Loose-leash walking: Days 22-25

Ace the black lab mix sitting in leaves at Elmwood Park West Fargo

Ace has made great progress with loose-leash walking over the last 25 days. Here are some changes I’ve noticed with his heeling:

– When I tell Ace “OK!” he chooses to walk at my side. “OK” is Ace’s free word. It means we’re done working for the time being. He enjoys running ahead of me off leash when I allow him, but lately he’s been slinking back to my side. If he’s more comfortable there, great. I always tell him he’s a good boy when he runs back without me asking. But sometimes he’s confused and thinks he’s supposed to stay at my side all the time. A great thing about Ace is all he really wants to do is make me happy. That makes training a whole lot easier for me.

– I am able to walk by other dogs with Ace heeling off leash. A Yorkie on a Flexi leash charged me the other day when Ace was off leash. I decided to ignore the dog and keep walking. Ace was in that focused, working mode and stayed right at my side. Good boy! We can also walk right by squirrels and he won’t break from heel position. Squirrels are generally more of a challenge for Ace than other dogs. Sometimes he stares at the squirrels even though he doesn’t leave my side. He needs work on ignoring them. However, the squirrels around here are really good at playing mind games with dogs.

– I am better at recognizing when my dog can and cannot heel off leash. Ace is not 100 percent reliable with heeling off leash, maybe not even 50 percent. But I know when I can and cannot trust my dog. Picking up on his energy and him focusing on my energy are a big part of it. Just because Ace will heel off leash in a park one day does not mean he will heel in our own backyard the next day. Every situation is different.

– It is not a habit anymore to reach for the Gentle Leader or pinch collar. I used the Gentle Leader once and have not used the pinch collar at all since this challenge started. I do use the choke collar often, but I don’t need to. I’ve been taking Ace for walks with his regular nylon collar more often and he is always just fine with that.

This is day 25 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.

6 thoughts on “Loose-leash walking: Days 22-25”

  1. Great job Lindsay and Ace! I think that the fact that you can recognize when Ace is going to be able to walk off leash with you and when it’s still a bit too high of a criteria for him, is a big success! Your challenges always turn out so well. It’s really super!!!

    Maries last blog post..Yay! It’s Monday

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