Before any type of training can take place, the trainer must at have at least some of the dog’s attention focused on him or her. Most dog owners would agree that it’s pointless to issue a command to a dog who’s totally engrossed in something else. Before a response can be expected, the owner must gain the dog’s attention. And, in order for the owner to have full control in all situations, the dog must be at least aware of the owner at all times; aware of where the owner is, as well as being ready to respond to any command the owner may wish to give.
If, when your dog is on a leash, there is tension in the leash, your dog can feel exactly where you are, and has no reason to pay attention to you, either visually or mentally. You become simply something to pull against and away from, not much more than an irritation.
If, however, you taught your dog that he may not pull or even reach the end of the leash without consequence, he would have to start watching you when on leash so that he could avoid causing tension in the leash. In short, your dog would have to pay attention to you. Once you achieve that, wonderful things begin to happen, and you will also be able to start structured training.
Read more from Carol about the style of training that fits you best: Loose Leash Walking: No Pulling, No Fooling, and Carol’s Corner: Is Corrective Training Necessary to Train Effectively?
Carol Hein-Creger has been training dogs and their owners since 1979. She has trained thousands of people, including many local dog trainers. Carol is currently teaching at AnnaBelle’s Pet Station in downtown Lansing. Check out her her upcoming class schedule. Do you have a training question for Carol? Send an email to email@example.com with “Carol’s Corner” in the subject line or use the “Contact Us” form.
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