Loose-leash walking (Days 19-21)

Black lab mix Ace standing on a hill - looks like a black great dane puppy
One of my dog-running clients wanted her dog to socialize and practice walking with another dog, so Ace and I met up with them Saturday. Ace was the perfect match because he is calm and submissive. Of course, the meeting benefited both dogs. It’s always good for Ace to be around other dogs, especially to walk with them.

I had Ace on the Gentle Leader when we first introduced and walked the dogs. He walked very well, totally ignoring the other dog which was what we wanted him to do. After a walk, we let them play in the backyard. It was a positive experience for both dogs. Ace actually played for once (and didn’t just look for a ball to chase). And her dog got to have his muzzle off while being around another dog for the first time in months.

Earlier that day, Ace and I practiced some off-leash heeling in West Fargo’s Elmwood Park. We used to visit this park almost every day when we lived close to it. I always used to let Ace run without a leash and rarely made him heel, so he naturally wanted to run and explore during this trip too.

Re-visiting the park was good mental challenge for Ace because he had to stay by my side. He did very well and did not need a leash except for when we passed a woman walking her tiny white poodle. I put Ace’s leash on mostly to make that woman feel safer. Then for the second half of our walk, I let him run and sniff and just be a dog.

When Ace is “free,” I make sure to randomly call him and sometimes have him heel for a few minutes and sometimes let him go right back to playing. That way coming to me doesn’t always mean I’m going to end the fun.

I like the picture of Ace above at Elmwood because he looks like a great dane pup.

This is day 21 of my 30-day challenge to work with my dog on loose-leash walking every day. Click here to see my other 30-day challenge posts.

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