I was in Woodstock yesterday at the first Home Dog Training lesson of a new client and his great Belgian Malinois named Patton. We spent most of the lesson working in the house in order to build my client’s leadership and bond with Patton. As I explained to my client, it was critical that he assume the lead role in their relationship. I didn’t want him to be mean or scary, simply confident and assured. Well, everything really worked and we accomplished all the “A Priorities”. It was later in the afternoon and unusually “cool” for Georgia in the summer. My client asked if we could attempt some outside walking with Patton. We put the leash on the Belgian Malinois and went into the back yard. That is where the story starts…
As soon as we got outside in the back yard, it was obvious that Patton was getting excited and adrenalized. In seeing this, I switched his normal collar with a Martingale collar that I had in my bag. This would provide a little extra correction while minimizing the straight “pulling response” provided by standard dog collars.
I instructed my client to place Patton in a sit and stay there until Patton was calm and focused on him. At that point, I told him to slowly step off with his leg closest to Patton while issuing a slight snap of the leash and giving a verbal command such as “Let’s go”. They started off and Patton began to immediately pull and lung on the end of the leash.
I had them stop and repeat the process of sitting, remaining calm until Patton was respectfully focusing on my client, and then starting to slowly step off for the walk. Although it slowly got better, Patton still was pulling and lunging within five to seven steps.
I then instructed my client to change direction after a few steps to see if Patton would refocus on him instead of decreasing his focus immediately after the start of the walk. This improved matters slightly, but Patton was still lunging and pulling within ten to twenty paces in any direction.
I knew it was now time to step up to a technique we call “Back leashing”. This is where we use a longer leash (normally twenty feet).
I first explained the technique to my client. He was to start walking again. He was to have the twenty-foot leash initially curled up so that he was only using about five feet of it. As Patton began to pull, he was to let him have more of the leash so that Patton would quickly move farther and farther out front.
When Patton was about fifteen feet in front of my client, he was to release the remaining five feet of the leash, stop, and hold his ground. As Patton got to the end of the leash, my client was to give a sturdy tug on the leash so that Patton would swing around and face him.
While Patton was facing him, he was to guide him back to his side and then start walking in the opposite direction. Again, he was to start with Patton on his side. As soon as Patton started to pull way, he was to let Patton have more leash. As before, as the Belgian Malinois reached the end of the twenty-foot leash, my client was to give a robust tug and swing Patton back facing him.
He was to repeat this process as necessary. I explained that after a few of these lessons, Patton would understand that he was to stay next to my client.
My client understood what he needed to do and we started the “back leash lesson”. After about five “back leash tugs”, Patton began walking perfectly next to my client. We took the walk out of the back yard and down the street. Although Patton started to look at other dogs and people, all my client had to do was to give a slight tug on the leash and Patton looked back and focused on him. We successfully taught Patton to walk next to my client because we understood what was needed to get his focus and to put him in his “teaching moment”.
Please call us at (770) 718-7704 it you are in need of any dog training help. We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Woodstock Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Woodstock Georgia.