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Positive Dog Parenting

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS/P

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Exercise enthusiasts know that jogging is one of the healthiest forms of aerobic exercise for both the human and canine jogger!  A dog is a wonderful jogging or walking companion but it is more fun for both if certain rules are followed. For safety purposes, it is helpful to teach the dog to ALWAYS wait for permission before crossing a street.

The goal is for the dog to stop at the curb because he or she understands "wait," not because the leash is holding the dog back.

Whoa Nelly!

Just before the curb, tell the dog to "Wait."  This Instruction cues the dog to stop and wait for permission to cross the curb. If the dog  steps off the curb without permission, pull the dog back or use a body block and say, "No!"  followed by the Instruction, "Wait."  Praise the dog for complying. You may want to ask the dog to sit and wait. Do not do any heavy jerking. Simply make it impossible for the dog to proceed once the "wait" Instruction is given.

Don't hold steady pressure on the leash but do let the dog stand at the edge of the curb. If the dog steps off of the curb again (without being given permission), you just simply pull him or her back again or use a body block and say, "Wait." Then apply pressure to the leash or use your body to move the dog back an extra few feet on the curb. This may have to be done repeatedly before the dog understands what you are trying to communicate.

When the dog has been moved back several times, he or she will likely give up and not try to step off the curb. Look for this and praise the waiting at the curb, as long as the leash has no pressure. The goal is for the dog to stop at the curb because he or she understands "wait," not because the leash is holding the dog back.

After the dog has performed the "wait" Instruction, say, "Let's go" as the release word. Then, YOU lead by stepping off the curb and encouraging the dog to follow you. Practice this exercise on every curb until the dog reliably learns the "wait" Instruction.

Moving Beyond The Curb

Once the dog has mastered the "wait" Instruction (i.e., the dog automatically stops at each curb), you may decide you want to cue the dog to either wait or continue moving at curbs. Make sure you give the dog the cue word, such as "wait" or "let's go" to help the dog learn that you are setting the rules. The dog needs to learn to pay closer attention to you as you approach a curb. It helps is you use treats to reinforce the dog watching for your cue and following your lead. 

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