Loose Lead walking

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Nettle
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by Nettle » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:00 am

No matter what we are training, we have to train one dog at a time, and then when each is doing what we want, we take them out together. :)
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Secret Someone
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by Secret Someone » Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:40 am

Help needed!

So, Pan can't be let off the lead due to a paw injury, meaning all of his walks will be on-lead. I plan to start the loose lead training with him, but I'm a bit confused! He still needs walking, otherwise he'll go crazy. If I've done 3 minutes of training, it obviously won't have done the trick immediately. Do I still walk him? Do I try to train throughout the entire walk? Do I do the training walks and the exercise walks separately? I'm confused!

bendog
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by bendog » Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:09 am

I think the best thing to do is lots of small walks, training the whole time. The thing with loose lead training is you need to be consistent. I've been lax about it lately with my own dog, he's fine if I walk him alone, but walk him with the other dogs and he'll try to pull so I'm having to go back to step one again too.

So do 5-10 mins of loose lead training, then go inside, then you can do another 5-10 mins of loose lead training again later on etc. You can do this many times a day instead of one big walk.

Having to concentrate on training will tire him out, but if you feel he has too much energy still you can always play games indoors to keep him occupied. Once he has the hang of loose lead walking you can increase the time you walk for, but don't go anywhere too exciting/scary where he will be likely to pull for a while.

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JudyN
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by JudyN » Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:13 am

I'd be wary of expecting too much and getting frustrated, though. Depending on how he copes with being on lead the whole time, he might not be in the best state of mind for learning anything new! So you may want to intersperse the loose-leash training with plenty of verge/lamppost sniffing which may keep him calmer.
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jacksdad
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by jacksdad » Mon Oct 31, 2011 8:19 pm

duration wise you will need to play it by ear. let your dog guide you a bit. 1 minute might be a really long time for your dog to start, over time suddenly 5 minutes isn't that much an effort.

you can start by letting your dog have a few minutes "free" time to take care of bathroom needs, then do a 1minute or two of loose lead, then take a break let your dog sniff, then maybe do another minute or two, then take a break and let your dog sniff etc.

or you can jump right in do a minute or two of loose lead, then bathroom/sniff break (but only if you know your dog isn't urgently needing to go to the bathroom, then back to loose lead, then take a break etc.

mix it up a bit so your dog has to pay attention to you, doesn't fall into a known predictable routine. just a thought.

Secret Someone
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by Secret Someone » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:29 pm

I'm so happy and proud of my boy!

We did 10 minutes of loose lead training. First I let him sniff and have a wee, and then we started. After the first 3 times of turning around he got it. After that he got too excited at one point, and then distracted by a man across the road and we had to do some more turning. Then we tried a different part of the road, which he finds really exciting because it means park and pet shop! He immediately went to pull, so the turning around started again. He got the hang of it though, and I ended it on a really good note where he'd just walked up a long bit of path 'close' and without going ahead at all. He got lots of fuss and one of his favourite cuddles (me kneeling, him putting his paws around my neck). I'm so happy. He was so excited when he realised we were training, and kept looking at me to check he was doing okay. He's fast asleep now! I think that tired him out more than an hour and a half of running! I'll try to fit another one or two in before bed. It was the first one of the day due to him being a poorly pup.

Thank you so much for teaching me how to teach him! :D

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On collars vs harnesses

Post by JonnnyBest » Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:18 pm

Hi everyone

I just wanted to post to disagree with the view expressed here that a harness is necessary to teach loose leash walking, or that a collar is somehow dangerous for a dog that is still pulling on the leash. This is not true - a simple collar is perfectly good and poses no danger to the dog. By all means buy a harness if you feel like it - there's nothing wrong with them - but it's not somehow better than a collar, and the idea that collars are somehow deficient or dangerous is mistaken.

Cheers

Jon

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Erica
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by Erica » Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:38 pm

It is much safer to use harnesses, and in brachycephalic dogs is a necessity. If you have a dog that does not pull, and does not lunge, and you are attentive to where it is and if it's stopping or not, then a collar is fine. I use one with Amadeus on rainy days, when I know we won't run into other dogs. However, if the dog lunges or pulls, it is very bad for their throat and can cause very serious conditions - some peoples' dogs have required surgery and it's really much better to go with a harness if you can.
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Sarah83
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by Sarah83 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:54 am

Okay, have read through the whole thread and still not found the answer to my problem :lol: I've just taken on Spencer, a 9 month old Labrador with no leash manners whatsoever. Within 2 days of having him he'd learned that he didn't just dart down the stairs the instant the front door was opened but waited to be released to go down them. We can get out of the flat with absolutely no problems (firm believer in walks starting calmly!) but as soon as we step outside he's pulling. With Rupert I used the turn before he reached the end of the leash method and it worked great. The problem I'm having with Spencer is that he just launches himself to the end of the leash in any direction, I may get a split second now and then where the leash is loose as he changes direction. I thought about using a clicker to mark that split second but the problem is I need both hands just to hang on to him which leaves none free for the clicker.

Bit lost as to where to even start with him. I've tried turning but end up spinning on the spot and getting very dizzy while he continues to launch himself in whatever direction he thinks we're going in.

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ClareMarsh
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by ClareMarsh » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:57 am

I have zero expertise here as if Ted has any leash walking problems it's plonking himself down and not moving :lol:

He rarely pulls but when he does I just stop, give him a small amount of lead slack and provided it stays that way then we move on, with Ted this does work and he won't pull again, or maybe try once more then give up. But as I said he's not a great puller.

It might just work though, sounds like Spencer is happy to go in any direction provided he is moving somewhere so he's getting the reward of moving at the moment as you turn and I bet it feels like a great game to him. I would walk at my fastest possible pace with him and as soon as he pulls stop dead and not move until the lead stays slack.

Or you could teach him to target a stick? Or you could use food, treating for him being next to you and if he gets ahead you lure him back (although by the sounds of his pulling these two things won't work as you need both hands on the lead :shock: )

So hopefully someone who knows what they are talking about will show up and help you :D
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by Sarah83 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:29 am

Yeah, he's happy just to be going somewhere, anywhere, doesn't matter where. I've been doing the whole "be a tree" thing but I've never had success with it before now and although Spencer will slacken the leash and look round at me when I stop as soon as I take a step he lunges forward again :? There's no way I can walk fast enough to keep up with him and I think if I ran he'd just run too so it'd be the same thing but at a faster pace.

He's been extremely responsive to the clicker for other things, I may have to just give it a try and see whether I can at least get started with stopping the constant lunging forward. I can hold him with one hand if necessary but it gets very painful after a minute or two. Very, very short sessions may work.

Rupert was a puller when I got him but nothing like this!

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Nettle
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by Nettle » Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:51 pm

Hold the lead in both hands and pressed into the small of the back. The hand nearest the dog holds the lead the way horse riders hold the reins - in between little finger and ring finger, up through the palm and out between first finger and thumb. The other hand holds the lead however it is comfortable. This makes you much much stronger.

When he starts to walk nicely (it WILL happen) release the lead with the hand furthest from the dog and continue to hold with the hand nearest. He needs to be on a lead short enough that he puts a tug on it as soon as his head moves past your leg. At first he will try to run past on the other side, but you can feel this coming and fix your hand into the small of your back again. All the teddies may go out of the pram, but just let it happen and carry on.

As soon as he slacks the lead, walk faster - that is his reward. As soon as he tightens it - he goes nowhere but back again.

I wish you were here - it's easier to show than describe. :?
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JudyN
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by JudyN » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:00 pm

I'm wondering... rather than trying to go out for a walk, how about if you went out (taking him in the car if necessary) aiming to stand in the middle of the field for an hour.... Assuming he thinks he should be going somewhere, he'll bounce around at the very end of the lead but not get anywhere, and eventually (surely?) he must turn around and look at you, thus loosening the lead, at which point you can click/praise and treat. Repeat until he's standing still and eyeballing you for treats. Then take one step... assuming he lunges again, repeat the above. Just maybe, eventually, you'll be able to take one step without him pulling, and then you really praise him. You might be able to build up from there, and this might work well in conjunction with targetting by your side.

It's just a thought - dealing with pulling is so frustrating because you do, generally, want to go somewhere but if you have accepted that you are only aiming to manage a couple of steps in half an hour (or what is workable for your dog) then it might help.

When I was training Jasper I put his lead on his collar for 'training walks' but when we were just out for 'fun' I attached the collar to his harness so I didn't have to worry about enforcing proper lead etiquette. Could that work for you? Another thought (this may be mentioned already in this thread) - would a harness where the lead attaches to the front of the chest help? He'd then automatically turn himself when he pulls - similar to a Gentle Header or Halti but without the risk of injury.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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MPbandmom
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by MPbandmom » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:22 pm

Man, I wish I had known Nettles method of hanging onto the leash when I first got Sky. Spencer sounds a lot like Sky in his walking skills. What helped me with Sky was the statue and baby food meat. Of course, it sounds like you aren't yet to a point where you could carry babyfood. Sky too would stop and back up when I stopped and as soon as I took one step forward again, she would launch herself forward ready to run. Circling with her was impossible and horribly dizzying. I did recently see a method on video during Dog Training month that was very similar to Mattie's method with a little twist. I have been using it some with Sky and Sirius and it seems to work pretty well, without making me dizzy. Although I keep hoping I never back into anyone. :oops:

Instead of turning yourself around in circles, start walking backwards. This encourages the dog to come towards you. (Which gets the dog's focus back on you.) On the video, they started the training by having the person always walk backwards encouraging the dog to come towards them for yummy treats. Then eventually, the person turns around to walk in the same direction as the dog. If the dog goes beyond the handler's designated position, the handler turns around and walks backwards again.

I'm not sure how practical this will be for you. Sky has already settled down a fair amount, but still tends to walk at the end of the leash and I am now working on getting her to truly walk loose leash. She knows things like turn around. I have been saying uh oh to give her a warning and then this way to have her turn around. I walk backwards, she comes to me and circles around me and then we are ready to resume our forward movement. If squirrels are around she goes deaf though, and sometimes people can produce the same reaction, but I feel like we are making progress and she is grasping the loose leash concept. She will even look back at me in anticipation that I am going to ask her to turn, which usually slows her down enough that I then don't have to.
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Re: Loose Lead walking

Post by Sarah83 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:27 am

I think I know what you mean Nettle, I'll give it a go. I already hold the lead like you describe although not behind my back. Keeping him on one side is difficult, he's obviously been allowed to walk where he wants and pull as hard as he wants.

I can't drive so taking him anywhere else to practice would involve at least a 10 minute walk. I'm thinking no trips to the field or the woods for a while, just lots of short loose leash walking sessions outside the flats. I did the same as you with Rupert Judy, I used his regular collar for training walks and had him on the halti for the times I had to go to the vets or wanted to get somewhere. I daren't use a head collar on Spencer though, all it would take is one mistake on my part and he could really hurt himself with a lunge. I tried him on his collar and he was pulling so hard he was choking so that's not an option at the moment either.

I don't think it helps he is still very much a puppy mentally. A rather large puppy but a puppy nonetheless.

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