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Monitoring Leashes During Play


When you’ve introduced dogs (see Dog Introduction Methods) and decided to let them play with dropped leashes, handlers must monitor and untangle leashes as needed. Having dogs drag leashes during play can make it easier to interrupt play or break up fights.


After leashes have been dropped, keep a close eye on both the dogs’ body language and on the leashes.


Watch carefully for:

  • any tangling around the dogs’ legs or bodies.

  • dogs’ body language during play. If they show a lot of signs of being relaxed and pro-social, it may be okay to remove leashes altogether. (See What is Normal Dog Play?)

If the leash becomes loosely wrapped around a leg or other body part, or lightly snagged in something in the play area such as furniture or shrubbery, quickly approach from the side and gently disengage the leash from wherever it’s caught. 

  • Be sure that you are approaching from the side, keeping as much distance as possible between your face/hands and the dogs’ mouths. If for some reason you would need to reach between the dogs’ faces to untangle, wait for a safer moment or lure the dog out of play. Avoid untangling near legs/feet if the dog’s assessment for playgroups reveals body handling issues (See Dog Assessment for Playgroups).

  • Untangling early before a leash gets more tangled or snagged will help prevent one dog from becoming “stuck” while the other is loose, and can prevent the two leashes from becoming so tangled that the dogs can’t be quickly separated.


  • Note on the dog's Play Profile Sheet if the dog played dragging a leash, and if the leash could be taken off altogether in future playgroups?

  • Note any issues observed (was the dog bothered by the leash, or picking up the leash and chewing it?)

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