Now a large adult dog who could pull her owner over quite easily, the lady has been trying to get her to walk nicely on lead. She has been practising in the small garden but Deefer pulls madly once out through the gate, and the lady was close to dispair when she got back in touch with me.
I thought I would see for myself. To start with, we shut the other dogs well out of the way, in the garden, and then we had a cup of coffee while Deefer calmed right down. We put on her harness and finished our coffee. Once out in the front garden Deefer walked up and down with me beautifully on a long loose lead.
At the gate I waited without a word until Deefer hung back, opening and shutting it a little in front of her nose to prompt her. Quiet and calm is the order of the day. Then we stepped through. I had the training lead hooked to the front of a special harness which I find works a treat even with the heaviest dog. We walked happily back and forth outside the house whilst I resembled someone who had drunk a little too much wine! A couple of people even walked by, but Deefer didn’t react. Then the lady took over and Deefer continued to walk nicely. Then we went back in. A result.
The secret is a totally calm start – however long it takes. Once we get going, constantly changing direction, letting the lead out as we do so and slowing down – to give the dog plenty of time to catch up and plenty of encouragement, so that she works out for herself exactly what it is we want her to do.
Finally, it’s important to call it a day while things are still going well so as to end on a high note. That will mean very short sessions to start with.
If the lady starts with two five-minutes sessions a day out the front, over the weeks building up to ten minutes, then fifteen as she goes further afield, she will eventually be proud to be seen out and about with her beautiful big dog.