Raising a new puppy or adult dog is an exciting journey of discovery. During this time, one common error many pet parents make is offering their dog too much freedom prematurely. Let’s guide you through an effective training strategy that focuses on cultivating a dog’s ability to self-regulate and act in harmony with you.
Phase 1: On-Leash Management
A leash is a fantastic tool to manage your dog’s behaviours. It sets a framework for understanding boundaries and maintaining discipline. When your dog wakes up in the morning until it returns to its confinement area, it should remain on a leash. This control is crucial for preventing undesirable behaviours and habits. Two practical methods of using a leash are tethering to a sturdy point and tethering to yourself.
Phase 2: Introducing the Drag-Line
Once your dog anticipates and performs desired behaviours for two weeks, it’s time to progress to Phase 2, introducing the drag-line. Here, your dog still remains on a leash, but now with the freedom to drag it around. This phase is crucial as a safety net and a way to manage distractions while your dog learns new skills.
Phase 3: Testing with the Drag-Line
Phase 3 consists of two tests, spanning 25 days, to assess your dog’s readiness for off-leash freedom. The first test is the 10-Day Test, where your dog continues to wear the drag-line. If your dog requires physical or mechanical assistance during this period, it signals they’re not ready to transition off the drag-line, and the test resets. If your dog doesn’t require such assistance, it’s time for the 15-Day Test. The rules are the same, but the test is extended to 15 days. PS. When your dog is unsupervised, then the drag-line comes OFF.
Phase 4: Transitioning to Off-Leash
Once your dog successfully completes the 25-day testing phase, they’re ready for Phase 4, which involves off-leash training. Now, your dog should be well-equipped to act independently and in harmony with you. Remember, progressing too quickly can be detrimental to achieving reliable behaviour, so take it slow and ensure your dog is comfortable at each stage.
Through this gradual and structured training approach, you can guide your pet towards becoming the perfect companion, acting responsibly and independently. Happy Training!