I was at a Home Dog Training in Alpharetta last week working with my client and his Siberian Huskey. I was called out to work on basic obedience commands as well as some simple behavior issues like food stealing, jumping, running out the front door, etc. Both Hans and my client were doing quite well and things were going great. As we worked on walking, my client asked if there were some “advanced” techniques that I could teach them to really challenge Hans to focus on the walk. I thought back through all my trainings and thought about a technique that I hadn’t used since my original training sessions as a dog trainer. I had used this technique with my Springer Spaniel when I was certified as a Master Dog Trainer back in Colorado.
Besides simple exercise and socialization, the main purpose of the walk is to have your dog provide you with constant, passive focus. Even though he might be looking at the sights and listening to the sounds around him, he must always be aware that he is with you and must respond to any request you make. Enforcing this activity maintains you as his leader and minimizes his adrenaline while in public.
The “simple walk” helps to create the needed, constant focus. Hans can walk with his master. On most walks, there aren’t a lot of turns, twists, and bends. Although Hans appears to be paying attention, there aren’t a great deal of “checks and balances” to test his focus and obedience. What we must do is to “turn up the volume” to increase his need to focus on his master. I like to call my little exercise “close order drill”. It is very similar to an army platoon practicing their marching expertise on the parade field.
- You need to have Hans on a six foot leash in the middle of an empty parking lot or completely flat playing field (i.e. baseball or football field).
- Start walking Hans in a straight line for about 20 feet. Tap your leg and immediately turn 90 degrees. Give a slight tug on the leash and slight, verbal correction if needed.
- Continue walking straight for another 20 feet and make another 90 degree turn. Tap your leg and guide, if needed.
- Continue to maintain your speed. Do not let Hans slow you down or speed you up.
- Now, turn around 180 degrees and continue walking. Give your let a quick tap and guide Hans as needed.
- Continue the above movements until Hans is naturally turning with you without the need of a tug on the leash. Try changing your tap on the leg to a quick tong click.
- Change your speed as you are walking so that Hans now has to adjust his speed with you as well as turn with you.
- Stop and have him sit. If he doesn’t sit as soon as you stop, give him the “Sit” command.
- Repeat all of the above.
Practice your “close order drill” for about five minutes at a time. If possible, perform it two or three times a day. Your goal is to have Hans perform the speed changes, changes in direction and stop/sit with minimal or no outward hints from you. He should be watching your movements and react instantly and correctly to any changes. This shows that he is now giving you complete focus and respect.
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 Alpharetta Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Alpharetta Georgia.