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Tuesday Training Byte: Setting Training Goals

As I am training, I like to set my training goals. I might have the ultimate goals in mind like a championship, or national ranking in Rally obedience, etc. But my training goals are the building blocks I plan to work on that week. With a pup, if you are just beginning to learn loose leach walking, then my goal will be to be able to walk with the pup on a loose leash for five consecutive steps in a straight line while remaining in the approximate proper heel position. If the dog does it five steps, stop and praise your pup or offer a treat. Just relax a couple of moments and try it again. If the dog seems to be focusing and doing well, don't just push the limits and keep on walking waiting for your pup to mess up. This is also boring to your dog, so mix it up and do you best to not ask for too much too soon. If the next time your pup regresses, change it up and play some focus games for several minutes, then ask your dog to do something like sit, that you are pretty certain will not pose a problem. When you dog does that, end the session! This way you will be setting your dog up for success, and remove the frustration that you both may otherwise experience. This way your dog will be eager for the next training session. Start out this session with a few focus exercises before setting out for loose leash heeling, and this time try for 7 steps. If your dog does the 7 steps well, stop and praise your dog. If your pup knows any basic tricks, throw a couple of those in before setting out for heeling 4 steps then then turn right before ending your session. If you can't even take 3 steps in a straight line with no pulling- go back to square one with building focus. Your pup should be watching you. Happy heeling!


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