Known for creating the BAT system, Grisha Stewart is a trainer who I highly admire. Behavioural Adjustment Training is for rehabilitating dogs who struggle with fear, frustration, or aggression. Grisha has written two books – Behavioural Adjustment Training
(2012) and BAT 2.0 (2016).
For me Grishas training principals just make sense. Her methods work by empowering the dog and so allowing them to make choices. When using the techniques in BAT 2.0 the human on the end of the lead is there to prevent the dog from making a bad choice.
There is also a big emphasis on reading the dog’s body language and working at their pace. The dog has control over the situation, which in turn boosts their confidence. Like an adult teaching a child, the long-term aim is that the dog knows how to behave in the situation without needing outside assistance. With BAT the focus is on interaction between a dog and another dog, person, animal, or object. I have helped rehabilitate several dogs over the years who have started off lunging and barking at other dogs, and have gone on to be able to appropriately greet them off lead.
Long line skills
A long line is an essential piece of kit when training a dog. It is a safety line and bridges the time between having your dog on the lead and letting them off. A long line is a lead that is 5+ metres in length with a clip on one end to attach it to the dog. It may or may not have a handle on the other end. As you can imagine this piece of kit can be difficult to manage, with the potential for dogs and people to get tangled in the line.
A trip to the New Forest
I only really learnt how to safely use a long line after attending a seminar with Grisha Stewart in 2016 in the New Forest. A big element of the new BAT 2.0 was the introduction of the long line to give the dogs more freedom to move around.
At that time I had a 1 year old Dalmatian who accompanied me to the seminar. He was a strong dog and was yet to fully master loose lead walking. Walking him on the forest with the potential for horses, deer and sheep around every corner was hard work. Using the line skills taught by Grisha meant I could give him some freedom to explore, yet keep him under control. I learnt how to safely control the length of the line so neither of us got tangled.
Loose lead dreams
From this I also brought in ‘leisure mode’ to my training. Dogs are living, breathing creatures who should be allowed to enjoy a walk as much as we do. They can be on a lead and given the opportunity to sniff and explore, whilst remaining under control. Being on a lead doesn’t mean they are either by your side glaring up at you, or out in front dragging you down the road. There is a happy medium that satisfies the needs of both dog and handler.
In my 21 Days to Loose Lead Dreams course I teach owners this Leisure Mode, as well as how to get the heel position owners desire. However I can guarantee after completing the course you will feel the need to have your dog in the heel position a lot less than you thought you would want to. https://dogownertrainingschool.co.uk/courses/21-days-to-loose-lead-dreams/
When it caught my attention that Grisha was revamping her lead skills and looking for a focus group to try her new ideas on, I jumped at the chance to be involved. I am always looking to modify and improve my skills and admire others that do the same. I can’t give too much away at this point, but the new adaptations overcome one of the big issues of having a strong dog on a lead – it being a tug of war with the potential for rope burn! The skills also add comfort when managing the lead on any size of dog. Grisha has looked at the bigger picture and taken techniques outside of dog training, and adapted them. In the short time since learning the new skills they are already becoming part of my daily walks.
Grisha Stewart. Effort-less dog walking: New innovations in BAT leash skills
If you are interested in finding out more about Grisha Stewards new techniques join the webinar: https://school.grishastewart.com/courses/leashinnovations
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