A critical element to re-educating a dog and handler about walking on the leash is achieving and maintaining balance. One of the most effective ways to do this is by leading a dog with Two Points of Contact.
Tellington TTouch has been using the concept of leading with Two Points of Contact since the early 1990s. Today, many companies manufacture double ended leashes and harnesses with front and back hardware.
As explained in earlier chapters, leading a dog with Two Points of Contact provides the handler with influence over the dog’s feet and body which is not possible with a single point of contact. A leash with a light snap on either end is ideal for leading with two points of contact. Placing one end on a ring at the chest and the other as far forward on the back as possible will give the handler the optimal position to re-balance and support a dog who tends to pull on the leash.
With Two Points of Contact the handler can use each end independently so that they can help to shift the dog’s weight up and back towards the hind quarters without tightening the dog through the neck, back and shoulders.
Unlike only one point of contact, control or influence is not dependent on pulling back or turning the dog towards you. With a chest and back attachment, the handler can help contain the dog’s movement without sacrificing balance or putting the dog into an awkward, potentially detrimental long term, posture.
Being in self-carriage allows an animal to better adapt to new stimuli, physical or mental. Having self-carriage implies that the animal tends to have a functional, bio-mechanically correct posture that enables movement and reaction without requiring large adjustments of balance or prolonged moments in reflex.
A dog that is very unbalanced physically, mentally, and/or emotionally will tend to be out of balance in all of these areas. This is well displayed in many dogs that are ‘’dog reactive” on leash. Often these same dogs are not at all “dog reactive” when off leash, which suggests that it is the confinement of the leash that triggers this response.