Rein sensor leash tension measurements in owner-dog dyads navigating a course with distractions

Ineke Rombout van Herwijnen*, Joanne van der Borg, Marc Naguib, Bonne Beerda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Consistent owner-dog interaction patterns such as dog-directed parenting styles could reflect in the leash tension applied when walking a dog. Rein sensors are commonly used to measure tension applied to a horse's bit and our research aim was to evaluate the performance of this methodology for measuring leash tension. We evaluated the consistency of leash tension measurements in owner-dog dyads walking a food-distraction course and a more complex zigzag object-distraction course to confirm our prediction that the more challenging course would trigger increased leash tension. Leash tension sample points were averaged per owner-dog dyad per course, and we used restricted maximum likelihood to analyze leash tensions for effects of course difficulty and dog body weight. In 24 participating owner-dog dyads, leash tension was an average (±standard deviation) 18.29 ± 14.03 newtons. Leash tensions were 1.6 times higher (P < 0.001) during the more challenging second course than during the easier first one and variation between owner-dog dyads was consistent across the two courses (rank correlation of 0.63, P = 0.001, N = 24). Our findings support the usefulness of rein sensors for measuring leash tension, with potential applications in studies on the owner-dog relationship such as how leash exerted levels of control relate to dog-directed parenting styles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-46
JournalJournal of Veterinary Behavior
Early online date30 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • dog
  • dog-owner relationship
  • leash pressure
  • rein sensor


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