Dog Walking Lessons
I do not offer traditional dog walking services. Instead, this training option is a specifically designed service to teach your dog proper loose leash walking skills. I will work with you, alongside your dog, and teach you how to control your dog. This is what makes me unique. Whether he/she is a puller, shy, or randomly stops or sits while walking, whatever walking issues you have, we can fix it! The best news is, training sessions are fairly inexpensive, and typically only will require 1 or 2 sessions to see huge improvements on leash walking.
However! This service is for leash issues, NOT reactivity... If your dog is aggressive/reactive toward other dogs/people on leash, you are probably in need of behavior modification. Either way, please contact me and we can discuss options! For more info on behavior modification training, please click here.
The Typical Dog Walker
You can find and hire plenty of walkers in the area. That's completely fine. That's great. Your dog will get exercise, get to go outside, develop social skills, and many other benefits. You can walk your dog too - all you want. More the better. But, if he/she is a big puller, they will stay a puller. That habit will not go away for a while. Most walkers, and most owners do not know how to handle these kinds of problems, or they just deal with it and accept this behavior. Most people can't train a dog to walk loosely by their owners side - or their walker.
I've seen it countless times - an owner screaming at their dog "Heel! Heel!" with their leash is extremely tight, forcing their dog to stay by their side, even though the dog wants to pull hard. I'm sure you can picture this if is or isn't your dog, right? As soon as that owner relaxes that leash, that dog will pull as far as they can... That's an issue. Unless your training your husky to pull a sled, or your pitbull to pull your carriage... Dog's should walk by their owners side, loosely, and calmly.
Why is Loose Leash Walking Important?
It provides structure, and Generalization. Generalizing simply means, teaching your dog that when you ask him to perform a behavior, it means the same thing regardless of the scenario or environment you are in. So, why is this important? Well, let me tell you what kind of calls and emails I receive regularly.
"My dog is great in the house, but when he goes outside all he does is bark and pull and doens't listen! Help!" ... " We've taken my dog to classes, and he still is crazy on walks. He listens in the house and sometimes friends houses, but we just can't take him on walks. It's like he forgets all his training!"
This happens more than you think. And you might even read that and think "that's exactly what my dog does..." Again, it's common. What's going on is, your dog has "generalized" that in your house, they have to listen, because there are rules and structure. When you took a training class he was perfect, right? Again, rules and structure. Then you walk around in the parking lot, right after class, and he pulls you to the car, right?? What's going on is, your dog understands there are rules and structure in these area's, but you haven't taught your dog to generalize during walks, while outside, at the park, at the beach, etc there are ALSO rules and structure while on leash. Proper leash handling is step one. Training your dog to walk by your side, loosely and calmly is always step one in generalizing and "proofing" commands. For more info on what "Proofing" means please click here to read more.
Proper Equipment and the Opposition Reflex
Having the right equipment is huge for training your dog to walk properly. But first, let me explain what the Opposition Reflex is. A dogs Opposition Reflex occurs when a dog feels some type of physical pressure and it stems from their predatory instinct to fight, flight or freeze. To put it simpler, when a dog feels physical pressure, they oppose the pressure with counter pressure.
Here's an example of a "Training technique" that makes it easy to understand. Have you ever tried telling your dog to sit, then push their butt down to the ground, and they resist the pressure and not sit? That's the reflex. They feel pressure pushing down on their butt, so they counteract the pressure by resisting and pushing against the force. Now, how does this link to walking? Well, lets say you're using a buckle collar or a hardness that a leash would clip on their back. Now you go for a walk... Well, I'll tell you this, your dog will probably pull immediately on this type of harness, and when they do, they'll feel pressure against their chest backwards, and they'll immediately want to pull hard forward to counteract this pressure, causing them to be a puller on the leash. When you do nothing about this, and use this type of equipment you are unknowingly creating a horrible habit while on leash.
Proper equipment might be a front clipping harness instead. Or a head halter. But what about choke chains, they work, right? Honestly, no. I feel they are the worst thing imaginable. Just like a traditional buckle collar, when they pull, they'll feel pressure against their neck backwards, and it'll cause a dog to pull hard forward. But now, it can choke your dog severely whilst they are acting on instinct. You see? Horrible equipment.
Knowing this information, you can see why a professional trainer can be very beneficial to have to educate you on proper equipment, handling, and available for a couple lessons on leash walking to set you on the right path.
What Exactly Do I Do?
I will meet you at your house for an initial consultation (plan on at least a half hour or more of talking), then I will take your dog AND you(the owner) on a 30 minute walk. I want you with me during this whole process so I can not only teach your dog how to walk loosely, but to teach YOU how to handle your dog properly. So, plan on our first meeting to be about an hour and a half or so in length. It should only take me 15-20 minutes or so to get your dog walking nicely for me, but it's my job to teach YOU how to handle and control your dog afterwords. Sometimes extra time is needed to ensure everyone understands what to do and what to expect on walks. There's always a possibility for a longer session as needed at no extra charge.
After our first session, if you'd like to plan future walks to better your leash handling, try a different location, or to brush up your skills, additional walks will be cheaper than the initial visit, and be 1 hour in length. You will also be accompanying me during these additional walks. I will never take your dog on a walk alone. The whole point of these lessons is to teach YOU, or your dog walker, how to handle your dog while on walks.
I will almost always exclusively meet you at your house for our first visit. I primarily will do this so we can have a consultation in your house prior to our walk. Secondly, your neighborhood will more than likely be the main area you walk your dog. After our first walk, if you'd like to have another session, we can meet at a different location if you'd like.
Initial Consultation + Walking Assessment (Plan on at least an hour and a half):
Additional Walks (1-hour):
Or use this link to contact me: Here