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Doggle Woggle giving me a forlorn look while relaxing on the comfy couch. I think he's putting on an act. October 2011.

Doggle Woggle giving me a forlorn look while relaxing on the comfy couch. I think he's putting on an act. October 2011.

We’ve had Doggle Woggle for just over a year now. Hard to believe because it doesn’t feel that long, even though I’ve put in many hours of training.

The most problematic behavior problem we’ve had to deal with is Doggle Woggle’s pulling while he’s on the leash. It’s more of a periodic frantic lunging really, enough to yank off an arm.

The reason this became a problem in the first place is that I didn’t know I had to train him to be on a leash. Clip a leash on a dog and take him for a walk … what’s there to know? My ignorance led to this state of dog walking disarray and it’s taken until just recently to see any progress in breaking him of pulling.

I was familiar with the advice to stop walking when the dog pulled on the leash. In soliciting advice, I was also told to say, “Whoa!” and “No pulling!” My brother said that the dog would stop pulling on his own when he got older … like 10 years older, when the dog slowed down with age. Thanks, bro! So helpful ….

Anyway, I kept stopping and saying different things, hoping Doggle Woggle would get the message and stop pulling. Within the last week, while I was walking and the dog was pulling, I accidentally said, “Stop pulling!” and stopped dead in my tracks. Doggle Woggle plopped to his butt. Wow! It was like magic. I couldn’t believe he had responded. To be sure it wasn’t a fluke, when he pulled again, I said, “Stop pulling!” and he stopped. It wasn’t a fluke!

We’ve been working on the command ever since. He still wants to pull and sometimes he won’t respond right away, but most of the time he gets the message and will either stand still or sit. We’re working most intensely on the lunging, but I’d like him to apply the same lesson whenever he puts tension on the leash. It’s a subtle thing and he’s a little young for subtlety, which is why I think he didn’t catch on until now, but we’ll get there. Especially if he keeps encouraging me with his progress.