Here is Renee's interview with Fidelco Guide Dog Trainer, Bryant O’Neill!
He shares his knowledge about proper leash walking, to ensure a safe experience for your dog and yourself!
If you are interested in learning more or becoming a volunteer puppy raiser, visit Fidelco.org!
Listen to the full interview here:
Leash Walking Tips!
-It’s important to have the “correct” leash on your dog. There are many leashes out there that are more of a “convenience” for the handler, than a tool for walking with your dog. Leashes are an important safety tool for your dog and other dogs. Remember that most service animals need to be on a leash with their handler and don’t get the benefit to be off leash while out walking.
-When teaching any new skill to make sure that you are in as neutral an environment as possible to make it easier to learn. As your dog starts to perfect the skill, you can increase the difficulty in different environments. Also, keeping your sessions short and concise and ending on a positive note, will always benefit the dog.
“Knotted Leash Walking” that can help your dog keep focused attention on you during leash walks:
1.) Pick a word other than “No” that tells the dog you’re going to go, like “Bye” or “Oops.”
2.) Use a 6 to 8 foot leash and tie a knot at about 18 to 24 inches from the clasp. If the dog walks on your left side, hold the knot in your left hand, and the loop handle in your right. You want the dog walking next to you or a foot behind you, and never having any tension on the leash.
3.) Start practicing in safe areas, where there are no other dogs around. While walking around, watch your dogs body language, and if he or she loses attention, or walks ahead of you, use your designated word to signal your dog and release the knot from your left hand at the same time. Hold on to the looped end with your right hand and change direction. If your dog keeps going in the same direction they will feel the tug when they hit the end of the leash, they should realize that you are not with them, and turn around to catch up to you. When your dog does come back to your side, reward him/her with lots of praise or a jackpot of their favorite treats.
4.) Practice this many times, but enough to pay attention to when your dog may be getting burned out. Try to keep the sessions short to start, and over the days and weeks increase the length of training time. Your dog should start to realize that they don’t always know where you are going, and they need to pay attention to you, the handler.