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When we’re walking our dogs, we’ll often be near distractions. I’ve got a short video with a tip to help you set your dog up for success.

 

In the video, I’m walking with Tater on a leash so we can rehearse success. The details on why Tater is back on lead are in my previous blog post for you… it might have something to do with cliff diving potatoes and chipmunks.

The quick tip I have is simple but powerful.

If you are walking somewhere where you know there’s going to be a distraction, keep your dog on the opposite side of the distraction.

When there is a distraction on the right, your dog walks on the left. If there is a distraction on the left, your dog walks on the right. It allows you to put yourself between your dog and the distraction. So say you are passing another dog, put your dog on the opposite side. A great behaviour to teach your dog is to switch sides on cue when you are walking.

The bottom line is that if there are distractions on one side and your dog is on the other, there is a higher probability of success.

If I were walking where there were a lot of distractions, I’d further my chance for success by putting my dog on a head halter rather than a flat collar or harness.

As you can see in the video, Tater walks nicely on a leash. There’s no pulling. If you want to know where to start, it’s with your dog’s Reinforcement Zone, and you can review my vlog post “How do I Stop My Dog from Pulling on the Leash?“.

Coming up, I’ll share how I’m transitioning to off leash walking with Tater. We want to always be evaluating “where is the value” for the dog. Is it with us or the environment? We want to build tons of value for good choices before giving our dog the option of making an undesirable choice (like chasing chipmunks).

Do you walk with your dog on the opposite side of distractions, or is it something you are going to try? Let me know in the comments. If you are experienced and have a cue for your dog to switch sides when walking, let us know what cues you use. My cues are “side” for my right and “close” for my left.

Today I am grateful for a haircut for 16 1/2 year old Encore as her dense undercoat created a extra unnecessary weight for her to carry around in the hot, humid Ontario summer… especially once that coat got wet and swimming is her most favourite summertime activity.