This month I decided to take a break in teaching them tricks and really try and sort out a way I can help them with their leash work - Up to now, the dogs walking on their leads has been pretty awful, Molly more than Jess. Jess had actually got pretty good at it last year when we went to dog school, but I think watching Molly get away with almost pulling our arm off has made her pull aswell. Both of them like to be in front on their walks and I suspect that's also another reason she started pulling.
Anyway, the other week we took both dogs to Dunhum park in peak time, we knew it would be harder but they had been improving so thought we'd give it a go. When we stepped out of the car both dogs were pulling even worse than usual (I actually fell over with Jess), Molly then went mad at the sight of another dog so it's safe to say the start of our walk was horrendous.
Luckily we had the halti to stop Molly's pulling (who my mum was walking) but couldn't find Jess'.
The first half of the park consisted of me begging Jess, leaning back to make her more tired in the hope she'll walk nicer and shouting at her when I felt my arm really pulling.
Then it struck me, I remembered reading an article which said with some dogs if they do something which they like but is ruining it with bad behaviour make them give paw or some easy trick to make them earn it all. So, as soon as Jess pulled I stood still, made her sit and when she would I would carry on with our walk. The first few times I would have to wait there for a few minutes as she would refuse to listen to me, but after a few goes she would listen to me straight away and by the end of the walk there was no pulling!
I've been walking her like that since that day at Dunhum and I can now walk her round our block with two fingers and I don't have to ask her to sit at all!
Molly's a little harder, her pulling is bad but the worse habit she has is when she leaves the house she screams until she no longer has the energy too. It's been so bad she hasn't even been able to get out of the garden. So today I put her on her harness (to make sure she kept her breath) and had an aim to get her half way up the round with no pulling and no screaming. The dog has a will of stone! As soon as she screamed I dragged her back to the house and made her 'sit', simple as but Molly would make it into a war of the wills, her against me! It was so much I literally sat on the floor waiting for her to finally do ask I asked and eventually she did! By the end we did our task, no pulling and no screaming. But there is defintely lots of more work to do and many more days like today.
Hopefully in my July update, I will have two nice leash walking doggies!