Last month I wrote about how my dog gets excited when he sees other dogs on walks and pulls.
A common problem, right?
It’s not that my dog is at all reactive, and he doesn’t even pull that hard. I just want him to remain focused and to continue heeling when we see other dogs.
I have high expectations.
I haven’t made much progress, because I haven’t made the effort to follow through with my training goals.
Instead of using a choke/slip collar and carrying treats as planned, I’ve been falling back on the Gentle Leader. I love the Gentle Leader, but it basically allows my dog to pull while minimizing the effects of pulling so I can “check out” on training. It’s great for when I take Ace to stores or busy events. It’s not great for when I’m working on training in the neighborhood.
So, I’ve decided to recommit to my original goals:
- Use a prong collar. I’ve decided that works better than our cheap, heavy choke collar Ace is wearing in the photo below.
- Carry treats.
- Keep enough distance from other dogs so I can reward good behavior.
- Slowly increase the challenges.
To do this, I always have treats in my coat pocket ahead of time so they’re always there. Otherwise it’s too easy for me to skip the treats.
I’ve also cut my dog’s daily food back by about 1/6 so the extra treats won’t cause weight gain. This will also keep him more interested in treats since he won’t be too full. He’s pretty treat motivated, but it always helps to train when the dog is looking for a meal!
The reason I like the prong collar is because it feels like a regular collar to my dog (vs. having something over his nose with the Gentle Leader).
When we pass other dogs, I keep the leash loose (no tension) so my dog can make the choice on how to respond. I use the command “watch” while luring him with a treat. If that doesn’t work, I give him a light tug on the prong collar followed by a “good boy!” and a treat when he looks at me.
It’s very basic training, and it works well for us when I follow through. This is how I trained by dog when I first got him.
I also like the prong collar because I can switch the leash back and forth between the prong collar and the nylon collar and my dog won’t even notice. The goal is to get to the point where he doesn’t need the prong collar.
I’m hoping if we work on this every day for about a month, I will notice significant improvements.
So, how about the rest of you?
Do you have any training goals for your dog walks?
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