One, two, three: Get Loose Now!

Rufus walking next to me at City Park in an easy manner.

Happy post Valentine’s Day, or as I like to say, Happy 50% Off Candy Day! My valentine is loose leash walking. I ♥ loose-leash walking. We are becoming a thing.

Rufus and I have been taking regular walks in some places where he might get a little distracted. We have to be Sophie-free because she is a puller. She is good in nearly every other respect of doggery but her walking-at-heel skills remain poor. It is she, I believe, who taught Rufus the vice of pulling on leash.  She is spoiled, yes, and I have learned this lesson.

Rufus has been making enormous strides. We have a long ways to go in many other behavior areas, but he seems to enjoy walking next to me. It all comes down to the constant stream of treats. He is making the connection that treats=a job well done=something to keep doing. While Sophie will only do something if there is a guaranteed treat involved, Rufus is figuring out that doing this behavior all the time is the thing to do.

He gets a little excited at the start of his walks. He doesn’t yank the leash or lunge forward, but there is a lot of energy and he will often try to walk ahead of me. It takes a few tugs from me and a sharp “heel” for him to get into place. Then if he does that he gets a treat and a “good boy!” Since he’s about a year it isn’t hard for him to get distracted. Fortunately on our latest walks distraction has not been in the forms of humans or other dogs. It’s tall, dried grass (which he just wants to sniff) and geese which are pretty weird looking, I have to admit.

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