Learn all about dog education and dog behaviour. Subject Matter Expert Brydie Charlesworth; Director DOG EDUCATION CENTRE
In life there is a thing called opposition reflex.
It’s a natural reflex to resist pressure. If I push you, you will automatically lean into this pressure to steady yourself. If I pull on your arm, you will pull back in the opposite direction.
When training your dog you can use opposition reflex to your benefit but it can also create problems in your training if you don’t understand it.
Think about the way you hold your lead. Do you put it around your wrist and then wrap it around your hand until you have some tension to feel like you have control of your dog?
Yes? What you’ve just done is triggered your dogs opposition reflex and made your dog pull on the lead and given you less control.
Here are some tips to help you achieve a relaxed loose lead walk.
1. Buy yourself a good lead. One this isn’t too long and made of good material. Don’t buy the nylon types that burn and have no padding on the handle. Leather, cotton webbing and biothane are good to hold.
2. Practice the “Safety Grip”. Place the loop of the handle over your thumb and grip the remainder of the handle in your palm. This creates a secure grip that you can also let go of if you need to.
3. Forget the notion that the dogs pull because they’re Alpha or “being dominant”. Dog naturally walk faster than us and a walk is exciting, therefore their driven to get moving. You should increase your pace when you can.
4. Ask for your dogs attention and move off. Praise your dog when the lead is loose. Right before the dog puts tension in the lead, change direction sharply. At this point you can add a verbal correction at the exact moment you turn. When you get the dogs attention, praise the dog again. Encourage the dog strongly to focus and pay attention and reward/praise them heavily when they get it. The idea here is to make the direction as clear as possible. YES; your getting it right; NO your not getting it right. Ensure your commands are as black and white as possible. This may take a few turns but by being consistent and making the rules clear, your dog will get the picture.
Remember that tension creates tension. If you want to increase tension in a dog then hold a tight lead. If you want to decrease tension, you need to remove the pressure in the lead.
Thank you for loving your dog as much as I do.
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