The weather is finally getting warmer! You and Fido have serious cabin fever and you are ready to get out side and start walking in the fresh air and soak in the sun! The problem is everyone has the same idea! So as you and Fido are getting out there for the first time since last fall, you both probably need to brush up on your loose leash walking skills!
First, remember, you (human) are the leader of the walk. Stand tall, Be calm, Be engaged with your dog (No talking on the cell phone!), and Lead the walk! Don’t let Fido drag you from one mailbox post to another. You may need to remind Fido that in order to move forward, he must also remain calm and have no tension on the leash.
If he does put tension on the leash, you should immediately stop, say your negative marker (Eh Eh), then wait!. You wait until Fido steps back to release tension off the leash. At this point say your positive marker (Yes!) and start moving forward again. This tells Fido that he does not get to move forward towards a scent or an object of his desire if he puts any tension on the leash.
When you start out walking this spring, try to walk in areas that are quiet and don’t have a lot of distractions, whether those distractions are other dogs or squirrels or traffic, or other things that get Fido riled up. This will allow you and Fido to get back into the groove of walking and fine tune your walking routine.
But what do you do if you and Fido see an approaching dog and Fido starts barking, jumping, pulling and lunging on the leash? First thing you need to do is REMAIN CALM! Secondly, take note of the distance of the approaching dog when Fido starts to react. This will give you an idea of when you should start implementing the following techniques.
1) ARC – Position yourself between Fido and the approaching dog and start increasing the distance between you and Fido, and the approaching dog by stepping to the side as if you are walking in a half circle around the approach dog. This technique allows you to continue to walk forward, use your body to block, and increase distance between Fido and the other dog. All of these things are
sending a signal to Fido – You are the leader, you are in control, and you are keeping Fido safe!
2) LEAVE IT – Position your body between Fido and the approaching dog and command your dog to LEAVE IT, meaning that they should ignore the on-coming dog. Only use this command if you are confident that Fido knows what LEAVE IT means. If you have not taught your dog the LEAVE IT command, then don’t use this command until you have taught him what it means!
3) STEP INTO & DO 180 DEGREE TURN – This techniques requires you to step into the dog with the leg that is closest to Fido using your leg and body to maneuver Fido into turning and facing the opposite direction of the approaching dog so that you are walking away from the approaching dog.
For more information on these walking techniques, check out Paws N Play’s Loose Leash Walking Class! It provides 4 weeks of nothing but practicing walking with your dog. You and Fido will learn all of these techniques and more! Check out our calendar for the next class, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org