Golden Retriever Harnais

How I Turned My Golden Retriever into a Perfect Walking Companion

Once upon a time there was a Golden Retriever named Sandy. Sandy was a dog full of life, always ready to go on an adventure. However, every walk with him felt more like a sled race than a leisurely stroll. Sandy was constantly pulling on her leash, making each outing exhausting and stressful. But one day I decided to change that. Here's how I transformed Sandy into the perfect walking companion.

Understand the problem

The first step to solving a problem is to understand it. Why was Sandy pulling so hard on his leash? After observing his behavior, I realized that Sandy was not aggressive or dominant. He was just... distracted. He was so excited by everything around him that he completely forgot about my presence. So I decided to work on our mutual commitment.

Establish Commitment

Commitment is the basis of any good relationship, including that between a dog and its owner. To establish engagement with Sandy, I began using changes of direction during our walks. Every time Sandy started to walk away, I changed direction and called his name, saying, "Let's go, Sandy." If Sandy didn't react right away, I would pull lightly on the leash to redirect him. This technique helped strengthen Sandy's commitment to me and quickly led to significant improvements.

Foot work

Once Sandy started showing stronger commitment, I decided to take the next step: footwork. Heeling is a training technique that involves teaching the dog to walk calmly alongside its owner. To do this, I used a technique called "free shaping", which consists of gradually reinforcing the desired behavior without using specific commands. Every time Sandy moved too far ahead, I pulled lightly on the leash to bring him back to the desired position.

Positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a training technique that involves rewarding the dog every time it does something good. In Sandy's case, every time he looked at me or stayed by my side without pulling, I praised him and gave him a small treat. This helped Sandy understand that standing by me and watching me was a good thing.

Perseverance and patience

It is important to note that this process was not instantaneous. It took patience and perseverance to achieve the desired results. However, by remaining consistent and working regularly with Sandy, I was able to see significant improvements. In just 30 minutes a day, Sandy went from a dog who constantly pulled on his leash to a dog who walked calmly alongside me.

The result

Today, Sandy is a transformed dog. He is still energetic and curious, but he has learned to channel his energy in a positive way during our walks. He no longer pulls on his leash and walks alongside me, attentive to my movements and my commands. Walks became a pleasure for both of us, rather than a source of stress and frustration.

But more than that, our relationship has strengthened. Sandy learned to trust me and look to me for advice and instructions. And I learned to understand his needs and behaviors, and to communicate with him effectively.


Sandy's transformation was no easy task. It required patience, perseverance and a good dose of mutual understanding. But the result was worth it. Today, Sandy is not only a well-behaved dog, but also an ideal walking companion.

This experience taught me that training a dog is not just about teaching them commands. It is also about building a relationship based on respect and mutual understanding. And with the right approach, even the most stubborn dog can become a perfect walking companion.

Mario, Dog Educator (in training)

Partner Tao-K9

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