Most dogs have
to be trained not to pullon the lead, but few puppies are "flopper", which
is far more difficult to deal with. The puppy that puts the brakes
on does so from fear, and the way to cure it is to take fear away by breaking
the exercise into small bites designed to ease the tension at every point.
First, the dog needs to have full confidence in its handler. This is
not achieved by being stern or pulling the puppy about. Confidence
needs to be established on home territory by being the best thing that ever
happened to that puppy, a source of comfort and friendship, as well as food.
Once that is established and the puppy toddles merrily at the owners
heels when off lead, it should be taken to a place just outside its familiar
territory, where the owner should sit with it and put the lead on. If
the puppy trembles, flops or fights the lead, the owner should stay calm
and still, like the eye of the storm. Presently the puppy will settle
close to, or more likely on, the lap of the owner. When relaxed, it
can be offered a titbit, and after 10 minutes or so, when its heartbeat has
come back to normal, the owner can stand and take a step towards home.
Most puppies will be eager to get back home and forget the hated strictures
of the lead long enough to get there, and this is one time to let the puppy
pull forward if it wants. Some take two or more sessions to get to
this point, others are there straight away.
Always remember that the puppy is not flopping to annoy you but because it
is frightened, so act accordingly.
reprinted with kind permission from Alastair Balmain
Deputy Editor:Shooting Times &
Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street SE1 0SU
Tel: 020 3148 4750