I’m pet sitting for a couple dogs right now who are both very well trained. I know this because they perform the ‘Sit’ voice command really well when I feed them, give them treats, or put their leashes on. They have had dog obedience training and they know them well.
Now, speaking of putting their leashes on, when I take them for their walk, it’s a different story. The female, named Sora, is pretty good on the leash. She is older and calmer. The male Labrodoodle, named Lucky, is still young and easily distracted. Very easily.
He snaps his neck back and forth quickly looking at the next thing he sees or hears. He really has a hard time keeping his attention on any one thing. When he walks, he walks calmly for a few steps, then he lunges a bit. When he reaches the point where the leash stops him, he repeats this. He will also turn in front of me when he lunges forward and reaches the tension point of his leash.
In the beginning, I found myself giving him a correction each time he would lunge forward with a quick snap of the leash. This was getting me nowhere fast, and it did not stop the behavior. Then, I gave myself a correction and took my own advice from my own post of “Dog Training is not Yanking the Leash, it’s Commands.”
How I Used the Voice Commands
I know that they are both well trained, so here are the steps I took to make my life easier.
- I stopped with the dogs and settled them down into a sit.
- We proceeded slowly, and when Lucky started to try to get ahead of me, I gave him a loud ‘Ah Ah’. He responded right away and kept by my side.
- He still didn’t respond quite as I wanted, and I was walking them both on my left side. So, I switched Sora to my right, and kept Lucky on my left. This made a world of difference. Part of his distraction was having Sora walking right next to him.
- I stopped them at all instances before crossing the street.
This made all the difference in the world. It worked like a charm. I maybe had to do a few small leash corrections, but for the most part I was just using my voice to control him.
Sure, I had to use voice commands a lot, but it is far easier and less of a strain than physically trying to do a leash correction each and every time. That is a lot of work, and it makes the walk unenjoyable. This way, I simply talked to him a lot.
We even came across some dogs fence fighting as we walked by. I stopped right in front of the fence (the dogs could even look out at us between the planks), and made them sit and stay calm while the dogs behind the fence continued to bark at us. They easily sat with the voice command. Eventually the barking dogs stopped.
We continued our walk, and Lucky kept getting better and better at walking calmly by my side. The lesson? If you train your dog, keep using the commands that they know. Use your voice commands often and you won’t have to do a leash correction all that much. The more you use your voice to control your dog, the more they will listen to you in all situations. It will make your life so much easier.