In a first session with a client and dog, we are teaching the beginning stages of leashwork. This involves helping the dog’s owner learn how to lead their dog with a loose leash, whether it’s with walking or simply following through with a command given. This is important because the rest of training relies on the foundation of the dog knowing not to pull on the leash.
The follow up to this session involves brushing up on leash skills before moving onto Ecollar work in the next session. That’s what we are doing with Linda and Tigger here in the video. We make sure we are good with our walking skills, then cover recall and stationary commands sit, and down, adding in the ecollar.
One key element to leashwork is learning how to physically follow through with a command. Reason being, dogs will usually not perform a command if they are distracted so having the ability to follow through with the command to completion allows for a much higher response rate from the dog.
All commands need a physical follow through if reliability is the goal. If off-leash ability is part of the goal, we must have reliability for safety reasons. It can be very stressful for a dog owner when they are attempting to recall their off-leash dog (or give any other command) and the dog chooses to ignore the owner (never happens, right?!). Having a physical follow through is how you overcome this.
What is a physical follow through? A physical follow through is guidance that the dog can “feel” that holds them accountable to completing a command. This can be done with leash and/or ecollar.
Why is a physical follow through important? It ensures the completion of commands given. This is not just important for dogs who are choosing to not listen to their owners but also for dogs who have zero motivation to want to listen. Fearful/anxious dogs can be part of this group and can hugely benefit from the accountability of following through, which leads to more clarity, confidence, and motivation (that may not have existed before).
For the cases of fearful or anxious dogs, giving the right physical guidance is part of the solution to get training started while building confidence. Simply holding a dog accountable to what you are asking of it, is one way of creating certainty for the dog while building that confidence, the reasons for which will be another post…stay tuned…