For this step, you need an area that is large enough to walk around a bit but not so large that your dog can build up too much speed. Indoors is probably going to be easiest for most of the people in the USA right now, where the weather has been wintry and awful.
Outdoors will work for you lucky people who are living in kinder climes; if you work outdoors, make sure that the area is not too large for you to keep up with your dog. It may help to section off part of your yard with whatever cheap barrier you can find. Since it doesn't actually have to be dog proof, it can be as simple as low poultry netting strung from convenient supports.
You will need your collar, leash and an easily dispensed treat.
You're going to wander around your walking area with your dog, practicing having your dog do turns, zig zags, serpentines and circles while you walk relatively straight within the confines of your area. As you walk, your maneuvers should take up one to three of your strides before you click. That means that you cue using that feather light pressure until your dog and you have successfully completed the maneuver; the pressure shouldn't be applied for more than a maximum of three of your strides.
It is very possible that when you are walking around, your dog may lose focus on what you are doing and start to go elsewhere. This is where you can use that chick's heartbeat of flutter on the leash to get attention again while you follow your dog. Why do you follow your dog? Because how can you keep your touch on the leash feather light if you are trying to pull your dog to go your way? What you want is for your dog to decide to turn back in response to your cue rather than you using your superior weight to muscle your dog back into position.
See why you don't want to be working in an area that is too large for you to keep up with your dog? <G>
It is possible that walking around may re-activate your own tendency to pull on the leash. This may be time to bring out that raw egg again! Or to use a thread loop to attach your leash to the dog's collar. I know you don't mean to pull on that leash but it's very, very difficult not to revert back to doing so when under pressure.
So, how is everyone doing with their LLW?
M. Shirley Chong
Grinnell Iowa USA
Wednesday, February 27, 2008 9:58 am