Max and Sonny are really good dogs. There are just a few behaviors we’d like to improve. We decided that we needed to get serious about dog training. My main motivation is wanting to teach the dogs to walk on a loose leash. It’s just not all that enjoyable to walk them together because they both pull. We have made some progress on that, but not a whole lot. Part of the problem is that since it’s not super fun to walk the dogs on leash, we often opt to walk them off leash at the dog park instead. Another part of the problem is that when we do walk them on leash, it’s usually just one person with two dogs, so the training we try to do on walks is substandard and inconsistent. Even though I know that in the long run it would be better to walk them separately, in the short term I almost always take them both together to save time. I have occasionally tried my “zone of success" method with just one dog at a time and made faster progress that way, but then I don’t take them for another training walk for a week and we lose what we had gained.
After some thought, we decided the way forward for us is to take a dog training class. Taking a class would keep us accountable and give us access to some professional advice on the most effective methods. Last night we had our first class. Both Matt and I found it to be very helpful, and Sonny and Max did great. At the beginning of class, the participants got to vote on what we’d like to work on during that session. We did targeting (dog touches nose to trainer’s hand), stay, and walking. The overall method is clicker training, which I’ve been using off and on, but since timing and body language are crucial it was great to have an instructor. Already we have gotten some great pointers on walking. We definitely need to train each dog individually and just keep working on it consistently. Our series of classes lasts four weeks, and we’re going to do our very best to do some loose leash walking training with each dog separately every day for those four weeks. That way if we have any problems along the way, we can ask the trainer at the next class. I think if we stick to it, we should be able to improve.
Our hope is to go from this:
to… well I don’t have a picture of our dogs walking together on loose leashes because it’s never happened, but that’s the goal.
Wish us luck!