Some Quick Tips for Loose Leash Walking

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Joan Morse, CPDT-KA, CA-P1, CNWI, of Tailwaggers Canine Campus in Newark, Delaware, recommends Leslie McDevitt’s “Pattern Games” when teaching loose-leash walking. She describes one of those games:

“The Two Step: drop a treat on the ground. Take two steps forward while the dog eats the treat. The moment he looks up at you, click, drop another treat right by you and take two more steps. This game develops a pattern or rhythm for the dog that will keep his attention on the handler and keep him moving as she moves. You usually get a nice loose leash walk quickly.”

Jackie Moyano, of Wholistic Hound in Alexandria, Virginia, suggests targeting. “If the dog can target the end of a stick, the walker can hold the stick at knee level and have the dog target during the walk.”

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Viviane Arzoumanian, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, PMCT-2, of PumpkinPups Dog Training in Brooklyn, New York, likes the tried-and-true “treat-spitting” method: “Teach your dog to catch tossed treats, and teach yourself to spit treats for the dog to catch (I use string cheese). Practice walking with the dog first without distractions, spitting treats to the dog for eye contact and being at your side.

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WDJ's Training Editor Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, grew up in a family that was blessed with lots of animal companions: dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goats, and more, and has maintained that model ever since. She spent the first 20 years of her professional life working at the Marin Humane Society in Marin County, California, for most of that time as a humane officer and director of operations. She continually studied the art and science of dog training and behavior during that time, and in 1996, left MHS to start her own training and behavior business, Peaceable Paws. Pat has earned a number of titles from various training organizations, including Certified Behavior Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA) and Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA). She also founded Peaceable Paws Academies for teaching and credentialing dog training and behavior professionals, who can earn "Pat Miller Certified Trainer" certifications. She and her husband Paul and an ever-changing number of dogs, horses, and other animal companions live on their 80-acre farm in Fairplay, Maryland.

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