Loose Lead walking

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Mattie
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by Mattie » Mon May 23, 2011 11:40 am

The best way to stop a dog from pulling is to never let them pull :lol: If they never pull they don't learn to pull, as your dog is already pulling you need to make sure he never pulls again.

With this method an ordinary harness is best, as soon as your dog's head goes in front of you, turn and walk the other way saying "This way" to encourage him to turn. He must never get to the end of the lead again, if he does he is reinforcing the pulling. You need to become very unpredictable with your turning so he has to start watching you. Once he is watching you his walking will get easier.

I found if I stopped to give him a treat I had to start at the beginning again so we make no progress, I was breaking his concentration and he couldn't work out what was happening and how he could figure out what to do. I treat at the end when the session has finished, I give a treat and lots and lots of praise.

You can do this before taking both dogs in the car, you will find that this will tire him out at first.
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Eider
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by Eider » Tue May 24, 2011 4:23 pm

i've done some little tiny improvements today that for me are like huge. but i've been reading some other posts and i understand that my timming is not right most of the times. i can practice the turn around thing when i'm in the park, but not really when i'm going from my house to the park. it's a narrow pedestrian walk and it gets more confusing.

but my problem is that he walks really faster than me, and he always is ahead me, so by the time i try to turn around, the leash is already tight. i try to turn around when he passes me once he's behind me, but again, faster than me, so by the time i turn around, again tight.

i realized that when i tell him "close" it's easier for me to make it right, but when he's close, he's expecting a treat, and i'm trying what mattie said about treat him just when it's over (which i found works better coz he doesn't get distracted, though it was the last time we did it today).

so could you explain it to me, like i was dumb, how should i do it so i get the right timming? i've read it on here the "how!, but i just don't really get it. i guess i still need to see some more videos so i can picture it better.

gpvinnie
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by gpvinnie » Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:49 pm

I need some advice on how to start! I have a 14 month old miniature goldendoodle who is small but STRONG!
He wears a easy-walk harness, still pulls with it but I have been way too lazy about training him LLW. (I could blame it on the fact that I didn't take him on walks in the winter/early spring because of my Raynauds, but my father walked him and was lazy too, we are both to blame ^.^ )

He has been to puppy and intermediate obedience training at a facility that is Victoria Stilwell approved - yay!
They use clicker training to teach the dog to LLW. That method did not work for Vinnie because he cannot get treats and continue to walk. They would have us start by taking two steps, then click and treat WHILE we take 2 more steps. My dog would always stop when I give him the treat. (That is, if he would get it from my hand, he is pretty short, and usually drops it in those situations and stops to try to find it) The next part was taking a few steps, click and treat but take a few more steps, stop, and then give a reward. That did not work well either.

I have experimented with the reverse-direction method. Let's say we are going North away from our house. I turn around when he gets ahead of me, and go South. He slows down and is attentive to me. Then I reverse and go North and he pulls again. He basically wants to pull in the direction away from our house.

So basically, I have read this thread and it seems I should be doing 10 minute training in my driveway, switching directions and teaching him to focus on me. I will try this tonight, but I think he will pull as we go away from the house and relax as we go towards it. Is that normal, and something he will eventually stop doing?

Do I stop taking him on long walks during this period? I never take him on the same exact route twice in a row (usually I mix it up every time) I was thinking about driving to another unfamiliar street, and doing the training there because then he won't know what direction he is supposed to go, but I suppose he won't generalize that to our house even if successful.

We do have a dog park close by but I really don't like it - it's just a rectangular piece of grass and all the big dogs beat him up.
I did take him swimming for the first time yesterday though, but we have to walk 1/2 a mile to get down to the beach so that is probably not a good substitute for long walks.

Sorry for the ramble.

To sum it up - I would just like some advice for how to begin - ie do 10 minute reverse direction training in the driveway 3 times a day, and don't do long walks until he gets the hang of it. ect ect.

Thank you so much for your time! This forum has been pure gold for a first time dog owner like myself.

jakesmom
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by jakesmom » Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:37 pm

gpvinnie wrote:I have experimented with the reverse-direction method. Let's say we are going North away from our house. I turn around when he gets ahead of me, and go South. He slows down and is attentive to me. Then I reverse and go North and he pulls again. He basically wants to pull in the direction away from our house.

So basically, I have read this thread and it seems I should be doing 10 minute training in my driveway, switching directions and teaching him to focus on me. I will try this tonight, but I think he will pull as we go away from the house and relax as we go towards it. Is that normal, and something he will eventually stop doing?
I had the exactly same problem with this method, and I've been trying to think were I may have gone wrong.

So, just to clarify, you are going north away from the house - he goes ahead of you - you turn and go south - he slows and pays attention you - you walk past your house he then goes ahead of you again so you turn and go north again .... Are you sure he actually goes ahead of you every time you pass your house , or do you turn and go the other way automatically, regardless whether he is ahead of you or not - only I'm wondering if I did that.

If you are sure he goes ahead of you, then I agree it would be a good idea to take him elsewhere to train him for ten minutes. I would also not just do an about turn, but also throw in a right or left turn every so often - basically keep him guessing and keep his interest - it makes it more interesting for you too.

DawnStorm
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Re:

Post by DawnStorm » Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:16 am

Mattie wrote: You can put some silky material over the straps were it is rubbing.

ps.
I covered Flanders' head halter with fleece material because I noticed it was leaving marks on her muzzle.
My current crew:
Bruce the Albino Dobe; Flanders the Belgian Malinut; Leela, Scuttlebutt, and Felix, da kitties.
All much-loved but not spoiled!

PinkDice
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by PinkDice » Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:11 am

Here's a bit of background on our walking situation:
When we first got our dog at 6 months, she hadn't really been walked on a leash and resisted the harness and leash at all cost. Lots of treating and praise ensued when she was near it and eventually she was happy to put it on. She walks very calmly around our apartment on her lead, looking at me almost the whole time for praise and to see where I am.

Our walk starts with her sitting very calmly to put her harness on, and then sitting very calmly by the door for me to put my shoes on, attach her lead, and so forth. I then open the door and she BOLTS LIKE A MADMAN downs the stairs and the both of us stumble at which point she pulls at the end of her lead for all she's worth. I'm naturally inclined to try to navigate the stairs with her pulling because my goal is to clear our very small stairwell as soon as possible to avoid running into the neighbors. She is very reactive to their child because he screeches like a banshee and lunges at her a lot despite my best efforts to make his parents feel like horrible people. Also, she has learned there are lizards that hang out at the bottom of the stairs and her prey instinct is VERY STRONG. :( I'm worried we're both going to take a tumble one day.

We go through this several times a day because her potty area is downstairs, as is the car if we need to go anywhere. I've started using the turn around method after seeing it on Victoria's show, and her leash manners improved dramatically. It took a while because I was doing it incorrectly at first, waiting until she was near the end of the lead. Now we do exactly what Mattie describes and it's working wonders... unless there are dogs, kids, people, cats, birds, lizards, or stairs. *Sigh*. When something crosses our path she take a flying leap towards them, trying to rip both my arms out of socket in the process.

She's generally pretty friendly to new people and things off lead, but new people and things on lead causes temporary insanity. I have fallen several times this way when standing on gravel and during the winter when it's icy out. If she spots anything, close or not, she's decided she's leaping for it. I'm sure I must be involuntarily tensing if I see anyone at all, just as her programmed response is to rush the end of her lead. When we walk away from distractions she still needs reminders to watch me but she does remarkably better.

Walking has become stressful for both of us, and it's affecting our bond. After a particularly difficult walk time she comes upstairs and mopes. :( I feel like I'm failing my little girl. Our current procedure involves a lot of staring out the window and peephole until I'm pretty sure the coast is clear. One of these days I'm gonna get reported as a peeping tom. :roll: Also, she doesn't quite understand why I'm busy staring out the window when she knows it's walking time or she's indicated to me she has to potty.


So after my long-windedness, I have a few questions:
*If we keep up with our walks away from distractions, will it eventually transfer to her walking well with distractions?

*Should I consider setting up an upstairs potty area to try to avoid these distractions until she's walking better? *shudder*

*Does anyone have any recommendations for navigating stairs while encouraging her to focus on me? The only time I've found she doesn't pull is if I am holding a treat in my hand the whole way down and give it to her at the bottom. This isn't ideal, though, because it makes it almost impossible to hold on to the handrail and I don't want to fall if she sees something and goes for it.


Thank you so much in advance for any comments or advice you may have on the subject. I'm at my wits end and so is my poor pup.

emmabeth
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by emmabeth » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:48 pm

I think.. I would use a long line and teach her to go down the stairs first, then sit and wait.

Upstairs potty area - avoid really, but if you MUST, then it needs to be a tray with the same surface in it as she'd use outside (ie, soil/turf etc) or you will teach her to go on teh wrong surface and thats a pain.

Finally - as strange as it sounds. Shorten your walks so you do more, sh orter walks wtih hopefully more success/less failure each time.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

PinkDice
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by PinkDice » Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:28 am

Thank you so much, emmabeth, for taking the time to answer my questions.
emmabeth wrote:I think.. I would use a long line and teach her to go down the stairs first, then sit and wait.
This is a great idea! I don't know why it never occurred to me to treat going downstairs differently than walking in general. Going downstairs puts her slightly off balance and she tends to want to navigate them faster than I am capable.
emmabeth wrote:Upstairs potty area - avoid really, but if you MUST, then it needs to be a tray with the same surface in it as she'd use outside (ie, soil/turf etc) or you will teach her to go on teh wrong surface and thats a pain.
I think this would be a last resort kind of thing. I was looking at the AstroTurf ones because she currently goes on a little patch of grass. I would much rather spend time working on her re-activity to other dogs and people than teaching her to go indoors. While I still have to clean up her business, it's much more offensive somehow if it were in my home or on my balcony.
emmabeth wrote:Finally - as strange as it sounds. Shorten your walks so you do more, sh orter walks wtih hopefully more success/less failure each time.
This is also a very good suggestion. When we take longer walks she gets really stressed out and overworked.

On a positive note, we came across one of the neighbors yesterday. She forgot herself and lunged and barked, but only twice, and then looked at me for a treat! Even he commented on how much better she's doing!! My little baby is growing up. :D

Buddy'smyboy
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by Buddy'smyboy » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:44 am

I've been working with Buddy on the loose leash method described here:

http://clickersolutions.com/articles/2002c/llw.htm

I think I might be doing it slightly incorrectly, though, or not getting something quite across.

We are up to the point where we walk with the leash in the least distracting environment outside (which for us is the front yard... but is the back yard in the thread). He walks beside me fine most of the time, except for a few things.

When he is walking beside me we will take our steps and then I will stop and c/t him while he is standing beside me in the position I want him in. However, after this he has a habit of getting out of position and then standing in front of me looking at me. I usually just stand there and wait for him to get back beside me, hoping he will figure out that obviously since we only move when he's beside me, nothing will happen when he's in front of me looking at me. Instead, he will try everything possible to get me to respond except stand next to me in the position that was getting him goggles of treats just moments ago (ie, sit, laydown, jump up and down, whine and run around, go up and lay on his bed, ect.). After this I just have to give up and lure him back to where I want him to go and then we move on. Or while he's standing in front of me I'll just raise my hand out to the side which makes him come over and stand by me facing me, but still not facing in the same direction I am. More recently instead of standing directly in front of me he now stands in front of me in front of my right hand (I have him walk on my right due to the nature of traffic in my area as well as blind turns) so he's getting closer to where I want him to be, but he still doesn't get it that he has to stay beside me. I don't know WHY he WANTS to stand in front of me when it gets him nothing in these exercises, but he does for whatever reason. My problem is simply getting him to stay beside me whether in motion or stationary. His loose leash walking is just fine when we're moving; we can walk 15 steps in between c/t's without any problem, I just don't want to advance any further until he figures this out.

Also, when I c/t him for walking beside me I feed him out of my hand almost always except for every once and a while when it might drop in which case I'll just point it out to him with my hand so he finds it and we can move on faster. Our problem is that even when he's gotten the treat from my hand and nothing fell to the ground, quite often he just start obsessively sniffing all over the ground looking for the imaginary treat that didn't fall to the ground but he's sure did (or at least that's what it looks like to me). And he won't even just sniff in that one area either, he'd sniff all across the entire yard if I didn't call him off of it and get him moving beside me again. But every time the invisible treat falls to the ground he falls behind me because he's busy sniffing for something that's not there because he already ate it. How on earth do I convince him that nothing's there and what I have in my pocket is better anyway?

Aside from these two small but frequently occuring problems, his loose leash walking beside me is great. I've been taking it nice and slowly with him building steps up one at a time. I have confidence that he could probably go more than 15 steps by now, but I'm not pushing anything, and I'm not going to go to the next step on the thread until we've got these two problems sorted out or else it will just get in the way the more we advance.

emmabeth
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by emmabeth » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:18 pm

I think I would not stop.. click and treat randomly for heeling, without stopping.

The beauty of positive training is that it recognises dogs all learn in different ways, within the principles of learning theory - so that method may work wonderfully for one dog, it may need a tweak for another!

The other thing I would do is clicker train him to target some part of your body with his nose (or like they do in competitions, the dog targets your leg with his shoulder, though i find that results in a heel that is silly looking and liable to trip up both handler and dog!). So depending on how tall you and he are, he could target your leg or hip with his nose and you can then build that up into a close heel position (I would give that a different cue/name than the normal loose leash position so as not to cause confusion, most people call it 'close').
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

misskris
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by misskris » Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:09 pm

sorry everyone, I'm a little late reading this thread, as usual...now that Daisy and I are walking twice a day and she walks once with my fiancé or mom, I want to make sure to establish good habits from the get-go. What our trainer has advised is never to pull her back, but to STOP completely when we feel her pull. Is this wrong? I was reading Mattie's original post and I somewhat understand, but I just wanted to clarify...

I hold the leash, attached to the harness, in the same way that she advised (left hand by my side, leftover leash in front of me, with loop around my right hand. We walk and the moment she pulls, I taut my left hand and stop so she has to stop as well. Is this wrong? I kind of understand Mattie's advice, but needed help. So, if I do it this way, I would let the left hand go, so the leash is loose, then change direction, then what? When do I say close? Sorry, I just want to make sure to do it right so I don't have to undo bad habits and re-train.

thanks guys :D
kris

jacksdad
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by jacksdad » Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:15 am

to make sure your doing it "right", first define your goal.

If you want a loose leash walk that resembles a heel, but isn't so strict. then matties method works great. if you don't care where your dog walks the just stop when dog starts pulling so do learns pulling interrupts walk. the stop when pulling works ok. it works with enough time, isn't aversive, not a "wrong" methods but isn't as effective a method as what Mattie describes in my opinion.

Following mattie's method you teach your dog where you want it to walk, to pay attention to you, and to not pull.
mattie wrote: I say, close to my dogs and start to walk, if their head goes in front of my hip, I drop the lead in my left hand and turn and walk the other way. When the dog is getting close, again I say close. I don't get very far at first, usually just walk up and down the same piece of pavement but it doesn't take long when my dog starts to watch what I am doing and starts to walk next to me.
So mattie is suggesting that you say "close" as you start to walk and your dog is in the position you want.
misskris wrote:....We walk and the moment she pulls ...
This is where the two different methods differ. With Mattie's method your goal is for the leash to never get played all the way out and the dog to hit the end of it thus pulling. if your dog pulls you waited to long to turn. which is why Mattie suggest that starting with "soon as their head goes in front of your hip" you drop the lead in your left (or right if you prefer to have yoru dog on that side, just reverse the example) and turn and head the other way. initially your dog may not be paying enough attention to you, so it's ok to make a little noise, maybe call their name once something to get them to look at you as you turn so they don't hit the end of the leash. also, expect to walk the same few feet of ground starting out going in "circles". but with practice and improved timing you move out of that phase rather quickly.

initially try without treats and just use the reward of getting to go somewhere and praise to motivate your dog. keep sessions short 1 to 2 minutes to start at a time. take sniff breaks, etc.

misskris
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by misskris » Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:36 pm

ahhh, I see. So, my goal is to have her NEVER get to the "pull" in the first place. . .so I can positively reinforce instead of negative. got it!
thanks much!
I'm going to try this evening, I'm really excited. I hope to practice, practice, practice over the weekend and week and then take her back to puppy class where we can impress everyone!
heehee
:)
kris

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minkee
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by minkee » Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:37 am

I just want to drop this in here incase it helps anyone else in their loose leash quest ;)

My biggest breakthrough in getting Scout to walk on a loose lead was to get rid of the lead. I followed Mattie's advice, going one way then the next, saying 'This way!' and 'Close!' at all the appropriate times, but I did it on a cricket field with no lead. When she'd done it right for a split second / a second / a few seconds / a short while (progressively) she got to go chase a ball - her favourite reward. She got it SO much more quickly, and willingly than the endless pacing infront of the house, and it does seem to translate from the field onto the pavement. So my advice is to think about how your dog learns best, and use it to your advantage in all things!
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Ellkie
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by Ellkie » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:30 pm

Any advice for loose lead training two dogs with one walker?

I have two terrier mutts (~20 lbs), I've had them for a year (they are 1.5 years old). So far, other kinds of training have gone well, but not the walks. We are using a similar harness to the ones talked about on here (except not as fancy, it's harder to find decent trail harnesses for little dogs). They don't seem to "compete" to be in front or anything. They each walk on one particular side and they leave each other alone. However, they pull pretty badly. So far, my method of dealing with it has been to stop walking, give a heel command, and wait until they come to me and leave slack on the leash. However, when I take my next step, one of both will sprint until they get to the end of the leash and then put their head down and try to pull. I've done this up to 1 hour straight with the same results. I've also tried walking them individually, and have had the same results.

Oddly enough, they stick right with me when they are off-leash or I drop the lead. But my current community is strict about leash laws. I like to take them on trails and hiking, so being able to walk both more efficiently would just be awesome.

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