|McEmn Great Danes|
|Nikki Riggsbee||Collar Setting and Gaiting Lesson|
Setting the collar:
The collar must be as high on the neck as possible and not allowed to slide down. This provides the most control and the nicest picture of the dog.
Pull the collar up high and forward under the muzzle against the jaw bone.
Slide the collar along the jaw bone to the junction of the head and neck, then hold the excess collar above the skull, between the ears.
Ideally, place the collar with the working ring under the chin. The collar's working ring is the one the collar slips through to make the collar tighter or looser. The advantage of having it under the chin is that you can keep it up high on the neck easier without having the collar any tighter than necessary. This is because for the collar to "loosen," it would have to fall "up" through the working ring under the chin.
In this position, the lead comes up from under the chin to the side of the dog's head. Less trained dogs can see the lead in this position and may bite at it. As a temporary step in training, move the working ring to the top of the head so the lead is held straight up from the top of the head. This way the dog can't see the lead and is less likely to bite at it. However, in this position, the collar has to be kept tighter to keep it high on the neck, which is less comfortable for the dog. So as the dog is trained, the collar can be placed as described in the paragraph above.
When gaiting the dog (after setting the collar), wrap the lead in your hand. If the working ring is under the chin, have the whole lead in your hand, and rest your hand against the dog's cheek to guide her. If the working ring is at the top, put most of the lead in your hand and hold it just higher than the dogs ears.
The dog should always be on your left. The lead should be entirely in your left hand.
Start slowly - large walking steps - and go in a straight line. As long as the dog moves straight and trots nicely with her head straight ahead, keep going and gradually increase speed. When she acts up or doesn't go straight ahead or bites the lead or breaks gait away from a trot, come to a complete stop, and start the gaiting over. No correction. Speed is the reward - she wants to go. But she only gets to go when she goes straight and trotting.
When she can trot nicely in a straight line, practice trotting in a large circle, always turning left - you on the outside of the curve and the dog on the inside on your left.
Laura uses the instruction "Trot" so you can say that when gaiting. And if you like, talk to her when she is gaiting nicely - Good girl! Good trot! Whatever you want to say.