mysterious force pulling him backwards, he should slow down or turn around because he's going to get a delicious treat?

In other words, what if the leash tension became a cue that told your dog to come in your direction?

Sounds great, right?

So that's how we try to approach leash tension at Harper. Try to avoid it in the first place, but when you inevitably encounter a scenario when you can't, make sure the leash tension means "come back to me" and not "pull harder."

If that sounds like something you might be interested in, then make sure to check out the game "Leash Pressure Cue."