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My Favorite Things


for a Walk


Treat Pouch

Grab that treat pouch, every walk! You need to be ready to encourage the behavior you want to see, and to joyfully bring pup's attention back to you. I can't tell you how often a client with a 9-month-old pup calls saying they need a refresher on polite leash walking, and I ask about their treat pouch. "OH, um, I need to go find that." Guys, this is your currency, your teaching tool. Don't head out on a walk without your treat pouch. 

Martingale Collar

If you've ever had a dog slip out of a collar, you'll appreciate the Martingale. It's a nylon collar that can be worn all day at a relaxed fit, but it tightens just enough when the dog pulls on leash, to keep the pup safely with you. (Get the kind that has a buckle, rather than the kind that slips over the head. Those are too hard to get off.)

Easy-Walk Harness.

Want to start a fight? Ask three trainers what their favorite harness is! :) But no matter what you pick, please use it only for walks! I see so many harnesses meant for walking that well-meaning owners keep on their dogs all day long. Ugh!!! Do you know vets regularly have dogs come in rubbed raw in all those contact spots because their owners didn't notice how it tightens and rubs as they shift in different positions?  If your harness is too complicated for you to take on and off several times a day, I suggest the Easy-Walk which is simple to put on and off. Oh, I know, folks worry about the shoulder pressure . . . here's the thing: your leash should be loose most of the time! If your dog's pulling through the whole walk, you're not ready for that walk! Time to practice engagement at home, and with a long line in a park. (Click above to see my video demo.)  

6-Foot Flat Leash

I've used a thousand leashes. I, too, succumb to the marketing! But the best leash for basic walks and training is this simple standard. The thinner ones can hurt your hand, the thicker ones are too bulky. (Oh, and here's why retractable leashes are, well, horrible.)

Long Lead

One of the VERY best (and easiest) things you can do to let your dog be a dog -- which dramatically cuts down on "behavior issues" -- is to give them a good long chance to sniff good stuff in nature. Get a long lead. Start with 15 feet and as you get good at managing the length you might want a longer one. Go to a nice big park and let your pup sniff wherever his nose takes him. This is a great place to do some fun recall training. Just as pup is about to head back to you, turning your way, give out a big enthusiastic call . . . then reward the heck out of it. Do that enough and you'll find he ends up sticking near you a lot even with the nice freedom of the long line. (And no, please do not use a retractable. Here's why.) If you start to love using a long lead, check out the more expensive but fantastic ones from Trailblazing Tails

These heavy, stand-alone gates are life-savers! Use them to keep pup wherever works for that moment. 

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