Saturday, 18 February 2012

Day One Tellington Touch/ Harness Trial

Dexter didn't have his first walk until we adopted him; he was 7 months old. The first few times he went for a walk he walked nicely. What I did not realise was that he was nervous, and once he got his confidence the pulling began. Dexter pulls really bad, to the extent he will often be walking along on his hind legs.

Every time I walk him at least three people will stop and  say "Who is walking who?", I have to smile like I haven't heard that one before. I see people in their cars smiling and pointing at the crazy spaniel, I guess he looks kind of cute on his back legs. In reality it's not good for Dexter to be walking in such unbalanced way and it's not good for my arms!

 In obedience class he does beautiful loose lead walking, but in the real world there are just too many people, interesting smells, and other dogs for him to want to walk calmly. I have consulted two different trainers to try to help; we have tried:

  • Using a clicker and food rewarding him when he walks to heel. I have been doing this for nearly a year.  I try to build up the distance between treats, but if the treats aren't constant he is back to the end of the lead.
  • Stopping and walking in the opposite direction when he pulls. He jumps to my heel as soon as I stop, walks nicely for a few steps, then he is off again.
  • One trainer suggested checking him, I just can't do it. Same goes for any kind of a control collar.
I saw an advert in a magazine for a harness, which is designed for kind reward based training and uses a method called Tellington Touch. I ordered one and it arrived today. It has two rings to connect to the lead, at two points, and is padded and lined with fleece.  I am armed with a book and I am going to have a go and see if we can figure this out ourselves, to improve his loose lead walking. If not I will contact a Tellington Touch practitioner. 

Dexter gets lots of exercise, and has lots of fun with his dog sports; but I would just like for him to be able to go for a nice calm walk through town now and again.  Training starts tomorrow!
Dexter modeling his new harness


  1. Good luck! I am so glad you are doing positive training. Sometimes it can be quite tough to train a dog to do something even when you use the "right methods". Tubby, our pug, is a resolute lunger/barker on leash, classic leash aggresion. Ive tried treat distracting for years but in our busy urban environment I have to combine it with management and he still sometimes gets the better of me and manages to bark and lunge his little fool head off. I always feel so embarrased when this happens. I am sure with your committment to Dexter the leash pulling well get better, but even if it doesn't remember you are great owners and he is a great dog!

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