Image by Pauline Loroy

Controlled Walk

Your dog should be under control when out for a walk for their safety and the safety of others. They do not have to walk beside you the whole time, but there should be no tension in the leash. Every step you take with a tight leash rewards your dog for pulling on leash and makes the behavior stronger!

Week 2

1.

Get into Control Position.

2.

Say the cue "Let's Go!" ONE TIME.

3.

Begin walking. Just before the leash tightens, give the Reward Earned cue ("YES!") and give a treat by holding it against your left leg.

4.

Make 1/4 turn to your right, and repeat steps 1-4.

5.

If you have to walk your dog outside this week, do step 3 for the duration of the walk. Do step 3 when you walk into class next week.

6.

Do NOT give the Reward Earned cue if the leash is tight, and do not take a step forward if the leash is tight. If the leash tightens then say "Oops!" and take 3 steps backward before starting again at step 1.

Control Position: Dog is on your left side. both of you facing the same direction. Loop the leash handle around your right  or left thumb or wrist.  Rrelax your arms by your sides.  Keep your hands close to your body. Hold the leash as far down as possible without putting any tension on the collar. Fold the extra accordion style in whichever hand is most comfortable.

Practice on-leash in different rooms inside your home this week. Next week, do it outside with more distractions.

There is no hand signal for Controlled Walk.

The non-verbal cue is your foot moving forward. It is helpful if you leave on the same foot each time.

This is the end of Week 2 Controlled Walk homework.

Please wait until Week 3 to do Week 3 steps.

 

Week 3

1.

Mark off a small track in the yard with cones or with natural landmarks such as trees and bushes. A car in the driveway also works.

2.

Get into Control Position.

3.

Say the cue "Let's Go!" ONE TIME.

4.

Begin walking clockwise around your track. Give the reward earned cue before the leash tightens, and feed a treat with your hand resting against your left leg.

5.

After a couple of times around the track, repeat in the opposite direction. Left turns require more concentration from your dog because you are turning into them, and they have to turn slightly before you do.

6.

Do NOT give the Reward Earned cue if the leash is tight, and do not take a step forward if the leash is tight. If the leash tightens then say "Oops!" and take 3 steps backward before starting again at step 2.

When out for a walk, your dog can walk in front of you as long as the leash is loose. Still keep your leash hand against your body.

Give your dog permission to stop and sniff throughout the walk with a cue such as "go sniff" or "free dog".

 

Week 4

1.

Mark off a small track in the yard with cones or with natural landmarks such as trees and bushes. A car in the driveway also works.

2.

Get into Control Position.

3.

Say the cue "Let's Go!" ONE TIME.

4.

Begin walking clockwise around your track. Give the reward earned cue before the leash tightens, and feed a treat with your hand resting against your left leg.

5.

After a couple of times around the track, cue your dog to "TURN". Do an About Turn to your right in a smooth motion and continue walking in the opposite direction.

6.

Do NOT give the Reward Earned cue if the leash is tight, and do not take a step forward if the leash is tight. If the leash tightens then say "Oops!" and take 3 steps backward before starting again at step 2.

7.

After a few practice rounds on the track, begin walking down the street. Use mailboxes, light poles, etc. as landmarks for when to reward. Continue to give the reward earned cue before the leash tightens. If the leash tightens then say "Oops!" and take 3 steps backward before moving forward again.

About Turns are useful if you need to move your dog away from something quickly, such as a loose dog, cat, or squirrel.

TROUBLESHOOTING

At this stage in training, you should be taking a lot of steps before the leash begins to tighten. If not, check this list to find out why.

  • Is your dog being rewarded for pulling? Every step forward on a tight leash is like giving a piece of chicken and saying "Good job, keep doing that!" Stop walking and take 3 steps back if the leash gets tight. Reward faster and more frequently for loose leash.

  • Is your dog too wound up? Exercise them a little bit before the walk with a game of fetch or tug. Have them Sit and Wait to have the leash attached and before opening the door.

 

Week 5

1.

Repeat the steps from Week 4, but this time About Turn to the LEFT. Practice changes of pace (Slow, Normal, Fast).

2.

Ask Fluffy to "Sit" and "Wait" while you put their collar and leash on. Stop if they get up. The leash only goes on if Fluffy is sitting still. If it's taking too long for Fluffy to settle, put the leash away and wait 5 minutes then try again. 

3.

Ask Fluffy to "Sit" and "Wait" while you open the door. If Fluffy gets up, close the door until s/he sits again. It might take 30 minutes to get out the door the first time. Don't give up!

4.

During the walk, "Yes" and treat before the leash tightens. Periodically "Yes" and treat for maintaining a loose leash. Use landmarks like mailboxes and light posts, extending the distance between treats over time.

5.

Periodically give Fluffy permission to "go sniff" as a reward for a loose leash. When you're ready to move forward again, cue "let's go" to indicate that sniff time is done.

TIP: If your dog is super interested in something and tries pulling toward it, use it as a training opportunity! As long as it is safe to approach, walk toward it. If the leash tightens, take 3 backward steps and start again. The only way to get to it is with a loose leash!

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