Step 3: Mechanics

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Now, lets start thinking about the mechanics of polite walking. If you are walking around with a handful of treats, your dog is likely to follow you. So in the beginning, it is helpful to show your dogs the treats and then hold them up at waist level as you walk. Take a couple steps and then feed. Lather, rinse, repeat!  

If you want your dog to walk on your left side, hold the leash in your right hand and let the leash hang slack in front of your body to your dog. Set up your treat pouch on your left side for easy access with your left hand. If you want your dog on the right, hold the leash in your left hand with the slack across the front of your body. Swing your treat pouch over to your right side for easy access with your right hand. This will prevent you from having to twist your body to feed your dog in position (Step 4.) It will also prevent your dog from lunging in front of you to get to the treat hand. 

As you are moving with your dog, mark the desired behaviour (walking at your side with a loose leash) with a “yes” or a click, and then feed. It is important to avoid reaching into the pouch until AFTER you mark the desired behaviour. Once you’ve moved past the luring stage, you will also want to avoid holding treats in your hand down in front of your dog’s nose. Basically, keep your hand at your side or behind your back until AFTER you click.

Most people find that using the clicker on walks is too much. If you choose to use it, place it in the leash hand. If you prefer not to use a clicker, use a short (consistent) word like “YES!” instead. A verbal marker is just as effective as the clicker if you treat it the same way.