Leader or Follower….which one are you?!

Updated: Jun 9

How many times do you go out on a walk , let your dog off and then spend the next 20 minutes or so trying to negotiate and encourage your dog to come back to you? Or how many times do you witness an owner standing in the middle of a field ‘barking’ at their dog who’s literally stuck two paws up at them as they run off in the other direction?! Either way the dog basically doesn’t Respect and Trust you enough, doesn’t see you as the one in charge or has decided that something else is far more interesting than you ie A Rabbit! Recall is the one behaviour that I get asked to help with by the majority of clients. For me recall is one of the fundamental elements you need to achieve with your dog above and beyond anything else as it shows me that a dog wants to follow their owner. That right there is when you know you have a true ‘Leader-Follower’ relationship with your dog and that they trust and respect you enough to choose to follow you. This works with most dogs up to a point and that point is when Instinctual behaviour kicks in. The urge to chase prey is strong in a number of breeds of dog and that is sometimes when it all goes wrong! You could have the best recall in the world with your dog in a show ring or your back garden where there are no challenges but take them out into the ‘sweet shop’ for dogs amongst wildlife, trees and long grass and you can be shown up in a second by Instinct! One of the biggest mistakes people make is to let a dog off leash way too early before a solid recall has been developed. Leader-Follower work on leash is key in the first few months of a puppies development and the first few days of adopting a new dog. So get your dog on a leash and start teaching your dog to follow you by giving some gentle leash pressure and a ‘Lets Go’ command each time you turn left or right. Every now and then reward them through praise, toys or food as they recall to you. Try it for 10 mins at a time within your lead walk and watch your dog become a ‘Follower’ not a ‘Leader!’



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