Why Won’t My Puppy Walk with Me

Should I let her explore?

The DOuG Trainer’s answer on Quora.com

*sigh*

It’s never about the dog. It’s always about the owner and its leader. Your dog is just your mirror: see the dog, see the owner. See the owner, you can predict her dog.

Dogs don’t care who’s the leader, so long as there is one. If it’s not you, it’ll be him. You don’t want that.

Dogs don’t care if you take over. They don’t object. They don’t take it personally. They don’t have that in their make up. They either lead or they follow–they don’t care! The human might care! It might cross our human minds, but stop yourself there and just let it go. Seriously!

Dominate your dog, in a calm, strong, and assertive way (that means zero aggression), and you’ll be so much happier you did.

Let her explore? Yes, but you decide when that time is, not her.

Every little success in your dog’s brain cuts you down as its leader. You want to stack the deck in your favor at all times throughout the life of your dog. The structure I’m referring to, the behind-the-scenes cause includes multiple layers over multiple time frames, and gets as complicated as you need to hear to convince yourself of its existence. Sharing that is part of what I do when I go to a client to train–not the dog–but the human.

So, let her explore when you decide it’s time to let her explore. Then she learns about her surroundings and you reinforce your leadership. You train her that you decide when she can learn about your environment. You decide when she explores, not her. That’s another feather in your leadership cap. That sounds like it’s nothing, but some of what leadership is about is stacking all the thin layers of seeming nothingness into a stack of something that adds up to real leadership. It’s part of what I do as a trainer.

Again, this is so intricate, much more so than I’m leading on. I need to communicate its existence, its reliability. Ask me in private in a DM and you’ll hear as much as you’d like and need to know!

Back to the Walking

In dog training, if you have a situation go from controllable to uncontrollable,review the occurrence and cut it in half: either A) cut the time frame in half, or B) cut its distance in half.

Assuming, then, that you’re still in training mode with your dog, take her through the same situation, but take her only to the half-way point.

If she becomes uncontrollable again, then you haven’t figured out its trigger yet. Divide by two again and repeat.

If she remains controllable, then her trigger is in the second half of the time or space.

The end result all clients learn from this drill is that the human is in control of the dog’s energy level–they just need to pay really, really close attention to their dog and their dog’s body language, and the human needs to stop the forward motion before the energy level gets to a level where the dog becomes uncontrollable. It’s easy, but it’s hard. It’s hard, but it’s easy.

A calm dog is controllable. A high energy level dog is difficult or impossible to control. NB: you want a calm dog; you want a calm dog all the time.

It’s all about the human, and it’s never about the dog.

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