I'm sure this photo speaks to you in many ways. Maybe this is you on a regular basis as your dog pulls you along.
Maybe you are on the receiving end of this photo and you just wish your dog wouldn't worry about other dogs charging at you. Let's look at how we can help both types of dogs while out walking on leash.
Many of you have worked through or are working through the Foundations Course with your dogs building those leash skills.
I'm going to give you 5 exercises to play with your dog to transform your leash walking. Each newsletter will give you a new step so let's get started today!
The first exercise is to decide what loose leash walking looks like to you.
Position of your dog? on your left, right, or in front?
Is there sniffing?
Tension on leash?
Where is their focus?
Does this depend on environment/distractions?
What does his body language look like?
How are his ears, eyes, mouth, and posture?
What tool do you ultimately want? Collar, HH, harness?
Once you know what you want, then you can start shaping that behavior.
While you are defining loose leash walking or being calm on leash for you and your family, let's start with an exercise to get going.
Anytime your dog checks in with you on leash; mark and treat. Start in low distraction areas and slowly move to higher after success. This is very simple, don't overthink this. The more you reinforce checking in with you, the more you'll get their attention. Notice how informal I am with Cole as we work on "can you focus on me?" I'm not asking, just waiting. We are in environments I know he can offer without prompts/cues from me and without too much time in between each success.
Keep your pockets full of good cookies and have fun building this skill!