Beginnings for Luna🐾
“Don’t be discouraged!”
Luna was the typical two-month-old puppy when I brought her home. I was determined to achieve a loose lead with a flat collar; she had a different idea. Let me tell you the first year was a challenge! Now, just past her second birthday, we are almost there! I do occasionally resort to the chain lead, but for the most part, she does great. Beyond our loose lead work, she has mastered several commands–including some two-word ones. Of course, she has a “heel” down pat; but I’ve also taught her “right here” which means stay close usually within three to four feet. This command applies to both on the leash and off.
A Penny for Your Thoughts
~ everyone has their opinion readily available.
I had people tell me some dogs will never walk nicely; you’ll probably just need to get one of the compliance collars … weeelll, my dog is amazing, and I don’t like to fail 😊
~We too, got trapped into the miracle momentarily.
When we first started leash training, anything out of a heel, she wanted to pull like a sled dog! I was determined to have a dog that could walk nicely on a leash with a flat collar. The first six months or so when I walked her it took both hands. It was an exhausting, and constant battle (she’d pull, I’d set her back in place, without fail). We went on an extended weekend trip with friends to relax (lots of walking). I was on this mini vacation to relax. Battling Luna was more than I could handle. Therefore, I went straight out and bought a soft pull lead. It was a miracle!! My dog walked nicely!! …. It was such a relief. This change in direction worked for about a week-ish. By then, Luna (being the smart girl type) figured out how to pull forward with her head being angled to the side! My original determination waned–I had already given up. I then purchased a side pull harness; it was a miracle!! My dog walked nicely!! … for about a week-ish until she learned to lean into the harness and sort of walk sideways while she pulled!!
Change In Direction
After the various miracle devices, I (sort of) gave up on them and the idea of achieving the loose leash with Luna. I once again to the chain thinking maybe she’ll just have to heel everywhere we go. By now she’s probably just over a year–finally, I did get my miracle! I noticed with her chain on (not asking for a heel) I was now easily controlling her with one hand. The leash was almost loose in my hand! She was doing almost the same with the flat collar. Apparently, she only needed more voice reminders not to pull. At present, she has off days, but most of the time we have a loose lead when using the flat collar!
In The End
~There are easier ways to achieve results
I feel like there is an easier path than I took. Nonetheless, we are where I want to be, and we keep improving. If you have given up, don’t despair. If you take anything away from our experience, it is this: Don’t give up and don’t let others discourage you. Seek help from people who know what they are doing (Shela & Cliff!) in the end it is so worth it!
Everyone intends to get the training done. Out good intentions do not always yield the hoped-for result. Our outcomes typically vary. Each of us is unique as is as our Weimaraner relationship. Our biggest enemy is frustration. We understand the relief so many feel when they slap on a front-hooking harness or the Gentle Leader. Immediately, they question if the Nielsens know what they speak. We have never claimed to be the ultimate trainers, per say. Nevertheless, Cliff has accomplished many things with each of his charges. They all can walk on a lead decently and do many other things depending upon the level of work invested.
We have plenty of experience with these devices–the head halters and various harnesses. When we learned of them, we invested in them. We have a couple of drawers filled with different types. Everyone worked–got us the immediate compliance, but none of them yielded a level of compliance a person needs. What we liked, was even a child could walk the Weimaraner. Albeit true, it is so much the better if the child could walk the well-trained Weimaraner who honors the traditional flat collar. Then, no matter the situation, you have a well-trained Weimaraner. There is less chance of them walking out into traffic (because they are not wearing a special collar), or of them mowing someone down inadvertently.
It requires a give-and-take scenario. You cannot always keep the Weim reeled in. Freedom is important, but as we always say, “Freedom is must be earned.” When they are in compliance and able to gain this kind of trust, you also can relax ever so slightly. Well, we are talking the Weimaraner. If they find the opportunity to gain the upper paw, they are taking it.
Finally, whatever method you use it is important that you are doing things the right way. Honestly, I am not sure what using the chain means. Regardless, of your choice–there are guidelines and measures to ensure you are being safe that need to be heeded.