Here`s another great article:
Hi all. My 9 month old pup and I have been working on her loose leash walking for a while. I am a novice and am confused as to how we can make any progress on her "defaulting" to walking without pressure on the leash.
She walks on my left, with the leash in my right hand forming the nice "J" shape. I give her treats intermittently for walking without tension. I ask her to "watch" to look back at me and check in, and this works to keep her at my side (in a boring-ish setting, at least–but I think her prey drive is another issue), but if 5 or 6 steps go without a "watch" reminder, she walks right to the end of the leash. Do a 180, try again, the same thing happens. We could easily spend a 45-min walk without progressing more than a few feet. When rewarded, she takes the treat and walks to the end again.
When she gets to the end of the leash, I say no, stop dead, and when she comes to my side, I praise her and we go on in the other direction. This is my other concern. The idea is that the praise should come as soon as the tension lets up, correct? But she often reduces the pressure on the leash while walking off to my right side or my left side to investigate the path, which is not exactly yielding so much as wandering… I am not seeing progress, and it makes me wonder what I can do better. We enrolled in obedience class after puppy kindergarten, but ended up missing three classes while she had kennel cough just in time for the facility to close due to COVID-19.
Tension on the leash is perfectly fine to her. When we walk on leash, we use a harness. We used to use a flat collar, but with her high prey drive, she practically asphyxiates herself when there is a real temptation like another dog, followed by that awful hacking/honking cough. After a brief scare that she had tracheal collapse (it was kennel cough), I honestly would prefer to make our progress slower than ever take the risk of damaging her trachea. If pressure on the leash is not uncomfortable, how do I teach her that there should not be pressure on the leash?
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