I learned something profoundly new today. Maybe not super profound, but it does make a big difference. I learned when you’re first starting off in teaching a dog to walk on a slack leash, and if you’re using “the dancing drill” that I use, it’s better to not talk at all for the first several minutes as you go back and forth with the dog. I’ve observed a lot of times when I’m watching a dog, the dog’s head will be beyond your leg, but we’re talking to them. I think what the dog is doing, is as their heads get further in front of us, they’re not really looking at us but they’re using their ears to locate us so that way they know when there’s going to be some kind of consequence for maybe not walking well or something. So, if you end up going completely quiet while walking, and you use the techniques from the dancing drill, then what you’ll see is that the dog has to stay even or behind your leg because they’re no longer going to be able to base their actions on the fact that they are listening to you, they will actually have to watch you with their eyes.
Since a dog can point its ears backward and listen to you while not looking at you, it really makes a lot of sense that we should not talk at all to the dog when we’re first starting off on our walk. Then, what the dog has to do is get behind you and watch you and your body movements, this is your opportunity to tell them what a good dog they are and begin to reinforce that position with food or petting as they walk with you.
This has really made a big difference for some of my clients. What I encourage all of you to do is that if you’re out with your dog and you’re trying to learn how to walk with a slack leash, make sure you have a good training collar on and a good 4-5 feet long leash. Give the dog about 2 feet of slack and begin to execute what I call the dancing drill, then don’t talk. Don’t talk for at least the first 5-10 minutes, and see if that makes a profound difference in the way your dog follows you.
You’ve heard me allude several times to “the dancing drill”. If you want to learn more about that, send me a text message at (832)734-5189 and I’ll share a link with you.