Okay I want a show of hands; how many of your dogs go spinning out of control when they see their leash? I thought so. Over the years I've seen so many dogs who just loose it at the sight of their leash in the guardians hands. Sometimes even the meer opening of a closet, the leash closet is all it takes to send your dog into a whirling tornado. This usually starts out small and over the months grows into a huge uncontrolable issue. And why does it grow? Because we fuel it.
Leash desensitizing is one behavior that is very easy to stop. It may take a while and needs commitment, consistency and dedication for the long haul if you want to accomplish the task at hand though. Desensitize: To render insensitive or less sensitive. To make emotionally insensitive or unresponsive. How nice would this be? Imagine picking up your dogs leash and seeing only a slight reaction, maybe raised ears instead of having your dog launch themselves at you? So the goal in desensitizing the leash is to stop the craziness, correct?
Like I said, it's easy. So what do you do? Pick up the leash, at different intervals during the day. In the beginning you put the leash on the floor in a room, leave it there. After a couple days when your dogs stops staring at the leash, kick it when you go by. Once your dog has stopped responding to the kicking, you pick it up and put it back down. Next you will pick up the leash and move it somewhere else, put it on the floor. Perhaps put it on the couch for a couple of days or pick it up and carry it around for 5 min. or so then put it down.
The big secret is the unknown. You are changing the association that your dog has with "the leash." "I might just be moving the leash, or maybe just putting it away." This really helps your dog in the "control" department. Once a leash means walks and only walks; and if your dog LOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSS their walks then it's pretty difficult to calm them. But if the leash movement means lots of different things then your dog is always guessing.
Now here is the icing on the cake; hook your dog up onto their leash and take it off. That's correct; go to your dog, put on the leash and then take it off. Walk away like no big deal. Then put the leash on and let them drag it around for a while, that sure takes the umph out of a leash. What you are doing is taking the almighty power out of the leash. You can even hook them up, walk out the door, and walk right back in taking the leash off and dropping it.
Mix it up, you will be doing your dog and yourself a big favor. Oh and don't get crazy excited about telling them they are going for a walk either.