This exercise is Partnership at its best. We are helping our dogs get out of a tricky situation. This builds a sense of trust and safety. 

We can put in all the effort in the world to set up our training or walking environment… just to be surprised by a trigger appearing out of nowhere! 

This one’s designed for those ‘I need to get the heck out of here and fast’ moments.  

First of all, choose a verbal cue. Something that comes quickly and easily to mind. ‘Let’s Go’, or ‘This Way’ are common examples. 

 As with any new exercise, start in a calm, controlled environment before relying on it in a real life situation. 

  1. With your dog on lead and both of you standing still, say ‘Let’s go’. Give your dog a reward regardless of what they are doing.
  2. Repeat, repeat, repeat until your dog looks at you when they hear the cue.
  3. Next, from standing still, add a turn. Say your ‘Let’s go’ cue and pivot away so you end up facing 180 degrees from where you were originally. Mark and reward. You are turning away from your dog. If your dog walks on your left, turn clockwise. If you walk your dog on the right, turn anti-clockwise. Repeat, repeat, repeat until your dog is fluidly moving with you as you turn.
  4. Once your dog is turning fluidly with you, take a couple of steps forward in the direction you’re now facing. Mark and reward. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
  5. Now it’s time to try it as you’re walking. As you’re walking forward in a straight line, say ‘Let’s Go’, turn, walk a couple of steps forward in the direction you’re now facing. Mark and reward. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
  6. Increase the number of steps you take before marking and rewarding. This will allow you to put more distance between your dog and the trigger.
  7. Practice in increasingly distracting environments.

Tips 

  • Leads should be loose and relaxed, like a smile.
  • Keep those turns nice and wide.
  • If following the multi-dog method on the right, having treats on both sides in a pouch or pockets can help when rewarding two dogs.