The Power of Consistency…

Part I

I was working with a client tonight and was reminded of another training concept that I feel is important.  We were talking about leash skills and how important it is to be consistent.  While it is true that I spend a lot of time encouraging my clients to be unpredictable to keep their dogs on their toes,  there are also some times  when a consistent pattern of behavior is appreciated.  Keeping the leash soft and tension-free is definitely one of those areas.  It is also something your dog can be taught to be in control of.  This can be good (if your dog is working to keep the leash loose), or it can be a nightmare (if your dog learns that pulling is the norm and an acceptable way of moving forward). So here is one place where consistency saves you a lot of training time.  You just really have to adopt a no-pull policy.  In other words, from now on we will not accept being pulled any longer.  EVERY time you pull ahead of me and I feel that leash go tight I will correct and turn the opposite way even if only for a few steps to get you back in line with me;  and only when I feel the leash is loose again will we move forward.  It is a tedious process  I know! But one that pays off in the long run.  If you are absolute and this is the law, your dog learns very quickly how fruitless it is to pull the leash tight.  You set a boundary for yourself and it must be respected.  Ultimately any behavior that you really want your dog to do without fail this must be your mantra. A word of caution, by the same token realize that any time you ask for a behavior as the leader you need to make it happen.  So as any mother of a small child will tell you, pick your battles.  If you don’t have the time to persist and make it happen don’t even ask! All you do is confuse the dog and show them that your cues sometimes need to be respected and other times not.  Instead, if you don’t have time to walk the dog properly DON’T EVEN WALK! One day without a walk will not kill your dog, you can always play fetch or run around the yard if your pup needs exercise.  Teach them that a loose leash is a state of being, whenever the leash is on there is never any tension on it.  Persist and you shall see the rewards of your labor, I promise.

So if consistency is king then being persistent is its cousin.  Check out Part II for more info…

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