While our dogs are learning how to keep the leash loose, we can help to set them up for success by avoiding distractions.
- If our dogs will pull towards squirrels, then we either walk where we are less likely to encounter squirrels (like empty parking lots) or we walk when we are less likely to encounter squirrels (night time)
- If our dogs pull towards other dogs, we keep an eye out for other dogs and maintain a comfortable distance as best we can
- If our dogs pull towards humans, we need to maintain distance and be firm with humans who insist on trying to social with our dogs.
Of course, eventually, we want to teach our dogs how to ignore distractions. But in the beginning that training should be separate from loose leash walking training.
Something that works well for my dogs - we don't walk by other dogs (they are just too interesting). I've found that it's much easier for my dogs if we move over and watch as the other dogs go by. We move over far away enough so that we aren't bothering the other dogs and far away enough so that my dogs aren't tempted to pull towards the dogs. But close enough so that my dogs can calmly observe.
More on avoiding distractions, working around distractions, and learning to ignore distractions
Squirrels (can be extrapolated to deer, cats, bunnies, etc..): http://www.stubbypuddin.com/search/label/squirrels
See more on Loose Leash Walking here
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