Hello there. Hope you’re all doing well and keeping positive. After 13 days your household should have settled into the new routine with your dogs enjoying having you around more. Spending quality time with them whether you’re doing some training or playing games does not have to take up a lot of time. Two brief 5 or 10-minute sessions a day will keep them stimulated and satisfied. Make the training sessions worthwhile by doing a bit of planning beforehand instead of just diving in and wasting 5 minutes trying to decide what to do. Read this article on planning your training sessions here.
SHAPING WITH A CLICKER (SEE DAY 12 OF THE CHALLENGES FOR MORE ABOUT TRAINING WITH A MARKER/CLICKER HERE)
Before I start on our next topic which is Loose Lead Walking I’d like to share with you shaping Bo to go around an obstacle which I did late yesterday afternoon. I have used a clicker as a marker (bridge). It’s not very loud in the video but you can hear it at times. Enjoy.
LOOSE LEAD WALKING – STEP ONE
Walking your dog on a loose leash is probably one of the most difficult skills to master, but if you consistently work through the steps it will become a habit and the walks will be more pleasant for both of you. I know that one of the things that most dog owners are missing is the daily walk with your dog. Or, perhaps you don’t walk your dog regularly because he or she pulls ahead of you. Very uncomfortable for both of you, and potentially physically damaging for both your dog and yourself. Now, with lockdown you can practise the first few steps without the distractions that you would normally encounter on your walks until, for both of you, loose lead walking is a habit.
Training Tip: Stay on each step until you and your dog become fluent in that step before you move to the next.
Start the exercise in a low-distraction environment and gradually start adding distractions and generalize to different environments. I have spread the tutorials over the next 8 days with each step to be done over two sessions (one session of loose lead walking a day).
Step One: The dog will focus on you and follow you when you’re walking backwards and will stay with you when you change direction. Stay on Step One for two or three sessions until your dog is paying attention to you even though you are changing direction. You can every now and then have some surprise changes of pace and direction.
I’ll be working on these exercises with Bo and if I feel that I’m moving too quickly through the steps I’ll slow the pace down.
If your pup does not understand about leashes yet, go slowly. Put the collar on and play a game with him to take his mind off it. When he’s comfortable with the collar, clip the leash to it and let him drag it around for a while (supervised, of course). Distract him by feeding him or playing a game with him.
When he is comfortable with the leash, put a very small bit of pressure on it. Not enough to scare him or make him try to get away, but just enough so that he knows it’s there. Then, either call him, show him a toy or lure him with a treat held out to him. When he starts moving towards you, he will realise that HE can release the pressure by moving WITH the leash towards you. Mark and treat as soon as the leash becomes slack. Be careful to keep your hand holding the leash quite still. Do not pull the puppy towards you.
I hope you have fun with this lesson. If you hit any snags, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me via our Facebook Group
Until tomorrow – STAY SAFE.