Sophie and I have been working on loose-leash walking lately. Today was our fourth practice (I think). The first two times, we just went the length of my driveway once and back home. The driveway is about 200 feet long, so that’s more than the usual suburban driveway.
Day One had the added distraction of the neighbor kids playing on their playset 50 feet away. I walked one step at a time and waited for her to look at me or catch up to me. Then I CT’d and onto the next walk step. She has a habit (still) of trying to change sides. It’s getting less frequent, but I find it quite odd.
Day Two was quiet.
Day Three we managed to actually get to the street and that was okay until a guy came around the corner being pulled by two black labs going the other way. Sophie had a fit, barking and pulling. I just stood there and waited until she calmed down. I’m glad she doesn’t weight any more than 73 lbs. though! She eventually returned her attention to me and we went back down the driveway toward home.
Day Four (Today), first we went down the driveway and I used a licking stick to see if that would work for her. A licking stick kind of looks like a deodorant stick with a yummy gel in it that you screw out and let the dog lick the end of. It’s okay, but Sophie kept wanting to just bite the whole thing. Then she figured out how to bite a bit of the gel off – sort of like biting off the top of your ice cream cone. We did one round-trip of the driveway and then back to the house.
We went out again with the usual treats that I use – Natural Balance dog log cut up into 1/4 inch cubes.
She was really focused on me by this time and we went down the driveway and all the way to the end of our street. There are only nine houses on my street but they’re all one-acre lots. It was probably about 1/10 of a mile or so one way. She did really, really well. But there were no distractions of any kind. Which is actually a good thing. I’d rather start with no distractions and work up, thanks.
My goal is to be able to walk with Sophie and have her totally paying attention to me and not pulling or lungeing for any reason.