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. Love how you shot this. She is so adorable. I am sure that it will not be long until she never leaves your side, unless of course someone else has treats. – Your friends at DogDaz Zoo

  2. OMD Will, you are seriously bringing sexy back with that fanny pack *BOL*. We LOVE mini-hoomans too, they often have sticky faces and fingers which are grrrreat for licking.
    Wally & Sammy

  3. Zuke’s Minis are a huge favorite here! They’re what I use for photography with the dogs. You might want to sneak a few things in there that are higher value, though, for things that are extra distracting. We have some Indigo Steak Strips that I use when I need to inspire a little extra motivation.

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