Leo’s Walking Adventures
Since it’s National Walk your Dog Day, I’ll tell you all about the ups and downs of walking Leo. From the minute we brought Leo home we’ve been trying to positively train him to loose-leash walk, and unlike the many other tricks and commands Leo has easily mastered, loose-leash walking has never been one of them. When we were in his puppy class, he was quick to learn what to do when we had treats in our hand; but when we brought him home and walked him with treats near our home, he was much more interested in cars, leaves, animals, and pretty much anything that moved.
He’s been a puller since day 1. When he was a puppy it wasn’t so bad. We eventually got a harness on him because he would rather choke himself out than not catch the lizard. After he grew out the harness, we tried a choke chain that worked for a little bit, but then he got accustomed to it and continued to pull. At this point, he was packing about 60 lbs with pure muscle on the inside and fluff on the outside. He wasn’t too much of a problem for Erich, but I was no longer walking Leo. Leo was walking me. This, of course, took a toll on our walks because they were miserable for me and probably Leo too. Loose-leash training is really hard.
Someone at the dog park, who clearly saw me struggling with Leo, suggested I try the Gentle Leader, so we switched to that. This collar was my miracle collar. Leo, while he didn’t like it that much, took to it pretty well. It was great. Walking Leo was great. We could go on longer walks, and I wasn’t afraid he would take off on me. He was also a great companion when we went out to eat. The Gentle Leader definitely helped train Leo not to pull as much because we switched (again) to a regular harness and his pulling has been tolerable (unless there’s a duck). I haven’t totally retired the Gentle Leader, but for now it’s put away.
Training Leo to walk nicely has been by far the hardest challenge of his entire puppyhood (more so than potty training). We’re slowly getting there, and I’m sure as he gets older it’ll get better, but if anyone has any tips or advice, please leave a comment or reply to the blog. I would greatly appreciate anything that would help our walks become more enjoyable for both of us.