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Tuesday Training Byte: Leash Training an Exuberant Pup

I have worked with some young dogs recently that were all over the place when put on the leash. I mean they were moving every direction at once- or so it seemed. By appearance, they were sniffing and looking excitedly everywhere but not on me. Getting the put to move with us at our left side was too much to ask. For situations like this, I like to go back to focus games. I teach the "watch me" cue and use lots of good treats. For an inquisitive and excited young pup, the owner must be more exciting than the scents and things around that the dog is paying attention to. Rather than training for 30 minutes or more, leash up your pup for 5 minutes, but the five minutes you are expecting his full attention.Get the pup to follow your hand the has the treats, first with his eyes and in no time, he will follow with his body. Use the food lure to get your pup to sit while in heel position, then down, then back to sit and then lots of praise and a few treats. Again, starting with your pup in heel position, using the lure, have him watch you and then come to front. Move to the heel position and again using the food lure, ask for two steps forward and then down. While down, drop to your knee to give the pup and good belly rub and attention and then release the dog from the training session, saying something like, "Yes! good work!" Okay! Mixing up what you are doing and where to follow the food lure will get the pup eager to move where the food is and less eager to sniff and dash around. On the third short session like this, hold the food lure by your left knee and ask for the dog to heel but this time 4 steps. If your pup is a small breed, you may wish to use a bit of dog safe peanut butter on a long wooden spoon to lure him into position. In a couple of days your pup should be heeling fairly well and able to do a figure eight around two cones.

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