Achieving Balance and Harmony

DOG TRAINING

Puppy Distracted on the Walk

Dear Cesar,

I have a nine-month-old, 100 lb puppy who I walk every single day for the amount of time you recommend in your new book. My problem is he is getting to know a lot of people in my neighborhood and now every time I pass someone I know on a walk, he insists on stopping and walking with them and refuses to go at my pace... even if I start to run ahead.

I have tried every style of collar I can find, including choke and pinch collars, and the upside-down leash that I've seen you use many times on your show.  Whenever we walk somewhere new, he is fine and does not react to strangers and just passes by.  He knows that I am pack leader - that is until someone we know is around.  How can I get him to snap out of it and continue at my pace when we encounter familiar people?

Thanks,
Matt Korfhagen

Dear Matt,

When you pass by your friends,  what is happening is that your dog is attracted to their familiar scents.  In order to redirect the behavior, you need to change those scents.   To do this, get a bag of nice-smelling treats, available at most major pet stores.  Avoid dry treats, because sometimes dogs are less interested in their smell.  Put the scent in front of your dog’s nose, so that he knows you have the food. Then, as you walk away from your friend, give him a treat. Make him work a little harder for each treat.  Give him the first when he walks 10-15 feet away, then the next when he walks 5 feet more, then an additional 5 feet, and on and on until you complete the whole trip.  Eventually, the only time he gets a treat is when he arrives at home.  

Stay calm and assertive,

Cesar Millan


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