Muddy Mutleys

Dog Training & Behaviour Specialists


dog with slip lead

“As the name suggests, slip leads simply slip over your dog’s neck. They are excellent training tools to help your dog learn to behave while walking on a leash.

They are designed as a loop. One end of the collar is strung through the ring on the other end, all it takes to correct your dog’s behaviour is a slight tug of the leash. The slip collar will tighten, applying pressure to the dog’s neck as he or she tries to pull or strain against the leash. It allows for a method of aversion training designed to teach the dog that his or her behaviour is not acceptable.”


Your dog’s neck, like ours, links all of our important organs to our brain. 

This is an illustration of a dog’s neck thanks to Perfect Fit:

dog anatomy

Pressure on this delicate part of our dog’s anatomy can cause very serious physical and emotional trauma.

Apart from causing them pain and discomfort when they pull, dogs walked on slip leads carry an increased risk of neck injuries and behaviour issues, especially in exciting environments such as a training class, but even a sudden pull towards a hedge to sniff on a walk or to say hello to another dog, has the potential to cause a serious injury.

These neck injuries can include:

Bruising                                                        Whiplash

Headaches                                                  Crushed trachea

Damage to the larynx                            Fractured vertebrae

A neck and spinal cord injury can cause paralysis or neurological problems.

Pulling on the lead has been linked to higher intraocular pressure, which can cause serious injury to dogs already suffering from thin corneas, glaucoma, or eye injuries.

It has also been linked to hypothyroidism as the slip lead rests on the area of the thyroid gland and causes damage.

Lead pulling impinges the nerves supplying the front legs leading to an abnormal sensation in the feet that can present as a dog starts licking its feet. These dogs are often misdiagnosed as having allergies.

A dog’s epidermis is only 3-5 cells thick, in humans it is at least 10-15 cells thick. Excessive pressure can cause damage to the dog’s eyes, larynx and thyroid gland. This is particularly risky for puppies under 6 months, a time during which the cartilage of the trachea is still so delicate.

A dog that feels pain and discomfort on saying hello to another dog, or trying to sniff the environment, for example, is in danger of associating other dogs or other stimuli in the environment with that pain and discomfort resulting in a dog that we would label “reactive” and/or “aggressive” when on lead, “but ok when off lead”.

Studies have shown that when an animal’s in pain he is more likely to react. Anders Hallgren (1992) found that out of a group of 400 dogs, 79% of the aggressive dogs had back problems, while 21% had no back problems. Of the reserved shy dogs, 69% had back problems while 31% had no back issues. This study shows that there is a correlation between physical health and behavioural problems.

What should we use instead…

To fully protect our dog’s delicate necks and to help them feel comfortable and in balance, we should be looking to use a harness. These don’t “make our dogs pull”.  They will pull if they have pain issues in their muscles or joints. They will pull if they have balance issues. They will pull if the environment is such that they are motivated to do so.  However, a harness will protect our dogs if they do.

Find the perfect slip lead for your precious doggie!

Read about what the wagging of your dog’s tail means here!

Confused about why your dog might be behaving a certain way? Contact us now so we can help you!