Tethers can be a useful training item, just like crates (when appropriately used). They are handy because they can moved from room to room more easily than a large crate can be and they take up hardly any storage space. How can they be used and when?
When to use a Tether
Tethers are great for teaching dogs to settle and for keeping them out of trouble. Young dogs or newly acquired can often get themselves into trouble by venturing into areas where they are prohibited, chewing on items they aren’t allowed to have or relieving themselves indoors. By keeping your pooch on a tether when you aren’t available to supervise, you can keep your dog safe and your belongings in-tact. Tethers also come in useful for when guests arrive. Your dog is kept from greeting inappropriately and your guests are allowed the chance to make it through the door safely. Then training can begin; guests can be instructed to ignore the jumping, overly excited dog and only give attention to the dog when he contains himself. Quickly the dog will learn that the only way to get guests to approach and give attention is to remain with all four feet on the floor!
How to Make a Tether
Tethers can be purchased, but are also easy to make yourself for a low cost. I create tethers out of 1/4″ coated cable, a few fasteners and some snaps (see pictures below). Tethers ranging in length from four to six feet seem to be the most convenient and useful. I typically attach the tether to a sturdy piece of furniture or I will screw an eye-hole screw into a stud in wall and attach it to there. I then supply my dog with a comfortable spot to lay down and some chew toys and/or enrichment toys. I typically do not leave my dog on tethers for extended periods of time, nor do I leave the house with them attached it. In the beginning, I will mark the behavior (e.g. Click or YES) and treat the dog whenever they are calmly laying on their bed or engaged in chewing/interacting with something appropriate. Gradually, as the dog learns how to settle in the house and how to entertain themselves with appropriate items, the tether will no longer be needed.