Leash manners… Oh leash manners…
Let me start off by saying there’s about five thousand bazillion different ways to get your dog to walk nicely on leash.
Right now, I just expect Wade to be well mannered. Because he’s so young and attached to me, it works. However, I have learned a little trick that I wanted to share.
Wade is half labrador retriever. Retrievers like to carry things around for their owner. It’s part of their genetic makeup. I first noticed that Wade liked to hold the leash in his mouth if it got in front of his face and started bonking him in the nose.
I also noticed that holding the leash in his mouth would make him walk much better on leash. He was ignoring all the interesting smells, sounds, and sights.
Plus, it’s adorable.
Rather than fight nature like an idiot, I decided to embrace my pup’s genetic predisposition!
He had a job.
Nobody can multi-task.
Plenty of humans will tell you they can multi-task, but they can’t. Nobody can from an objective and scientific standpoint. It’s why we turn down the radio in our car when we’re looking for an address.
So giving Wade a job to do during a walk is going to force him to concentrate on that job and only that job!
So now, if we’re going on a structured walk or I need him to not lolly-gag, I give him something to carry.
“Yeah, you telling me is the reason I’m staying put… Uh-huh.” -Wade
I don’t know how Wade picked this trick up so readily, but I blame it on his laziness. Wade is really really good at staying put.
The best way to start your dog learning this trick is to just ‘mark’ the behavior whenever your dog does it naturally.
That means, whenever your dog is naturally staying put for some reason, just start giving the stay command, I always pair it with a hand signal. (I hold up my index finger as if to say, “One minute, hold on.”)
Then release your dog from this natural stay, and praise it!
Your dog is going to start to learn that, “Whenever I just don’t do anything, my human loves it! Easiest trick EVER!”
The morning routine. Make careful note that although I know he won’t go anywhere, he’s still got his leash just in case.
Once your dog seems to be understanding a basic idea of what stay means, (meaning that you’re the one that releases them from their stay 90% of the time,) you can start upping the difficulty.
Establishing a routine with your dog is going to make your life with your dog infinitely easier. Your dog appreciates it too.
My routine with Wade is:
Wake up, put on a jacket, and get outside.
We walk to his favorite potty spot close to the front door, and he goes number one.
Then we walk down to the dumpster, and he gets to explore the grassy area across the street from the dumpster. This is where he goes number two.
I pick it up, and he sits and stays. Waiting for me to go throw it away and come back to him to take him home.
Just having a morning ritual for your dog is going to make your dog happier, and it’s going to make your life as a dog owner more fulfilling and happier as well.
The “distance stay” is a great way to up the difficulty of a ‘stay,’ and really solidifies that your dog actually knows what ‘stay’ means.