From a reader:
I really enjoy your posts and videos. I have been working on loose leash walking with my Jack Russell Terrier (terrier and highly distractible!) for a long time. We have had minimal success. I notice in your videos that your Puddin is engaged with you while you are walking. My Penny very rarely looks at me when we walk. When she starts pulling, I stop and don’t move again until she comes back to me, sits next to me and looks at me. I reward her and try walking a few more steps. I can get about 2-3 steps before the cycle starts again. We have been doing this for months and have not progressed beyond 2-3 steps.
Do you have any tips I can use to get her to engage with me and try to make the walks a little longer without the big pull? We are walking on the sidewalk in front of my house and have only gotten about two houses away.
Thanks so much for your compliment. And good job on trying to take things slow. See my responses below.
< My Penny very rarely looks at me when we walk>
Understandable. The outdoors can be highly distracting. Especially for such a high energy breed. The more we can break down the behaviors we want, the greater chance we have for success. So I would start working on "attention" indoors. The slowly increase distractions. My own dog had trouble going from the yard to the sidewalk. So I had to find something more interesting than the yard but less interesting than the sidewalk. We found it in an empty parking lot (our long line video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR4KX_An5jk)
If that doesn't work, then stay inside and increase distractions while inside. i.e. having someone toss a toy while you walk indoors
Or ask your dog to walk past a plate of food while you are indoors (only if your dog can do it - don't set her up for failure or frustration)
Info on attention/focus:
Watch me: https://www.facebook.com/4pawsuniversity/photos/a.137573622069.109578.49741042069/10153149287112070/?type=1&theater
Check ins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_BEXER4lGo
Pattern Games: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mtn-BeI9lHE
If none of the above helps, then breaks things down even more
Then once you have attention, start rewarding your dog for walking next to you indoors with no equipment, then with equipment, then outdoors in a boring area. See above about the parking lot. It's what helped my dog, but your dog might need something else.
More details here: http://www.stubbypuddin.com/2014/07/loose-leash-walking-summary.html
<When she starts pulling, I stop and don’t move again until she comes back to me, sits next to me and looks at me>
The stop and start method can be useful but can also be problematic. See more details here: http://www.stubbypuddin.com/2015/02/loose-leash-walking-part-10-pitfalls-of.html
If your dog has any fear or reactivity issues, I'd work on those separately
Loose leash walking can be challenging for a lot of us. It took me a long time to teach Puddin (and we are still far from perfect). Hang in there.
Additionally, check out everything by Leslie McDevitt (books and DVDs). Lots of great info on helping a gain focus and attention. Check DogWise, Cleanrun, and Tawzer.