More about the metaphorical journeys than the sightseeing kind, these posts cover the transformations that occur in our relationships with our dogs as well as practical advice on how to make those transformations happen. I hope you find them useful and I look forward to reading your comments!
Zargon was terrible on leash -- pulled like a freight train, reacted to whatever was out there, and if it was another dog, lunges and barks and jumps and twists were the norm.
A big part of his time here will be practicing walking on leash politely and a big part of that work is making sure he knows all the rules of the Heel command. The over arching rule is that his focus is on me. He shows that by walking at my side, nose at my knee, not on the ground; yielding to me when I turn into him; automatically sitting when I stop walking. He can take in the sights and sounds and smells but in a calm, relaxed, and brief manner. No alerting, or fixating, and certainly no barking, lunging, or pulling. And by focusing on those first half dozen rules of the Heel, the last 3 options fade from possibility.
Along with our work on the Heel, Zargon will spend a lot of time inside the house working on an important new skill, impulse control. Having strong impulse control will support him as he works to have a great Heel. By having the power to ignore distractions and stimuli Zargon is far and away more able to accomplish the focus required from him to successfully walk in a Heel.
Finally, Zargon's new skills are only half the equation. He also has to trust in the leadership of whomever is holding the leash. While he is relaxed and calm on the walk with me, it will be critical that his owners establish a leadership role with him before they can anticipate him behaving respectfully. We'll work together in their successful establishment of a leadership role -- it's not as complicated as it may seem and typically is about having expectations for the dog's behavior and then being prepared to follow through if the dog chooses not to comply with the command or the expected behavior. And the nice secret is that the follow through can be very low key -- actually is more powerful if it is done objectively and matter-of-factly. It's not the intensity of the follow through, it's really the consistency that the dog sums up to mean that you mean business.
New skills for how to walk in a Heel and how to more easily ignore the distractions on the walk along with the leadership from his owners are going to mean great changes for Zargon's daily existence... not to mention his owners!