Why Does Walking On The Lead Suck?
The leash or lead can be incredibly stressful for a dog. To reduce the level of stress a dog feels when they are being walked on a leash, clarity, training and conditioning must developed.
As humans, we perceive the act of walking approximately 3kms per hour, side by side with our friends, chatting in the sunshine as a positive activity. Nonetheless, we make the assumption that our dogs perceive it in the same way. Dogs naturally travel at a faster past then humans and tend to have a lot more distance around them when they move. For this reason, it is important to condition a dog to using a leash and develop value for staying by your side.
In order to develop value for loose lead walking you have to teach the dog how to do it, irrespective of the type of walking tool that you use. Once the dog understands and has clarity surrounding the activity of loose lead walking, the level of stress that the leash inherently provides begins to dissipate.
Understanding Why Walks Generally Suck
One of the most common difficulties trainers are asked for advice on from pet dog owners is how to achieve a pull free walk. For many dog’s their prior experiences on the collar and lead have led to the belief that pulling = gas pedal; in other words, things get moving and go faster.
The next biggest failing in teaching polite leash manners is the use of footpaths.
When a dog can see a clearly defined path, they will often predict that it indicates where you will be walking, and they surge ahead. The key to getting more focus from your dog is to begin the walk within an open space where you can be less predictable in the way that you move.
If the dog makes an assumption and hits the end of the lead because you have stopped, that is the consequence of the choice they made. They will quickly learn that to avoid self- correcting, and to earn rewards, they need to pay closer attention and change directions with the handler.
Remember, the goal with any new skill is to NEVER go straight to university. For example: If we are teaching a recall, we don’t start out teaching it at the dog beach under high levels of distractions. We want the dog to be set up for success. This same principle applies for walking. Loose lead walking STARTS in your back yard. Heading straight to the street with passing dogs, different smells and a variety of noises is our END goal.
Pay A LOT, be clear with your criteria and understand that a dog that isn’t loose lead walking is just a dog that hasn’t been taught yet.