Wednesday, October 30, 2013



With all the stimulation of the outside world, walks are often the hardest to 'perfect' with your dog. Lots of the time it seems like your dog is walking you, but with a few little tricks, some yummy treats, and lots of patience, walking your dog can become more enjoyable and a lot easier.
First, you need to have a goal in mind. Do you want your dog to loose leash walk? Stay by your side in a strict heal? Be able to walk off leash? Or just not pull your arm off every time you step outside?
Then you need to find a training technique that works with you, and stick with it till the end. I am going to write about loose leash walking since it is one of the most popular ways to walk your dog.

Loose leash walking


Loose leash walking is when, as the name implies, the leash is loose at all times. The dog can be ahead or behind, as long as they are not pulling. Loose leash walking can be achieved in many ways, such as: clicker and treats, a spoon with peanut butter on it, a prong collar, switch backs, attention getters and so much more. Creativity is important, try a few techniques out and do what works for you, you may even combine a few techniques or make up your own. I'll explain a few that I have used, and how they have worked for me.

With the clicker and treats, you have to be more interesting than all the smells and sights going on around you. As always, start off in a low distraction environment like your back yard. Walk with your dog a few steps, luring him to stay by your side with a treat. Click and treat every few steps. After a few sessions of this, stop luring and hold the treat out of reach and increase the time in between rewards every session. After a few sessions of this. keep the treat out of sight and wait to reward until your dog looks at you.
 If at any time your gets ahead of you you can do one of many things; make an attention getting noise, stop in your tracks and wait, or turn in the opposite direction. Whichever you choose, click and treat as soon as your dog looks at you.
Over time slowly increase the distractions around you, and the time between rewards.

The switch back is when you turn around and go in the opposite direction you were going in before every time your dog rushes ahead of you or pulls. This works with some dogs, but not with others. It basically teaches your dog that pulling will get him the opposite of what he wants, which is to go forward. Sometimes it may feel like you are making more progress backward than you are forward, but with persistence and maybe a few other techniques used in assistance, this technique can work.

One other technique that I will mention is the attention getter. This is simply doing something, anything, to gain your dogs attention when they rush ahead, and rewarding them when they focus on you. You can use noises, treats, toys, or anything else you can think of. Just make sure you are rewarding your dog for rushing ahead of you, only reward him when he is focusing on you and doing what you want him to be doing.

1 comment:

  1. My dog is pretty good as a loose leash walker -- except when the squirrels taunt him... Thanks for the advice herein.