One of my biggest missteps with Eko was how long it took us to finally get comfortable with loose leash walking. There are few things more frustrating than a dog dragging you down the street so I’ve made it my mission to devote time each day to loose leash training with Penny. How committed am I to the cause?
Committed enough to walk outside in public wearing a treat fanny pack!
But seriously, treat training pouches are awesome for training on the go. I like putting the treats in a prescription-type bottle that sits in the bag. It keeps the bag clean and I can cap the treats to keep them fresh. These Zuke’s minis are my go-to training treat of choice
How cool do I look with this bad boy at my side!?!?
And look who also showed up at my side when I put on the bag. I’m guessing it was for the treats and not my sartorial sensibilities
This is “Exhibit A” in terms of what we want to avoid
In the past I worked with Penny without treats. When she pulled I would immediately stop and/or change directions. While we made some progress, I felt Penny didn’t grasp that I wanted her by my side.
Instead of training Penny to do what I wanted, I used treats to grab her attention
Penny always wants treats so she happily sat by my side to get them
When Penny walked by my side (and especially when she looked up at me) I rewarded her
Pretty soon she was glued to my hip. Penny couldn’t believe her good fortune
“All I have to do is stay next to him and this chump keeps giving me treats! Too easy.”
With my nifty treat pouch I can easily and consistently reward Penny at the exact moment I need to. And positive reinforcement with treats has yielded much better results than just positive reinforcement alone. Penny now walks by my side because she wants to.
So there I was feeling snazzy in my treat pouch with Penny walking politely by my side when I got a nice ego check.
“OHMYGOSH LOOK BEHIND YOU!”
“Mini-humans! I must go to them!”
It wasn’t easy but I did manage to grab Penny’s attention again
Still lots of work to do, but we’re making progress
The key to getting Penny to walk on a loose leash? It’s the same key to getting to Carnegie Hall. Practice, practice, practice!