In a previous post, we touched on the notion that a dog can "feel" what you are feeling through the leash.
Can you communicate using a leash? Sure you can. It's a tool. You can use it for training a dog. You know, things like heel, down, come and let's go. A leash is also a handy tool to use while walking a dog, it keeps him restrained so he doesn't lunge at other dogs or run into traffic.
What a leash is not, is a magic portal through which a person and a dog commune.
To illustrate. Let's look at a couple of real life examples from a real live dog walker.
First walk is with a sassy self confident Cairn Terrier. As Ms. Walker and Mr. Terrier make their way across the park, a man's voice calls out, "you're late today!" This man lives nearby and often walks his elderly Golden Retriever around the same time of day as Ms. Walker walks Mr. Terrier.
Ms. Walker waves to Nice Man, says something cheerful and keeps walking. Now, if Mr. Terrier could somehow feel Ms. Walker's emotions through the leash, he would not have growled at Nice Man and Elderly Golden.
Next stop: big black mutt's house. Big black Mutt is a gentle fellow who lives sedately with a somewhat excitable woman and several cats. During their walk, Mr. Mutt stops to poop on a patch of grass between the sidewalk and the street. While he is doing his business, Ms. Walker pulls a poop bag out of her back pocket. Meanwhile, a shout is heard. A man runs from the front door of a house to the sidewalk, directly up to Ms. Walker, invading her space.
He yells, "you let your dog take a sh** on people's lawns?!"
Ms. Walker leans closer so as to invade Annoying Man's space. "Yes," she says, indicating the bag in her hand. "Then I pick it up."
"But you let your dog sh** on people's lawns!" Annoying Man repeats.
"Yes," Ms. Walker repeats. "Then I pick it up."
Now, if there was any truth to the notion that dogs can feel through the leash, at this point Mr. Mutt would have walked over to Annoying Man, lifted his leg and emptied his bladder onto Annoying Man's pant leg.