(To find out what Sinclair’s Challenge is, check our post from yesterday.) Today, my goal was to find out what he could do, and to start working on what I know he has a problem with – polite walking. I knew he had already learned sit, down, and stay, but he surprised me with how well he knows them! However, there is a key piece to this puzzle that is missing. Watch and see what we need to work on:
We also started working on polite walking. Look how much can be accomplished in a 5 minute training session! I always tell my clients, don’t try to set aside big chunks of time to train. You’ll never do it, and your dog will lose focus anyways. Train throughout the day as part of your day – practice down and stay while you prepare dinner, ask for a sit before putting on a leash, etc. When you do formally train, try to keep it to 5 minutes and end while you’re both still going strong! If you want to keep training, great! But take a break and play a game or spend some time petting and massaging in between. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much faster your dog learns when they are given frequent breaks.
I teach polite walking by breaking it down into tiny baby steps. First, reward the dog for just being with me and not pulling. Then, reward for following while I take a step backwards. Then, I change direction frequently, rewarding every time the dog follows or changes direction with me. Sinclair is a laid-back kind of guy, so this isn’t the most animated example of this exercise. I’ll try to video the same thing with my other foster to show you what it looks like with a dog who likes to move.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the next steps in polite walking, and some work on the other test items! Can your dog take the 10 day challenge? Work along with us and see how far you can get!