Another great success for Loose-lead walking! Gus is a happy, high energy, excitable 13 months old Flatcoat Retriever who has always pulled on the lead; his owners’ Ceinwen and Arwyn, have struggled to control Gus’s boundless energy and Ceinwen has been unable to walk him due to his strength and unpredictability. Gus would frequently rear-up on his hind legs to share his boundless puppy-like energy with every other dog and person he sees which made dog walks difficult, stressful and unenjoyable at times.
I had arranged to meet the trio in the country park to help with Gus’s excessive pulling and to enable them all to enjoy calm walks and I was able to witness Gus’s enthusiasm for life first-hand as they approached me. I selected a suitable, well-padded harness from my collection and demonstrated the no-stress technique for fitting it to Gus. I attached the 5 mtr line and slowly let-out the lead enabling Gus to his enjoy his new-found freedom to explore the environment and display natural dog-like behaviours and practice the essential scent work of a Flatcoat. The transformation was immediate and encouraging; Gus walked calmly to the extent of the lead and then instead of his usual frantic pulling, he maintained a pressure on the lead until he realised that he wasn’t going to make any head-way whilst pulling. Gus then relaxed the lead pressure and turned his head towards me for direction and guidance; with that I was able to put-into-practice the ‘hand-touch’ technique we had ‘shaped’ on an earlier coaching session and then proceeded with the walk in a calm and controlled manner with repeated stops and waits when Gus pulled. The remainder on the initial hour-long walk was a very pleasant and easy walk and Ceinwen was also able to walk Gus calmly for the first time in a very long while. Ceinwen and Arwyn have now equipped themselves with a good quality harness and a 5 mtr line and are now enjoying Gus on calm walks.
I look forward to my next Loose-lead walking assignment which is with two Husky dogs.
Loose-lead walking is a very simple technique and has been effective with every dog I have worked with. The technique requires calmness and patience and an awareness of one’s dog’s needs. With any breed of dog it’s much simpler to have a dog with self-control rather than one that has to be ‘controlled’ at all times. Loose-lead walking is especially effective with large dogs where their innate strength makes it impossible to physically control them