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Loose Leash walking

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Loose leash walking is great when you just want to walk in a relaxed fashion without having to worry about pulling. For nearly two years now I have been trying to get Juno to walk with a loose leash. I have tried a lot of methods and I have spent a lot of time trying them but I never seemed to be able to get it right. For the last 8 months or more walking has been good but there has always been a tiny bit of tension on the leash. In effect, I have been guiding her and she has been quite compliant. To the casual observer, it would appear that Juno is walking great, but from my point of view I am not relaxed so the walk isn't as pleasant as it could be.


Now over the last two weeks, things have changed for the better. It may be just maturity on Juno's part, but I suspect that it is just the fact that I have finally understood the concept behind loose leash walking (I know, I am a slow learner). The revelation came from Susan Garrett's 'Its Yer Choice' game and the book 'Teach Your Herding Breed". What I came to realize was that it is Juno that needs to pay attention and not me. So last week I started to walk Juno on a 6 foot leash with absolutely no tension. When she reached the end of the leash and started pulling I stopped, pulled her back to my side, and then started off again with her on the loose leash. It didn't take her long to realize that it was her responsibility, not mine, to keep the slack. Now a week later her loose leash walking is amazing and my walks are so much more enjoyable.


For those experienced trainers out there, I am sure you are saying this isn't Rocket Science, but the fact is that I thought I was doing it right before. When she pulled hard I woud stop and walk the other way, and when she pulled lightly (a lot of the time) I would guide her with gentle tension on the leash when she needed it. Now I realize I just had to have the confidence in Juno to give her the chance to be responsible.






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  • 2 weeks later...

It has been almost two weeks now since my initial post. Since that time the loose leash walking has been great. Our walks are so much more pleasant now. Juno isn't pulling any more but the leash does tighten at times so I have persisted in stopping and starting again, letting her choose to walk with slack only. I have been strict and it is really paying off. Over the last few days, she has only tightened the leash a couple of times so I have started to just give the leash a slight touch to remind her and this is working well.


Islanddog - The book Teach Your Herding Breed has been a good book for me. I have mentioned this book a few times on this forum and some have agreed that it is a good book, while others have suggested that it is likely to be a 'cookie cutter' book. This may be the case, but in any event, I found the book to be very 'Border Collie" friendly. The first five chapters are fairly theoretical, giving an understanding of dogs in general, and Herding Dogs specifically. I have read a lot about Border Collies so this wasn't all that new to me, but I still found the continual tie ins to Border Collies useful. The rest of the book, Chapters 6 through 10 really address Herding Dogs specifically. Although many, if not all, of the techniques discussed could be applied to all dogs, they certainly apply to Border Collies. Over the last two years I have had challenges (not problems) with Juno. This book would definitely have helped me with these challenges.

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