One of the biggest complaints I have heard from dog owners as a dog trainer is about how their dog walks on leash. They pull, they are reactive to neighbors, they become cujo when they see another dog, they don't listen. The list is neverending.
When I began Leash the Dog Services, the idea was to use dog walking and pet sitting to gain experience and help pay for everything it took on the road to becoming a dog trainer. We opened April 18th 2018 and on April 28th, I took my very first with this guy, Diggs. He was a three-legged, reactive pit mix. He was on the younger side, full of energy and just a little more then his owners could handle. I walked him 4 times a week. But it was more than just walking. It had to be. Otherwise, he would lunge and bark and react to just about everything that passed by. He would pull, he would fight the leash. It was anything but pleasant. But it didn't take long for us to find what worked. We would use our walks to work on his reactivity. I taught him to check in when he was feeling uncertain. He learned to slow his pace when he felt pressure on the leash. I will always consider him not just one of my first clients but my first training client. He was the best boy. Unfortunately, he had a large mass that tangled in his intestines only a few months later and had to be put down. I am grateful every day I got that time with him. He taught so much and showed me my own potential. I owe him (and his amazing owners) so much.
So fast forward to today, in 2021. Today we offer a Leash Skills program. The structure is pretty simple. One of our trained walkers takes your pup out for an hour walk two or three times a week, and then you meet with a trainer for thirty minutes once a week to go over what we've taught your dog, so you have the same tools to work with. It is scheduled on a monthly basis, as every dog is different. Some pups only need one month to get the hang of it, others need a few months.
We focus on building your dogs confidence out in the unfamiliar environment. They will learn to check in with you while they walk. The goal is for both of you to enjoy your walks, so we give them space to smell the roses and do their business but they learn to respond to leash pressure. They know they shouldn't pull, and when they see something that they aren't sure about or something they feel really excited about, we want them to turn their attention to you.
We'll also help you find the right fit for what you should be walking your dog in. Every dog out there is different. Some dogs do great in a harness, some require a little more security and work better with a martingale. We have also seen amazing results in certain dogs with head halters and even prongs. (Yes, I said it. We use prongs. Because for some dogs, its what works) There is no judgement here. We want to find what is going to work for both you and your dog.
You should both be allowed to enjoy your walk. Otherwise, whats the point?