When our new deaf puppy Bowie got here he wanted to play “tug of war: with his leash every time I attached his leash to him. So I started working on his leash training right away before he got out of control. We started his training with “watch me” training in the house.
Bowie and I working on our loose leash walking. We practice “sit” and “watch me” training while we go on our walks.
- We start with high value small soft treats. I like to use Oscar Meyer Light Bologna
- We work on “watch me” training. Tap the dog on the shoulder and when he makes eye contact with me a do a three finger flash (in place of the sound of the clicker to mark the correct behavior) then treat. I touch my nose which means “watch me”.
- Then I stand there and just wait for him to look up and make direct eye contact with me again. He makes eye contact, I flash to mark the correct response and treat, repeat, repeat, repeat.
- Once he is watching me and checking in with me I do very short distance recalls (come here training) a few times and make the sign for come.
- Do the short “come here” recall training over and over. Notice he is not biting at his leash like he was a few days ago. For more details on longer distance recall training click here.
- Once I start walking, I hold the treat just in front of him to get him to walk forward and also use the “come” sign. Once he starts following the treat I start to extend the distance a bit.
- Do this several times a day and your puppy will be walking next to you in no time at all. We also practice “sits” and “watch me” while we are walking so he stays focused on me and doesn’t pull. If he does decide to start pulling all I do is change direction. If he continues to pull, I change direction. His reward for not pulling is getting to go in the direction he wants to go.
For more information on Loose Leash Training be sure to check out professional trainer Terry Haward’s “Loose Leash Walking Your Deaf Dog” here.