Consistency, Consistency, Consis - wait, what?
A couple of weeks ago, we explored the idea of "practice makes perfect" as it applies to your dog's behaviours. (If you need a recap: https://www.silverjetdog.com/blog/what-has-your-dog-been-practicing) If your dog has practiced a certain behaviour over and over, he's probably an expert in it and it will be difficult to change that behaviour.
But never fear! You CAN change the behaviour. Simply put, you need to encourage your dog to practice the CORRECT behaviour every single day and not the INCORRECT behaviour. To do this correctly and effectively, you need to be 110% CONSISTENT in encouraging the correct behaviour.
As an easy example:
Lets say your dog pulls on the leash. Hypothetically, how many hours of practice has he had pulling on that leash? If your dog is 3 years old, 1 hr walk a day, 365 days a year..... 1095 hours give or take a lazy Sunday. That's a lot of practice!
Now your dog is 3 years old and you are ready to really try to teach him loose leash walking. You are up against 1095 hours of learned behaviour. Seems a little daunting.
BUT, if for the next 2 months (59 hours for arguments sake), you made it your life's mission to NEVER let your dog pull on the leash, I think you would have a really good chance at making a dent and even changing your dog's behaviour.
When I say make it your life's mission, I am dead serious. You need to be 110% consistent. You can't work hard one day, and then give up and let him pull you the next. For one, that's horribly confusing and unfair to your dog (see https://www.silverjetdog.com/blog/the-human-dog-relationship-rebuilding-trust), and two, you are actually working against yourself by doing this.
So, moral of the story is: Consistency, Consistency, Consis - Yes I am serious.
Until next time, happy trails
Holly, Duke and Jax