Mama Sally: One of the big issues I work with on a daily basis is teaching dogs to walk nicely on a leash with their owners. Leash walking is so hard for dogs. It really is! They have four feet and we have two. They are much faster than we are, and when we walk at a snail’s pace and saunter through our walk, it’s no wonder dogs are pulling!!
Keep in mind that your dog’s whole world is typically his house and yard. That’s a small world. Most dogs I train get walked a couple of times a day, but for probably twenty to thirty minutes each time. And then it’s back to that same home and yard. What a boring day for a dog….except for maybe an hour where they get to see something new!
Think about that! Dogs often really don’t go anywhere much, because it’s often such a hassle that they get left home. And when that happens, they just don’t have much to really stimulate them. Dogs love to go on their daily walks. They really do! It’s a chance to see new things….maybe people, dogs, bunnies, kitties, squirrels, yard guys….kids….many new experiences, that are fun for them!
A dog will naturally be excited when he gets out for a walk, because it’s generally stimulation overload! Sights….sounds….smells!! Remember that we tune out a lot of things that we see every day, and it doesn’t even register as something in our minds. But to a dog….everything that they see is something new….and exciting…and to be explored!
I always start by just teaching a dog to follow the leader…inside your house, always on a loose leash…because there isn’t as much to stimulate them and they can focus a whole lot easier. I just zig and zag through the house, with my pooch on a leash tagging along, following the leader. When the dog looks up at me, I drop a kibble of food in their mouth and say, “Good boy” or “Good girl” with a happy, excited voice.
I try to get the habit established in the house, because once you start to add distractions….focus on the leader goes right out the window! Add distractions carefully, and slowly, so that your dog can keep up with you. Try the back yard, where most dogs are comfortable and relaxed. They see that scenery every day, so they’ll be less reactive…especially if the neighbors aren’t out! You can try the driveway and right in front of your house as well….baby steps. Before long, you’ll be able to try longer walks, as your dog masters a loose leash at each step along the way.
Rugby James: Uprights just forgets that doggers spend their whole lives waiting for sumping: suppers, play, training, their Uprights to come home from work…all kindsa stuff. And it’s easy to get really bored when life is the same fing all of the time. The Mama has her hands full trying to keep me from getting bored on account of I can’t really go very many places very often.
But when I getsa have a outing, oh BOY!!! It’s the bestest fing EVER in the whole world!! When the weathers is cool, the Mama lets me go for rides in the car wif her if she’s running a few errands, and that’s purty fun too!
But because I can’t go very many places, the Mama works me in the yard and the driveway, on account of I can see a lil bit of distractions, but not too much, and since we’re right at home, I can get right back inside if I really needs to if a really big distraction comes along.
To work on help wif distractions, the Mama and me works on lotsa “leave it” and “watch me” when we are outside in the driveway. Sumtimes I getsa look around, and sumtimes I just gotsa look at the Mama and not the fun stuff. She always gives me a really good Salmon bite when we works outside wif distractions. When we do stuff inside the house, I gets kibbles on account of it’s not very hard work.
If the Mama goes too fast and I can’t focus or I pull on the leash, she gives me a tug and turns around or stops walking. That always makes me curious, sos I comes back to see what’s going on, and when I do that, I getsa nibble and we start again. If I doesn’t respond well to corrections, she takes me back to a working spot where I didn’t pull and we try it again. Mostly I pulls on account of I gets really anxious outside, so the Mama is always working to train in an environment what’s predictable and safe for me. That gets really hard when we get outside, so we just work in lil baby steps sos I can sort it out and come along.
Good luck and remember….it all takes time to figure out, so don’t give up!!!