As the brilliant Steven Tyler says “Walk This Way!” And I have to agree. I also agree with what my mom the rockin’ certified professional dog trainer says. Mom teaches this stuff in her dog training classes and loose leash walking workshops. She also has some great tips on loose leash walking on her own dog training tips blog, but I thought I’d add to it since I’m the one at the other end of the leash:
- Divide the lessons into simple steps: Think baby steps! Short and steady wins the race! Too much too soon can lead to failure and frustration, for both the guardian and the dog.
- 3-D training: Separate each parameter of Distance, Duration and Distractions – increasing only one “D” at a time, and either lowering the other two or keeping them at the same level.
- Kindergarten – College: Start out practicing in your home, then move it to the yard, then the street (that’s part of the distractions segment)
- If you have more than one dog, teach one at a time, then put them together (again, distractions)
- Walk your dog with user friendly equipment that makes it easier for us, and not correction based. Mom LOVES the Easy-Walk or Sensation harnesses. Both of these items have an attachment for the leash on the front of the chest. Both help to decrease pulling (I hardly ever pull when I wear mine, and usually only when my nemesis E.J. Harrison is around…). Plus, they’re comfy, without pressure on my neck or face….aahhh. Mom sells the Easy-Walk harnesses at our dog training studio in Ventura – makes them easily available for students.