When Chico and I were in Washington most of our walks were on a leash, in places where there was a TON of new information to be gathered by a canine nose and I realized that my dog is not good on-leash. I was dragged over to posts, and pulled towards other dogs, it was impossible to just walk, it was rush or dawdle, rush or dawdle and I didn’t like it.
If I have a treat in my hand, Chico will trot right by my side, sniffling and licking at my hand to get the cookie, but that’s not really walking calmly by my side. I’m luring him to engage in the behavior, he’s not really doing it because he believes that right by my side is the best place to be. I was going to ask Julie for some advice on how to do this, then I happened to watch this video:
This trainer seems to be thinking the same way Julie does – make the desired behavior into a clicker game. Create a game where the dog starts to tune into the handler, to look to her for guidance. Since many of our walks are off leash this behavior isn’t always necessary, I’ll have to add a release to our routine so he knows when he is free to go run and sniff, but I think that’ll be pretty straightforward. I think that this is a completely reasonable technique, and I’m going to try it. We’ll start inside, with no distractions, today, since it is about 2 degrees outside.
Great blog, Annie! I wish I was a dog person. Maybe in my next life?