Does the ‘W’ word strike craziness into your dog? When it is time to get the lead and harness out, does he go bonkers, hurling himself around the hallway like a whirlwind?
It can be exhausting and frustrating for us. After all, we want to get on our way, but that daft dog won’t sit still!
If this is your household, you are not alone. I meet many people who start to say the ‘Walkies’ word and then stop and ssh themselves in horror. They are slaves to this simple bit of English!
The good news is, there is an easy and straightforward solution. You will need: Yourself, your dog, a helper (not essential but will be a bit help), some treats, and a clicker if you use it.
Decide on common rules
First of all, decide that everyone in the family will teach the dog the same rules. It is best to make sure your dog learns a consistent lesson, otherwise he will confuse everyone’s signals and make mistakes.
Choose a place
Choose a place where you want your dog to sit happily to have his lead and harness put on. Most owners use a special mat for this, or maybe the bottom step of the stairs if your dog will fit! Hold a treat in your hand and encourage him to sit in this place. Say ‘Good Dog’ and give the treat. Let him move away, then call him back again, repeating the above until he is diving onto that place ready for his treat!
Next, whilst he stays sitting, start to attach his lead. If he wriggles about, be gentle but remind him to sit. When he does stay calmly, tell him ‘Good Dog’ and give another treat. Repeat this until you can easily attach his lead.
Ask your helper to hold the lead, or hold it yourself. Begin asking the dog to stay sitting whilst you move towards the door. You only need take a small step at first, before returning to your dog, ‘Good Dog’ and another treat.
(Note: You are only offering some tasty nibbles for this training, so your dog will not get fat! Simply reduce his dinner a small amount, and do not overfeed him with other snacks).
Finally, you can begin opening the door whilst your dog stays calmly seated with the helper (or you) holding the lead. Always return to your dog, praise and give him a treat. This builds up a reliable, calm behaviour around the door without your dog learning to make mistakes.