With the Longline Workshop coming up this weekend, I wanted to take a moment to share some important information about longlines and why we as dog owners need to become more skilled at using them successfully.
In case you are new to Yooper Paws of Love and/or the idea of using a longline to walk your dog, here are a few previous blogs that may find especially helpful before attending the workshop this weekend.
First and foremost is making sure that your dog has the right gear to walk safely. Longlines come in many lengths from 15 ft to 50 ft. Personally, I make my own so I can make the length match the environment. For the purposes of this workshop, we will be looking at using a 15-20ft longline. Check out this post on Taking a Sniff-a-bout to learn more about choosing the correct gear and environments to practice with your longline.
It's also important to understand WHY we all should be taking a longline based sniff-a-bout with our dogs, daily if possible but at least a few times a week. Generally dogs walk at a much faster pace then us so it's unnatural for a dog to walk right beside their human for long distances. Longlines allow dogs to cover more ground, often moving side to side while sniffing which can greatly reduce the amount of time the dog is pulling to get from Point A to Point B. While we as humans, learn about our environment using our eyes and ears the most, our dogs learn about the environment using their nose first, then their ears. Check out this post on Environmental Processing to see how allow your dog to sniff can meet their needs and help to build their confidence in new environment.
Understanding how scents impact your dog's ability to walk nicely on a leash and how you can use their love of scents to improve leash skills. Check out this post for more on Scents & Loose Leash Walking
What the majority of my clients struggle with is how their dog acts when they see another person or dog while out on a walk. The dog might struggle with feeling unsafe or might want to greet the newcomer so badly that they loose control of themselves. Both are extreme emotions that often lead to barking, lunging, and pulling on the leash. This is the main focus of our Longline Workshop this weekend, to teach owners the basic skills they need for managing the leash around distractions before facing it a real life situation. Check out this blog, Introducing New Dogs Slowly to see a bit about the set up we will be using in Private Sessions and Mini-Group Sessions to help owners and dogs become more confident and/or less over-excited when seeing new dogs or people.
What to expect at the Longline Workshop
15 Minute Training Sessions
Once the leash is comfortable in your hands, we will walk with you around our "safe" light distraction area to help you practice your skills with the longline and teach your dog how to respond to your body movements and changes. We will also go over a few different ways to reinforce your dog for making great choices such as returning to you instead of pulling toward a distraction or checking in with you when they feel safe. There are several low key games you can play with your dog to help them focus on either you or the environment your in more then focusing on the distraction. We will teach you a few of these games to help.