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follower
Walking on a loose leash is a difficult skill for many pups to learn. Try practicing in a quiet environment first, until puppy gets the hang of it
Follow Me

Be Worth Following

Make sure that your rewards are really great. For some, it may be a few treats rapidly delivered to the floor under puppy’s nose (and at your side). For others, it might be happy talk while licking canned food off your fingers. For others it might be a few moments chasing a tug toy at your side. Whatever it is, practice being awesome to your puppy before you start this exercise. That way, you will know for sure that your puppy wants your rewards, and you will also remind him that you are someone worth paying attention to.

  • Once you know that puppy loves your rewards, stop feeding/playing, put your reward out of sight, and walk away. Don’t wait for puppy, act as if you have somewhere to go and you trust that he will follow you. If your rewards were good enough he will.
  • Check and see if puppy is following. If he is, praise, stop and reward! (If he isn’t, see troubleshooting tips below.)
    •  It’s okay to be very generous. Your reward can take 5 seconds or more (longer than in the video)
    • The more you reward at your side (as in the video) the more puppy will want to be by your side when you walk (instead of in front of you). This goes for treats on the ground (put them by your heel), treats fed from your hand (feed puppy with his nose at the seam of your pants), and tug toys (deliver them at the seam of your pants and tug with puppy at your side while continuing to walk forward).
  • Stop feeding/playing, put your reward out of sight, and once again walk away.  If he follows, reward once more. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
  • As long as puppy is consistently following you between rewards, you can start to add a cue before stepping away. In the video, the trainer is saying “Let’s Go” before she steps away from the puppy (once puppy is following nicely).

This exercise can be done both on and off leash.

TROUBLESHOOTING

  • Try better rewards
  • Be in an environment with fewer distractions
  • Walk backwards (carefully). This is demonstrated in the video. Some puppies have an easier time following if you walk backwards. You can see in the video how this can easily turn into forward walking once puppy is following nicely
  • Keep puppy guessing. It is much easier to teach puppy to follow your direction if you are unpredictable. If you are just walking a straight line or down a sidewalk, puppy quickly figures out where you are going and likes to get ahead. If you are changing direction, you keep it more interesting, and some puppies seem to think it is a great game to try and keep up. It is easy to add steps later once puppy loves the game of following
  • Be mindful that you are stopping to reward and that you are always rewarding at your side
  • Don’t give puppy time to get distracted between putting the reward out of sight and starting to walk. Be rewarding and praising and then go straight into walking without any time for puppy to be distracted by his environment
  • Make sure that the puppy is following you, and not the treats in your hand. Hold them on the other side of your body, out of sight, or keep them in your pocket, until you are ready to reward