Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to walk your dog without a leash in a park? Of course it would!
The key to training your dog on this, or any other thing, is doing it right and FIRMLY in the beginning, not teaching haphazardly. The Shadow Game is a good way of getting that foundation right for polite behavior and recall.
- Start in a quiet, familiar environment. Pack up some treats for rewards (try these yummy homemade treats).
- Put your dog on a leash.
- Walk around in any direction.
- Whenever your dog catches up to you, give him a treat.
- If your dog gets ahead of you, turn 180 degrees, then put the treat on the ground to get your dog’s attention.
- As he eats the treat, walk ahead a few steps.
- Be ready for him to catch up to you again. Give another treat when he does.
- Keep walking. Go forwards, backwards, to the side, slow, fast, run, stop, go around things, over things and anything else you think of to have your dog “shadow” you.
The idea is to get your dog to follow you WILLINGLY (not dragged). If he is surprised by a quick turn, go a little slower and show him what you are doing. Dogs love to follow movement and they will match your speed. Be creative for more fun.
After a few weeks of this training, try your dog at a park (preferably one that is empty) and see if you can keep your dog relatively near you and returning to you.
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