Loose Lead walking

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Missymay
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Post by Missymay » Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:45 am

I think for some people, LLW can be one of the hardest things to teach. I stumbled on this method, and, while it is not instantaneuos and does take some time, it has yet yo fail me:

This is not by any means the only method I have for llw. In fact, it has very little to do with the lead at all. It is all about teaching a dog that the most reinforcing place to be is at your left side.

Again, this is not a heel, just loose lead. But once learned, it can easily be kicked up into a heel. It is also not something you just start outside on your walk. While you may very well be able to use it that way, I think it is more effective if you start small and build.

If this doesn't work, I have other methods up my sleeve.

Ok, here is what you do. I am assuming that at this time, your dog knows what the clicker means, so we're ready to move on.

If the dog gets overly excited when trying to attach the collar or lead, it would be best to spend several session on just that first. She him the collar, wait for calm, the click and reinforce. Put it on his neck, click when he is calm and treat. Gradually work up to putting it on and having him stay calm. This may take several sessions.

Next, work with the leash. Show it to him and wait for him to be calm, then click and treat. When he stays calm, start clipping it on him. Clip it on the wait for him to be calm and look at you, then click and treat. Again, this may take several sessions.

I don't start training on walks, I start in my kitchen or basement. Initially, you are not moving very much, so you don't need a lot of room. And let's face facts, if you can't do this in the kitchen, where the dog knows food reinofrcers are all around, you will not be able to achieve loose leash outside where there are so many things to compete for your dogs attention.

Each step of this exercise should be practiced to 80-90% compliance, then proofed on different locations, gradually raising distractions. It's all about baby steps.

Now you are ready to move. Hold the leash in your right hand looped over you last three finger, the clicker in you right hand between your thumb and first finger and the treats in your left hand because you will be delivering them off your left leg. The reason for delivering them off the left leg is because this is where you want the dog to be. Dogs, like people, will return to the place of the greatest reinforcement.

Think of it this way, if I gave you a ten dollar bill everytime you stood on my left, 6-12 inches off my bodt, parrallel to me, where would you be spending a lot of time? Dogs are no different.

Now, move only one step only in either a sideways, back or diagonal direction. If your dog follows, just one step, or follows you with his eyes while remaining in place, click and treat of your left leg.

Over the next few sessions, move any direction but forward, one step and click and treat if he moves with you or looks at you.

Now you are ready for a few steps, so take two steps, again, avoiding forward and click and treat as soon as he takes two steps with you. He should be moving with you at this point. I find the hardest part is bending over quickly enough to be sure my dogs keep four on the floor. Do not click if he is on his hind legs, but if you do click ALWAYS treat. This is where you add a cue. This is not heel, so I use "Let's go".

Once you are ready to actually begin walking, I find it best to start out backwards. When you are walking forward, dogs have a tendancy to focus on what is ahead of them. When you walk backwards, they are walking towards you and you are their focus.

Now you can begin moving forward. This may take several days or weeks to get to this point. Take three steps, click treat, then go to 4 steps, click treat, then maybe 6 then 10, then...well...you get it.

If anyone wants to see all the steps put together, let me know. I have a video.
Kim and Asher

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LindaM
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Post by LindaM » Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:30 am

Nice description of using the clicker to train the llw, Missymae.

Clicker training is relatively new to me. I had my first two dogs for about 4 years before we all learned the clicker. So I have done quite a bit of work using the reverse direction method for llw but have have had much faster and more dramatic results with the clicker. It is very possible that my timing is off using reverse direction; I think that reversing direction does make my dogs pay attention but it doesn't really give them any idea of *where* I want them to be during the heel, especially since I do give them opportunities at times to go ahead slightly to sniff.

The clicker helped two of my dogs (the other is new and I haven't had the time yet to devote some one-on-one training time to her) figure out exactly the point at which I want them to quit surging ahead. Once I pulled out the clicker to mark the good heel spot, their learning curves skyrocketted and I can now walk them both reliably without leads.

Once the kids get back in school, I'm going to pull out the clicker again for the third dog. I've done less of the reverse walking training with her partly because I've seen how confusing it seems to be for my other dogs. Again, I'm probably timing it wrong but I don't think so. I think the message is clear to my dogs that they need to pay attention to me. I've experimented with it when I let them snifff ahead and I think that they think they can keep glancing back to see where I am. But the reversing direction really doesn't teach them that being slightly behind is the best spot to be in order to keep track of my direction.

In other words, marking the heel spot with a click and a treat is more effective, at least for me, than trying to mark the spot by reversing direction the instant the dog reaches the wrong spot.

LindaM

Susan
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Loose lead walking, using 'about face' (turn around)method

Post by Susan » Sun Dec 28, 2008 12:35 am

I am new to the group. I am training a 2 yr.old english cocker and a 7 mos old mastibull. I read this morning, and tried successfully - for day 1, the 'about face method described in this thread. I want to assure I am doing it correctly. WHen executing this part:

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.

Is the walk the other way ('about face') done slowly, so as not to tug the dog at all?

My other question: the mastibull (half english mastiff and half american bulldog) 'nips'(not hard- like a pinch I guess) the face immediately when she meets a new dog...very offputting to the new dog, and us owners. WHat is this about? ANy ideas how to curb this behavior?

Thanks,
Susan

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Mattie
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Re: Loose lead walking, using 'about face' (turn around)met

Post by Mattie » Sun Dec 28, 2008 4:53 am

Susan wrote:I am new to the group. I am training a 2 yr.old english cocker and a 7 mos old mastibull. I read this morning, and tried successfully - for day 1, the 'about face method described in this thread. I want to assure I am doing it correctly. WHen executing this part:

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.

Is the walk the other way ('about face') done slowly, so as not to tug the dog at all?
You need to turn quickly and walk the other way which is why you need a harness on your dog and not have the lead attached to the collar. You don't tug the lead when the dog reaches the end, just keep walking and let your dog catch you up. The idea is that you are very inconsistant to your dog so they start to watch what you are doing, to watch you they have to be walking close to your side.
My other question: the mastibull (half english mastiff and half american bulldog) 'nips'(not hard- like a pinch I guess) the face immediately when she meets a new dog...very offputting to the new dog, and us owners. WHat is this about? ANy ideas how to curb this behavior?

Thanks,
Susan
He hasn't learnt how to be a dog and behave like a dog, the best teacher is another dog but watching a dog correct a pup can be a bit hair-raising. If you don't know a dog that will correct him I would keep him far enough away so he can't do this. Some dogs are good teachers and will just do enough to teach, others will attack him, it is difficult for us to know which is which.
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Susan
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Post by Susan » Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:29 pm

Thank you, Mattie. Can I take my inquiry a bit forward?

So, if I turn quickly ( the dog is wearing a harness), since it is only a six foot lead, there will be tension before the mastibull picks up on it. SHould I use a longer lead so there is no tension developed in the lead?

By the way, amazing to me, the cockerspaniel ahs already learned what to do. I have a harness on her -exactly like the one in the picture on this forum. (I guess I need another harness for the mastibull)

OKay, more please on the socialization question for the mastibull: The other night, she nipped a malamute/english sheep dog (very large dog and my dog is 70 pounds) in the face as the usual greeting, and this large dog corrected her, but my pup fought back, and ended up with a chunk of hair in her mouth when the skirmish was broken up by humans. Does this tell me it will be a brawl for her to learn proper social etiquette. I wil keep her away in the future from new dogs, but do not want to live like this. Can't she be taught by me, using a reward system.

Thank you for your kind assistance.
Susan

Susan
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Post by Susan » Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:32 pm

PS, the malamute/sheep dog is about 18 mos. - 2 yrs. old. Does the age mean it was or was not a correction by a 'dog'. I think 18 mos - 2yrs. is an adolescent, no?

Susan

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Sun Dec 28, 2008 2:05 pm

Susan wrote:Thank you, Mattie. Can I take my inquiry a bit forward?

So, if I turn quickly ( the dog is wearing a harness), since it is only a six foot lead, there will be tension before the mastibull picks up on it. SHould I use a longer lead so there is no tension developed in the lead?

I use a 6ft lead, I can shorten it as well if I want but I find 6ft is a good length for teaching a dog to walk on a loose lead.

By the way, amazing to me, the cockerspaniel ahs already learned what to do. I have a harness on her -exactly like the one in the picture on this forum. (I guess I need another harness for the mastibull)
Well done, it doesn't normally take long to teach a dog to walk on a loose lead, I then do let them walk in front of me but if any tension is put on the lead, I turn quickly. It is very rare I need to do this though.
OKay, more please on the socialization question for the mastibull: The other night, she nipped a malamute/english sheep dog (very large dog and my dog is 70 pounds) in the face as the usual greeting, and this large dog corrected her, but my pup fought back, and ended up with a chunk of hair in her mouth when the skirmish was broken up by humans. Does this tell me it will be a brawl for her to learn proper social etiquette. I wil keep her away in the future from new dogs, but do not want to live like this. Can't she be taught by me, using a reward system.
It may not have been a correction by the other dog Susan, this is why we have to be so careful because we don't always understand what a dog is telling us.

I would keep him away from other dogs unless I know the dog won't hurt him, and work on getting him closer with clicker training until you can let him approach another dog in safety.
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Susan
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Post by Susan » Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:41 pm

The dogs and I are doing pretty well with our current waling route- not pullling (I do turn about when they pull the lead). They are not jumping out at cars, and instead, are 'watching me'. (I carry cut up hotdogs in my pocket to reinforce watch me, not the cars and passing trucks.)

thought it would be fun to walk a different route. Whe we did, immediately, the dogs regressed to pulling and leading me. I stopped and returned to the usual route.

Is this what is expected - change the route/environment and the dogs regress, and must be retrained? They did not generalize their skills. Can you offer advice and suggestions?

Thanks, SUsan

ckranz
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Post by ckranz » Mon Dec 29, 2008 10:37 pm

You hit the nail on he head...dogs do not generalize well.

Its important when training to change and vary routes with similar levels of distractions to avoid what you have experienced.

Not to worry though, using the same methods listed, you can easily begin again and vary your route to provide better generalization.

agilityqs
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Post by agilityqs » Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:17 pm

danabanana wrote:do I *need* a harness to do this? Teagan will be out soon and the first thing I want her to learn is how on walk on a lead - she is fast outgrowing her puppy collar so I need to get her a new collar and lead anyway - will it not work as well in just collar and lead? Where's the best place to get a harness if I do need one?
I have taught many dogs to walk with a loose leash using basically that method and the dog was in a collar. It's the training, not the gear, that teaches them to keep the leash loose. I also add in reward, reward, reward for keeping the leash loose. Dogs repeat behaviors that are rewarding. I do the about face if they start (key word start, I don't wait till they are at the end of the leash gaggin) to pull and reward when they aren't pulling.
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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:21 am

agilityqs wrote: I have taught many dogs to walk with a loose leash using basically that method and the dog was in a collar. It's the training, not the gear, that teaches them to keep the leash loose. I also add in reward, reward, reward for keeping the leash loose. Dogs repeat behaviors that are rewarding. I do the about face if they start (key word start, I don't wait till they are at the end of the leash gaggin) to pull and reward when they aren't pulling.

When you are using the method of turning quickly and walking the other way you need a harness on the dog not a collar because when the dog gets to the end of the lead it does give a pull on them. A pull on the collar no matter how gentle it is can still do a lot of damage to a dog's neck and trachea. It is so easy to accidentaly give a pull on a collar when training.

I have 2 dogs with neck damage and can't be walked on a collar, one has a tracheotomy in because her neck has been damaged so much.
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agilityqs
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Re: Loose lead walking, using 'about face' (turn around)met

Post by agilityqs » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:10 pm

Susan wrote:I am new to the group. I am training a 2 yr.old english cocker and a 7 mos old mastibull. I read this morning, and tried successfully - for day 1, the 'about face method described in this thread. I want to assure I am doing it correctly. WHen executing this part:

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.

Is the walk the other way ('about face') done slowly, so as not to tug the dog at all?

My other question: the mastibull (half english mastiff and half american bulldog) 'nips'(not hard- like a pinch I guess) the face immediately when she meets a new dog...very offputting to the new dog, and us owners. WHat is this about? ANy ideas how to curb this behavior?


Thanks,
Susan
When I teach this to my students I use the word ut oh just before turning. The dog has a warning that I'm going to turn because the leash isn't loose. And that way there isn't any yanking on the neck. Especially if you are clicking and treating at a high rate for keeping the leash loose.

About the nipping. He doesn't get to go to a dog's face when greeting, period. Dogs don't greet face to face, that's rude. If he goes towards the face then say ut oh and turn around and walk away. He doesn't get to greet that way.

However, if he goes to greet butt to face (like a good mannered dog) then he gets high praise from you for being such a good boy.
Lauralyn
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Mattie
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Re: Loose lead walking, using 'about face' (turn around)met

Post by Mattie » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:51 am

agilityqs wrote: When I teach this to my students I use the word ut oh just before turning. The dog has a warning that I'm going to turn because the leash isn't loose. And that way there isn't any yanking on the neck. Especially if you are clicking and treating at a high rate for keeping the leash loose.
When walking close to me I want my dog to watch were I am going and not have to tell them I am going to turn, even a couple of seconds can make the difference in being in danger or not. When walking in crowds, I can't be giving my dog a command everytime I go to walk round people, my dog could be run over by a pram if I did.

The best way I can explain what I mean is when I used to ride my horse along a busy road, he could read the traffic which save both of us many times. If he couldn't by the time I had given him the aids to move over onto the pavement, a lorry would have hit both of us. Thanks to him being able to read the traffic, he was on the pavement as I was giving the aids.
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scbelle
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It WORKED!!!!

Post by scbelle » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:39 am

:D :lol: :P

Hello All!

I am new to this forum and have been lurking and reading for a couple of days now. Love all the info. We got a shelter puppy two weeks ago and are just beginning some training methods. She is about 6 mos old, lab/something mix. After watching several episodes of VS using a GL type halter with success, I found one and gave it a try. It certainly stopped the pulling, but even after positive treat rewards and lots of praise and attention while wearing the thing, Katie just would not stop rubbing her head in the ground to get it off. I felt really bad 'cause she looks so sad when I get it on her.

Finally, I read Mattie's post about LLW using the word "close" and LOTS of treats. So----yesterday I tried this in the morning with her GL on and she did not take her eyes off me!! That evening I did the same thing w/o the GL!!!! IT WORKED!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

So I just got back from a great lap around the block during the day with only the leash and her regular collar!! She is a different dog. I may still find a good harness for her as I do not want her collar to cause her damage even though she is not prone to sudden chase/lunge moves. Usually I can anticipate that if another dog or person is close by that she wants to meet.

So THANK YOU Matttie for such clear instructions!!!

Greatful New Trainer,
Laura

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Noobs
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Post by Noobs » Sat Feb 28, 2009 9:02 am

Here's an interesting side-effect of our loose-leash training: the automatic sit!

This morning on our walk every time I stopped walking, Murphy sat and look up at me. Of course he got met with heaps of praise and licks from his babyfood jar. In the meantime we've been able to go much further without my having to turn and go the other way because he's been so good about keeping behind my knee. I think that using the empty street instead of the sidewalk helps for now, less people crossing our path and whatnot.

All of this progress without the clicker and without feeding him treats every three steps. I love it!

(Sorry I was just so excited I had to share.)

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