From Jo Ann Mather, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lagging is a big problem, and one that is not easy to overcome. It usually indicates one of two things (or sometimes both)
- Lack of attention
If your problem is (1), try the "choose to heel" method. It's rather involved, so is covered on another page in more detail. Essentially, the dog is trained off leash and rewarded (given treats) when he is in the correct heel position. You gradually delay the rewards until you can get through an entire heeling pattern without treating. It takes time, but it works. One thing it does, for sure, is teach the dog that being next to you is preferable to being anywhere else; i.e., if the dog gets frightened or distracted he will come to you rather than taking off for the tall timber.
If the problem is (2) it could be a result of too many or excessive corrections. Although Shelties are not wimps, they are very sensitive and often when corrected will develop the attitude of "Well, if you're going to act like that forget YOU!" Are you working with a heavy-handed instructor -- one who's more used to working with other breeds? A leash correction for a lag is absolutely the WRONG thing to do. Instead, try breaking into a run in the opposite direction to activate the dog's chase instinct.
Lagging does NOT mean you're walking too fast! It's not POSSIBLE to walk too fast, especially with a lagging dog! The slower you walk, the slower the dog will walk. If you keep up a brisk pace, the dog will be more inclined to pay attention to you.
Evaluate what you're doing, too. Are you looking over your shoulder, hoping that the dog is keeping up? Your tentativeness communicates itself to the dog -- assume he's going to be with you and just step out and go! Keep it light, keep it happy. Keep it POSITIVE!