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This Human Needs to Re-Learn Her Loose-Leash Walking Skills

Goals are mostly a big joke to me unless I re-visit them daily.

I wrote a post in January about my dog training goals for 2015 and haven’t thought about them since.


My goals need to be simpler than that, so here’s an idea for all of us:

Write down 3 dog-related goals for the remainder of September.

That’s it. There’s only, what, two weeks left in the month? That’s perfect.

We can write down the same goals or different goals for October, when we get there.

Dog training goals

My September dog training goals

My dog is a 9.5-year-old black Lab mix. You’ll see these are more about training ME than training my dog.

Goal #1: Stop tugging on the leash.

That’s right. Me.

This hooman needs to re-learn her loose-leash walking skills.

I’m constantly tugging Ace along lately. Not in a mean or harsh way and not to “correct” him. I’m just pulling him away from sniffing things and trying to get him to move faster.

You know what happens when you constantly tug on the leash?

The dog learns to ignore ALL your verbal commands and he gets desensitized to the tugging too.

Basically my dog ignores me.

He ignores me because I’ve been ignoring him. Sad, right?

So, my goal is to walk without tugging on the leash at all, only if I need to do so for safety reasons.

Instead, I’m going to:


  • talk to my dog (Wow! What a concept!)
  • carry treats
  • reward him for looking at me
  • randomly call him or ask him to sit or “watch”


You know, all that basic stuff I should be doing anyway!

Goal #2: Teach my dog a new “trick.”

The reason this is important is because:


  • tricks are fun!
  • teaching something new encourages my senior guy to keep learning
  • it gives us something to work on together


Ace and I plateaued on our training about 7 years ago.

He knows a lot of different tricks and commands (spin, roll over, back up, crawl, speak, sing, jump, bang, etc.), but he learned these when he was about 2 years old. He’s now 9.

I can’t think of a simple, cute trick to teach him that he doesn’t already know. Does anyone have a creative idea?

I might attempt to teach him to put his toys away, which is not exactly simple but would be challenging for us.

3. Drive my dog to a park, store (or anywhere!) once per week.

My senior dog Ace of Spades

Because the park makes my dog so happy!

Ace can’t go for long walks anymore. One mile is about his limit, which means we mostly walk around the block.

I can tell my dog is not very excited for these walks. They’re boring. Or not worth the effort.

HOWEVER, our town welcomes dogs pretty much everywhere – stores, bars, coffee shops, restaurants – and we have the dog beach, trails and parks.

Plus, my dog is one of those rock-solid dogs you can take anywhere and he won’t react. Nothing fazes him. So many people would love to have a dog they can take anywhere!

Our options are unlimited.

So my goal is to drive my dog to the beach in replace of our walk at least one morning per week and to drive him to another random place sometime over each weekend. This could be someplace my husband Josh and I are already visiting or it could be a place chosen specifically for Ace.

I’ll post these outings on Instagram. Follow us here.

So there you have it.

My September goals are:

1. No tugging on the leash (from the HOOman!)

2. Teach my dog a new trick

3. Visit a new place each week

In the comments, let me know:

What are your dog-training goals for September or October?

Also, any ideas for cute tricks or commands I could teach my senior guy?

Thank you to Puppy Leaks for inspiring me to re-think my dog training goals. Jen wrote about her 5 training goals for fall.

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