My dog is great off-lead on walks; however, whenever I try to get her back on the lead to go home, she becomes very problematic and runs away from me. What should I do?
Tony says: This is a common issue and it occurs because dogs are so smart at forming associations. It is likely that your dog now sees the lead as the end of her fun and home time!
Spend some time initially, both indoors and in your garden, changing the association from “home time” to the lead means “a tasty treat”. Call her to you, clip on the lead, give her a treat (for example, low-fat cheese or liver cake) and then unclip the lead. That is one repetition; carry this out at least 10 times a day, for a week.
You can then progress to the park; but, initially, ensure there are not many distractions around. Unclip her lead, hold her collar, clip it back on, and treat! Then, release her. Again, in the park, practise this multiple times. She needs to establish that sometimes the lead is released after it’s been clipped on — and she gets a treat! Clip the lead on, treat, and unclip the lead many times.
As humans, we must try not to be so predictable. Another tip is to finish the walk in a different location at the park each time. Dogs learn at which area of the park the walk ends and so avoid the lead.
Tony Cruse – A member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers.
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