I've been thinking, and reading, a lot about training lead walking. Of course I have. I've got a teenage Labrador. I'm not all that happy with the standard positive reinforcement advice - to stand still or about turn. It's extremely frustrating for the dog. That much negative punishment, applied again and again just isn't that great. Not that positive even. Anyway, one of the articles I read described asking a dog to walk on a lead as 'walking at the pace of death being asked to ignore everything that is interesting'. It did make me smile. It also prompted me to watch how Charlie 'walks' off lead. I walked him down a very quiet road last night for last wees (no pavements, and about 1 car an hour, we didn't see a car) and he was off lead. He stayed close to me, but he wasn't at heel. So a kind of off lead loose lead, really if that makes sense. He travels along much quicker than I can walk. Then he stops dead and sniffs. Then he takes off again faster than I can walk, and stops again. He zig zags, pulled around by his nose to explore this, and that. He backtracks, because a sniff pulls his nose round 'Oo! Missed one!' and he goes back to see whether that poo spot just rejected was ok after all...nope, it isn't, on we go.... All of this time Charlie was close to me, we covered the same amount of ground in the same time. Just at completely different speeds (mine steady, Charlie fast or dead stop). I absolutely agree that asking him to walk 'nicely' at my side is indeed asking him to 'walk at the pace of death ignoring everything interesting!'. Of course, because he can walk to heel if I ask him, he has now earned the right to not have to do so down a quiet country road because he'd heel if I heard a car and return to me immediately if asked. Poor Betsy is still on her lead... Random thoughts, but it just underlines to me how very much we ask of young dogs and lead walking. It's super hard for them!