In most cases, working with dogs on leash has a fairly uniform “look”, one handler with some sort of tether to the dog. For some dogs however, there are limitations to this common approach. Tellington TTouch works on a Feldenkrais principle that the nervous system pays more attention to something that is not habitual, ie. unfamiliar or different.
The “Homing Pigeon” leading exercises are an excellent way to change any undesirable leash habits and help improve a dog’s balance with a handler. These exercises are not ones that necessarily have to be done repeatedly or frequently.
The experiential learning achieved in even one or two sessions can often transform even long term on-leash habits positively.
Under the umbrella of the “Homing Pigeon” leading exercises are:
The Half Butterfly is the cousin of the Butterfly. Exactly as it sounds, the Half Butterfly is essentially the Butterfly leading position with a single handler. The Half Butterfly stabilizes the harness and prevents any lateral movement.
It is not generally a Homing Pigeon exercise since it has one leader although it can be used with a second handler.
The lead length gives you ample room to allow the rope to slide some distance, especially helpful with large, pulley dogs.
Allowing the slide breaks up the Opposition Response so the dog has nothing to pull against, and comes back into balance.
The Half Butterfly is a good option when you are alone and want to give a strong dog more space or to work with a second person when coaching a client.