Take the Lead
Do you have problems walking your dog(s). Are they pulling you, leading you.....
Can you say the word, "WALK" without your dogs reacting. Can you choose the time that you want to go out, or does your dog decide when its time? Can you put on your walking shoes without your dog reacting.
If you have problems, read on.
To enjoy walking your dog, may take time....but it is achievable. By putting the time in before going out, even your older dog can learn not to pull you. *Walking, any walking should be appropriate to your dog’s age, health and height/weight*.
If you can take the leash out of the draw or off the hook without your dog reacting, then you can ask your dog to come to you, so you can attach the leash. If not, put the leash back. Wait, try again, this may take your dog a few goes, be patient please. If calm as you move the leash around, your dog will be ready. He/she has to earn the right to go out; you are going to shape the behavior that you want inside your home, before you take a single step outside. But shape that behavior in a nice way! A silent way. Just keep putting the leash back until your dog is calm. Take each stage, slowly. This does work!
When the leash is on, can you take a step forward or has your dog gone ahead and left you standing still? Gently bring your dog back next to you, wait, when your dog is calm and looking to you to make the decision, move forward. Stay calm as you work with your dog, he/she will get it. If your dog pulls you forward, stop & gently bring your dog back next to you. By doing this your dog will learn not to pull you before you go out of the door. Preventing a problem. There is no need to correct your dog, just help him/her work out what you want.
Opening your door, does your dog go first? You decide to move forward. Please again, do not correct your dog. Just gently bring your dog back next to you. Wait and try again, this may take your dog some time. That's OK. Every time your dog moves before you do, just gently bring him/her back next to you. Go slowly-don't rush it. Both of you must earn your way out & of course stay calm! This is about you being a good role model for your dog, you are shaping the behavior that you want.
If once out, your dog pulls you to the road, turn around and go back to the door, showing your dog that this is not the way to walk. Wait until they are calm and move forward again. No correction needed. Lead by example calmly, and in control/happy and relaxed. You are showing your dog that you move when you want, you lead the walk. If they pull again, stop and bring them back next to you, and do it gently. Pattern the behavior that you want on the walk, without correcting your dog.
End the pulling and work on getting it right in your home first. When it's 100% right at home and in the back yard/garden, try a walk, but remember who's taking/holding the leash/lead.
This method does work, if you put the work in! Give it a go. By showing your dog how to walk next to you nicely inside, you can both enjoy your time outside.
Exercise can be playing, something that dogs love. Play with your dogs, enjoy spending time together. Play when you want to, if your dog brings a toy to you, who is making the decision to play, Wait until your dog puts the toy down and has settled. Then ask your dog to come to you, and play together. Doing this is shows your dogs that you are the one who makes the decisions. Play on your terms, when you are ready.
Dogs in the wild play, they do not walk. They hunt of course, and to our domestic dogs a walk is a hunt. Make sure that you are “Happy and in Control” before going out with your dog. If the walk does not go well, come home to where it was going well and start again. Work at home first, both you and your friend will then enjoy yourselves. Don't set your friend up to fail by not being ready! Stay calm throughout the training. Slowly earn your way out. Some dogs will never be good on walk, its ok to leave them at home!
Please consider reading the Book, The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell. The book is a wonderful resource for you to refer to, for help with dog's behavior. Go to the library and borrow a copy, no need to spend any money!
East Bay Dog Trainer Louise Pay 925-487-9386
Louise Pay, East Bay Dog Listener