ViszlaZoliZoli, the Hungarian Viszla puppy I first went to when he was ten weeks old, is now seven months! What a handsome boy! This is him at ten weeks old:

His people have followed a lot of my advice and he is becoming a well-mannered dog with great progress in most respects. It is so much easier if you start off correctly, and he was certainly a handful at ten weeks!

There are two areas where he’s not doing so well. One is jumping up – but that is due to lack of consistency on behalf of the family. If it gets him a result just one time in ten, it’s worth doing! That’s why people play slot machines after all.

The other area is one where they have unfortunately abandoned my advice – walking. He is on a short lead and collar, very excited and pulling down the road, constantly being corrected or held beside them through their strength. All this teaches Zoli that pulling works – because he gets there in the end.

By now, if they had stuck to the plan and used the right equipment, he should be walking on a loose lead like there is no lead at all. People get confused between ‘heel’ walking and ‘loose lead’ walking. Apart from in the show ring and maybe busy streets, I myself can’t see any benefit at all in walking strictly to heel. The dog should walk near to the person because he wants to, not because he’s being forced to. It is all part of the bond of trust and respect that should be growing between them.

I demonstrated the method in the kitchen – admittedly there were none of the distractions of the outside world. He walked around with me like a lamb.

Walks need to start off right – calmly – with walking around house and garden and shouldn’t progress until the lead is loose. It really is a case of ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. They will need to abandon their current ideas about walks for a few days or even weeks, but the work is so well worth it in the end – a dog that doesn’t mug people or refuse to come back unless he feels like it. As adolescence takes hold – it won’t be going in the right direction unless his people take control of his freedom – and it’s granted in a controlled way rather encouraging him to freelance.