Meet Riggins: a very handsome, 10-week, Rhodesian Ridgeback. Riggins parents contacted Zen Dog Training at 10 weeks to insure good walking habits! As an adult, Riggins is projected to be over 100 lbs, so having command of the walk is essential!
The first step is to have the right tools. We recommend Riggins wear an Easy Walk Harness or any front-clip harness with a D-ring on the front attached. In addition, we suggested a 6ft leash (not a 4ft). The longer leash can be held at 4 feet and still give you extra space when you need it, e.g. meeting other dogs etc.
Riggins guardians learned a game we call “My Walk”. Your puppy is allowed to walk 4 to 6 ft in front of you, on either side of you, or even behind, as long as there is no tension on the leash.
If your puppy pulls ahead, you make a sound of disgust “Ugh” and stop walking. You offer no words, leash jerking or pulling your puppy back to you. You remain calm, lean against the leash and wait four your pup to figure it out.
When your puppy moves back towards you, offer a cheery “Yes!” and continue the walk at brisk pace. This game continues until your puppy learns that a nice, loose, J-shaped leash is how he keeps on moving!
If your puppy sits down or is really having trouble you can slowly back up, in effect pulling him back towards you. Again, as soon as the leash is loose say “Yes!” and reward him by quickly going forward again.
Walking with a “My Walk” attitude is more than just a dog who doesn’t pull on the leash; you create a positive bond between you and your dog. The goal is to allow your puppy to explore the world with you at its center.
For more information on leash walking and other dog training topics, please visit us online to view our selection of tutorials at www.zendogtraining.net.