Articles Index/Training
Posted 05/30/98


"It's time for a walk. Are you ready?" Perhaps the single most important lesson to teach a dog is how to walk on a leash and be controlled. The best time to begin training is when your dog is a puppy, because he will want to be going with you anyway. There are many character types in dogs. Some never put a foot wrong while others pose a challenge to their owners or anyone else on the controlling end of their leashes.

The "pullers" or "chargers" are domineering and, typically, lead their owners. They are the dogs who know where they are going and can't wait to get there, dancing on two legs at the end of their leashes and practically choking themselves. They require good timing in restraint to get them to listen to you and go where you lead them. Tip: Bring them up "short" as they hit the full length of the leash; bring them back to your side and relax the contact of the leash as their reward (this is especially true if you use a choke collar) and praise them a lot when they understand.

The "I'll follow you's" are, of course, easy dogs to lead as they are already in the habit of following you around. As some Norfolks too easily mis-learn that "hanging back" earns a reward, treats are a last resort; the exception of course is with a puppy his first time on a leash. You need only encourage your pet to come walk by your side with little rewards of friendly pats.

The "balkers", "I think I'll stop right here", or "You go, I'll stay" types just need time, patience, and food or a toy to coax them forward for them eventually to walk with you. Since they generally dislike anything around their necks, let alone a control device, use a soft, wide collar and medium length lead for training purposes. A wide collar is less likely to hurt the windpipe, or throat, of the dog in the event you need either to pull him along or up short.

Barbara R. Ege
ANTIC, Fall, 1994

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