September Blog – Practice Makes Perfect
This month, as you would expect has been preparing for America and to tell you the truth Gail deals with most of the organisation, so it is all done and booked. I cannot tell you how excited I am to see some old and hopefully new friends on my visit. I have been kindly invited to attend the annual Fur Ball held by the Humane Society on my birthday, by special invitation, which I was very honoured to accept, so my suit is packed and I hope it’s not too warm, as the temperature at the moment is in the high 20’s ;)
September also saw a project, which I have been working on in the last couple of months. I teamed up with The Barking Lot, an independent pet shop based in Wetherby and invited their customer’s who own dogs that pull prolifically for a short training session on basic lead work, they were then fitted with a selection of training harness and leads to see if there were any advantages with how the dog walks on their lead. The idea was to educate dog owners with dogs that pull, not to pull and yank at the lead or be led by their dog. The introduction of a new technique and principle together with the correct harness/lead combination resulted in a miraculous turn around in the dog’s behaviour with many owners turning up sceptical and leaving happy (I would say ecstatic, jaw dropping or misbelieving; as some owners were, but hah, I’m modest hehe).
However, it is not just the right equipment and a little guidance that helps your dog walk better when on their lead, you must be consistent and practice, practice, practice, until your dog is not reinforced for pulling and the behaviour becomes extinct, a far more effect way of training a dog to stop an unwanted behaviour. You see punishing a dog by yanking on their lead or using equipment that inflicts pain will only supress the behaviour, as studies and anecdotal evidence suggests. So, my advice for training a dog to walk better is to not see it as a social event (that will come later) instead see it as a training event, much like a sit, stay etc. and you will start at least with the right approach, remember the more you practice the easier it will get and if you are really struggling you can always give me a call.