Penny on the loose (leash)!

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?27.1

Committed enough to walk outside in public wearing a treat fanny pack!

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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

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How cool do I look with this bad boy at my side!?!?

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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 

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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.

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Instead of training Penny to do what I wanted, I used treats to grab her attention

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Penny always wants treats so she happily sat by my side to get them

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When Penny walked by my side (and especially when she looked up at me) I rewarded her

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Pretty soon she was glued to my hip. Penny couldn’t believe her good fortune

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“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.

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“OHMYGOSH LOOK BEHIND YOU!”

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“Mini-humans! I must go to them!” 

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It wasn’t easy but I did manage to grab Penny’s attention again

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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!

37 thoughts on “Penny on the loose (leash)!”

  1. Very cute!!
    I bought said treat pouch to train my foster dog this way. (My own dog is not a puller except when he REALLY does not want to walk and glues himself to the sidewalk..so I have different problems to work on)
    Anyway, one day I left for work to earn puppy chow for them while my roommate had them lose. They found the pouch (treatless at the time).

    And I found the remains at the end of the day, complete with HAPPY faces and wagging tails.

  2. Thanks Will for sharing your crazy pups with us. It’s a relief to know my Ridgebacks are normal. Neeka (3 1/2) and Khoi (3 months) are almost identical in temperament with yours. And of course, being food driven, Zukes are a staple in our house. (Must get stock in that company.) I’ve found that those and chicken jerky are the only things to disengage their noses when on a scent trail and being in the country, there are a lot of animals crossing their home during the night.

  3. we get excited about where we are going. I still need reminding when I just inch forward before Momwithoutpaws she does the Achk .. I know I have to back up. Woof it is hard

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