On occasion I see dogs that I have worked with and some are doing really well and some are back to their old behavior; jumping, barking, leash pulling. What is the difference? Is it the dog or the owner? It’s the owner. Dog training must occur throughout the dog’s life. If you give an inch they will take a mile.
Dog training is not only when you are practicing, when you are taking lessons or only when you are in group class. Your dog should walk on a loose leash all the time. When we train dogs, we teach them to have a lose all the time. If you don’t stay on the dog and be consistent the dog will start pulling again.
People are always impressed with the progress we can make in a two week board and train. How do we do it? It’s not magic it is called consistency. The dog never goes through a door first, we do. The dog never pulls on the leash because we interrupt that behavior. We teach the quiet command. The dog no longer lunges at strange dogs because there are consequences for that kind of behavior. They learn good things happen when they perform tasks our way. Do it right and you get a treat or play?
When we work with new families we go over the rules for training at our facility. We require you walk through the entrance first and the dog follows on a loose leash. When I see an owner being dragged by the dog when they enter, we go back outdoors and in again making sure the dog has a loose leash. I like the dog’s enthusiasm for training but he/she needs to follow the rules, all of the Time.
People are impressed with the control I have with my dog Titus. I don’t need a leash while he heels, downs, comes, place, and retrieves as a happy go lucky dog. It’s not rocket science, its consistency. I use balls, food, and consequences. Heel too wide and I tap him, “here not there”. When I tell him down, tap him if he’s not paying attention. Tap, tap, tap just like when you are not listening to your son/daughter who wants to tell you a story and you are not giving them attention. They tap, tap tap on your shoulder, saying “Daddy, I was telling you about…..” It’s the same thing; if your dog is not listening or ignoring you tap them on the neck as you say their name.
We all have busy lives’ but we need consistency with our dogs as with our children. Dog training and raising children really isn’t that different. If your child is running towards the road and not listening you quickly run grab them by the arm and stop them from running into the road. You say, “Don’t run from Daddy and do not go into the road”. It’s the same thing with dog training. If your dog doesn’t listen, you must take them and help them to understand. If its sit and they don’t sit, push their butt down. If they don’t come when called use a long leash and real them in. Come means come not run away from me. Dogs should obey all of the time not just when you have treats in your hand. I start all dogs off with food, but as they mature they must learn to obey all the time, food or not. It’s all about persistence and consistency. That is what is needed for a well behaved loose leash walking dog.