Puppy won’t lis­ten to me

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - CONTENTS -

My first Labrador was a joy to train and I never used a lead at all. She was good and steady all her life. I lost her last year and now have a six-month-old bitch, but I can­not seem to get on the same wave­length as her. I tried with­out a lead but gave up, and I am still hav­ing prob­lems get­ting her to lis­ten — even on the lead when I can tug it to make her take no­tice.

I have also taught pup­pies to fol­low at heel with­out a lead, but that was usu­ally when they were tired af­ter a long run with the older dogs, and be­ing tired they were very com­pli­ant when it came to get­ting them un­der con­trol on the slow walk back to the ken­nels. This did not re­place us­ing the lead dur­ing obe­di­ence train­ing and I would never ad­vo­cate try­ing to ed­u­cate a puppy with­out a lead be­ing used at all. It is an es­sen­tial way of keep­ing an alert and in­tel­li­gent puppy safe and se­cure un­til it is taught to be un­der full con­trol off the lead.

Just be­cause she is on a lead does not mean that she should au­to­mat­i­cally pay at­ten­tion to you — the lead is just a means to an end and should not be used to try to tug her into a re­sponse. You now have to build mu­tual trust by teach­ing her that look­ing at you will in­stantly earn a treat. Each time she glances up give a treat — do not force her to look but wait un­til it hap­pens nat­u­rally.

With pa­tience, her at­ten­tion will fo­cus more on you with each rep­e­ti­tion of this pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment. Her ed­u­ca­tion should be plea­sur­able and this will also keep you in a pos­i­tive frame of mind to help the process move for­ward. PR

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