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Linda called Four Legged Scholars LLC in distress. Her German Shepherd, Evie was pulling so hard on the leash that Linda was getting injured.
She also was reacting by barking and lunging when she saw other dogs on leash walks.
As a result, Linda had not walked her dog in two years. She felt fear about walking her due to her reactions.
She also felt sadness because she really enjoyed running at Big Creek in Chardon and wanted to be able to take Evie with her.
When I showed up at the house, I was surprised how hard Evie pulled on the leash. As a professional dog trainer, I have seen many dogs pull on the leash but Evie was the strongest puller that I had ever seen. She pulled so hard that she was scraping her own nails on the pavement.
Inside the house, as soon as Evie saw the leash and knew it was leash walking time, she would pace, whine and sometimes jump. We started training calm behavior with the leash indoors first.
Evie learned to be calm in the house when she saw the leash. We did this in baby steps. Evie got rewarded when she was calm and just saw the leash.
She then got rewarded for being calm when wearing the leash while standing inside the front door of their trailer.
Lastly, she learned to be calm as she was wearing the leash while the front door was opened.
Her calm behavior consisted of looking at her owners and being quiet. Sometimes she would offer a sit as which was even more calm.
Once we got her outside the door, we worked on having her be calm on the porch and being able to walk calmly down the stairs. Again, we rewarded her for looking or glancing at the owners while being quiet to help her become more calm.
Now that we got Evie to be less excited in the home, on the porch and stairs while she was wearing the leash it was time to go leash walks.
Four Legged Scholars LLC, Dog Training Chardon Ohio recommended that the owners purchased a Freedom Harness. This harness has a back and front hook.
The front hook is similar to the Easy Walk Front Hook Harness. The front hook is on the chest of the dog. When you have a double ended leash that hooks both to the back and front of the dog you have amazing strength.
Go to here to find this harness by searching Freedom Harness in the search bar.
At times we have recommended the gentle leader head collar for leash training. However, this type of head collar does not work well when using the method below for leash walking.
It is too easy to yank your dogs neck and cause an injury. However, if you want to use another positive method to train leash walking a gentle leader could work well for your dog.
As a side note, if you choose to use a gentle leader please acclimate your dog to the gentle leader first. Jean Donaldson has a good video on this.
From there, Four Legged Scholars LLC, Dog Training Chardon Ohio taught the owners an awesome method to help reduce the leash pulling.
Linda starts her walks now by walking in a large circle with Evie on the outside of the circle.
She is taking a small number of steps and Evie is taking a large number of steps. This is perfect because Evie wants to walk fast and has a ton of energy to release before and during the leash walks.
Every time Evie pulls too hard on the leash, Linda walks in a large circle. As a result, Evie has learned to look toward her owner or circle instead of pulling hard on the leash.
The circle method worked extremely fast and Linda was able to walk her dog after immediately after we showed her this method.
Linda began by walking her dog in the neighborhood. She lives in a trailer park in Chardon. We then progressed to walking her dog at Big Creek Park.
Linda and I did numerous sessions at Big Creek Park until she felt comfortable walking her German Shepherd on the leash.
We weren’t concerned with a perfectly loose leash. We wanted Evie to walk in a way that was collaborative with her owner. She was no longer dragging Linda and was walking nicely.
Next, we worked on getting Evie to be more quiet on the walks. Linda learned that the circle method also worked great for the barking as well.
Before Evie barks at a dog her ears move forward and her eyes fixate on the dog. This is called “alert” behavior. When she shows this alert behavior it is time to break her eye contact with the trigger (dog).
Linda walked Evie in a circle which broke her eye contact and reduced her frustration because as she was circling she was able to release a ton of energy.
Linda expressed how much less Evie was barking on walks and how happy she felt now.
The process was now complete.
Linda was so grateful that she could now walk her dog that she even gifted Four Legged Scholars a blanket that she made herself. I will definitely miss working with them.
Johanna Teresi, Four Legged Scholars LLC