Loose Lead walking

Valuable training articles posted by Victoria and other Positively members.

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:38 am

That is good Noobs, it is all down to your hard work and now you are getting the dog you want, well done.

As for the sitting when you stop, I may be wrong but if he wanted to look up to you he has to sit if he is close. :D
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Post by Noobs » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:46 pm

It's true, he would have to sit to look up to me when he's this close, although sometimes he does try while he's walking - he'll take a step or two to the side while walking and look up at me...not sure if he's waiting for a treat or not (he used to get a treat every few steps which is why he got into the habit of looking up at me while walking a few months ago), but I give him lots of praise instead.

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Post by Fundog » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:24 am

Noobs, I always carry a water bottle for my dogs (I live in the desert), so every so often Annie will look up at me, or even do a little hop to the front where she can catch my eye better-- it means she wants a drink.

BTW, I don't know if this has been suggested already or not-- I can't get through all four pages-- but you know how sometimes if the dog does a little hop skip around in excitement or sniffing, and gets the leash wrapped around him/herself the wrong way? And then when it's like that he/she can't walk as fast, or pull. Well last night I got an idea, and this time instead of waiting for them to do that, and then unwrapping the leash the way it should be, I swung the lead around in front of them, so it went from the withers (where it hooks onto the harness), over the right shoulder, across the chest-under the chin, back over the left shoulder, then I tucked it under the harness and pulled it through-- brilliant! Even my Dottie, who is relatively new to the lead, didn't pull then. Annie is pretty good on leash anyway, unless she smells something, then she tends to lurch suddenly to investigate. This time she couldn't lurch, but she was able to indicate so I could lead her over to her sniff spot. The thing I liked the best about it was, the dogs weren't straining or coughing at all, and did not seem the least bit uncomfortable-- they just couldn't get any leverage to pull with, or something. Even with Dottie, I was just holding the leash loop with my fingers-- not my whole hand like usual. It was a very pleasant walk! Oh-- and Dottie just gets better and better at passing cars and other distractions-- she was awesome last night!

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Post by Fundog » Wed Mar 04, 2009 5:15 am

I should also mention that with this method of positioning the leash around the front and over the shoulder, under the harness, as described previously, my bird dogs can/and will still "quarter" (that zig-zag thing bird dogs do). I don't necessarily want to suppress that instinct, since that is something I love about them, and why I have bird dogs. And tonight I used the technique with both of them at the same time (totally awesome!)-- and it wasn't that they weren't able to pull-- because when they hit on a strong scent there definitely was some pulling-- but for some reason, they just weren't as inclined to pull as long as we were simply walking to walk. So that made it really, really (really) nice. I love walking my dogs! :D :D :D

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Post by NancySinatra » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:12 pm

How many times per day should I be practicing with my dog? I've been using the method that Victoria describes in her book, which is very similar to this, but so far...we haven't gotten any farther than in front of my house.

We take several short walks per day so that she can potty and one very long one and she's allowed to run around on a 30 foot leash without any expectations of training or pottying at least once a day (we don't have a place where she can run without a leash).

My dog is a Corgi and she's almost six months old. She needs serious exercise every day to maintain a good attitude and walking her back and forth in front of my house a few times a day is not going to do it. But we need to get this pulling problem under control. It's amazing how powerful a 15lb puppy can be and it's just going to get worse as she grows...and one of the reasons I wanted a dog is to have a walking companion. Any advice is very appreciated.

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Post by Pawzk9 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:22 pm

Two common problems I see with pulling dogs are A) owners who go with them when they pull (or even before they pull) and B) owners who tend to keep the leash tight themselves.

For dedicated pullers, I like a step in harness http://www.nextag.com/step-in-harness/products-html
with two points of attachment. (easier to pull against a single point of contact than two in different places). For a small dog, I use the two side rings with a double clip leash. For a bigger dog, attach one end of the leash to the ring on the opposite side of you from the dog, then thread the leash through the loop of the middle piece that connects the straps in front of the chest and underneath, and attach the other clip to the D-rings in the middle. You should have leash in both hands on either side of the dog - sort of like riding a horse with english reins (I come from Western saddle country myself). This allows you to be really, really light in your signals to the dog. The TTouch people refer tot his as the "super balance leash". In a pinch, you can hold the leash in your left hand, bring it behind the dog's left front leg and across the chest to hold in your right hand. This is called a Balance Leash, but many dogs can back or spin out of it.

Another nice addition is what our local TTouch practioner refers to as meet and melt - if the dog pulls, meet the dog's tension, and then relax your hand forward. It doesn't cure pulling, but it gives your dog a moment of something else, and you something to do besides pull back.

My number one favorite methodl is to give the dog lots of positive reinforcement when he finds my side (including off leash) and rewarding check-ins. When a dog goes through a door, I will let that dog go on through, and simply stop and wait for the dog to turn and look back at me. Then I click and follow through the door. The dog's reward is to get to go forward, and I may or may not give a treat after a couple of steps. It takes most dogs (in my experience) about three tries to be stopping and looking back as soon as the owner stops. Then when walking the dog, if he goes to the end of the leash, you can stop and wait for a check-in. Then click and go with the dog (a non-food reward). I don't like to combine this with immediate treats, because it's easy to end up with a smart dog who knows the first thing he needs to do to get a treat is lunge to the end of the leash!

I've seen lots of dogs "get" this who don't seem to understand other ways of teaching loose leash walking. Out on a walk, I don't insist on heel position. But if the dog wants to go sniff that tree, he has to figure out how to get there with a loose leash, or we aren't going!
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Post by Pawzk9 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:18 pm

griffin wrote:
I also have a 6ft lead which I attach to the harness, with the dog on my left I hold the loop in the lead in my right hand, my left hand holds the lead nearer my dog but which lets them me on a loose lead, the lead between my hands is loose as well.
This has been "bugging me" for some time now. My wife even asked me and I have no idea. I watch all the shows and every time, the dog is on the left, WHY?

It was natural for me to have Eddie on my right, it felt better and it allowed me to keep him away from the side of traffic (the road). I too have a six foot leash I use (the wife uses a 20 foot retractable. The leash hangs in a loop from my right hand, with the end in my left, putting Eddie on my right...

Is this just a difference between countries? Or is there a different reason?
Traditionally, for obedience (or hunting where "heel" originally comes from) the position is on the left. I prefer to teach both sides (using different words). For pet training it's more versatile (suppose you need to walk into traffic, and want your dog away from trucks zooming by?) And for sports like agility, herding and freestyle/heel to music your dog HAS to be comfortable handling off both sides.
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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:07 am

NancySinatra wrote:How many times per day should I be practicing with my dog? I've been using the method that Victoria describes in her book, which is very similar to this, but so far...we haven't gotten any farther than in front of my house.
Sorry I was away for Easter and missed this.

I only do it once a day with my dogs but I do have 6 to work with. I only do it when I am going out, the quicker my dog starts to walk at my side the quicker we get further from the house. It doesn't take long for a dog to start to watch the handler if you DON'T ALLOW THE DOG TO GO IN FRONT OF YOU, you turn as soon as their nose is in front to encourge them to watch what you are doing.

It is normal to stay close to your house at first but if you make yourself unpredicable enough, your dog having to work out how to deal with this will tire him out. You don't need to do it on every walk if you don't want to but you do have to be away that if you continue to let him pull it will take longer for him to start walking naturally on a loose lead.

My youngsters will sometimes set of quickly and get to the end of the lead which I don't allow, I stop and wait then until they relax the lead, they only do this once now and stay on a loose lead. The stopping just reminds them of their manners. They are not being naught just enthusiastic for their walk like a child excited going for a trip out.

We take several short walks per day so that she can potty and one very long one and she's allowed to run around on a 30 foot leash without any expectations of training or pottying at least once a day (we don't have a place where she can run without a leash).


I wouldn't do any training if it is a potty walk unless she has already emptied herself.
My dog is a Corgi and she's almost six months old. She needs serious exercise every day to maintain a good attitude and walking her back and forth in front of my house a few times a day is not going to do it. But we need to get this pulling problem under control. It's amazing how powerful a 15lb puppy can be and it's just going to get worse as she grows...and one of the reasons I wanted a dog is to have a walking companion. Any advice is very appreciated.
She is 6 months old, be careful she isn't doing too much exercise which can affect her bones and muscles, they are still developing. It would be better to structure the running on a long line so she is also learning as well as running. it will start giving you more control and your dog more obedient to you.

When I have my dogs on any lead, short or long line I NEVER let them get to the end so they don't learn how long the lead is, on a short lead they are expected to walk on a loose lead, I don't do walking to heal, if the lead is very short they will be walking to heal without all the stresss of teaching it, you can then put his on a command.

On a long line I work on the recall so they don't get to the end of the lead, I call them from various distances away from me and use lots and lots of praise, I don't use treats for recall, I may forget to take them one day and with my old memory that is very likely to happen.

By calling my dog so often, she is learning to come on command and is also getting exercise by the running back to me. Once my dog is good on 1 long line I add another and continue to do this, the extra line gives my dog more freedom and I can now throw things for them to chase after and fetch back to me.

Dogs need mental exercise as well as physical, many owners make the mistake of thinking an good run off lead is enough exercise, it isn't, dogs also need to use their brain and by using the long line exercise to work on her recall, you are giving her both mental and physical exercise and she will be getting enough exercise.
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Post by Mattie » Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:24 am

Pawzk, I have found that that type of harness encourages a dog to pull because of were the strap is, round the chest, horses have straps round their chest in this way so they can push into it to pull a cart, it is easy for a dog to push into the strap to pull us along.

I use a trail/trecking type harness, this goes either side of the neck and the strap round the body is set further back and can't rub the elbows either. As the straps are down either side of the neck it is more difficult for a dog to push into so they pull us.

Also, as the body strap is further back, the lead attaches to the centre point of a dog's balance and when a dog tries to push into the harness to pull, the lead has the effect of lifting the chest slightly so puts the dog off balance so he doesn't have can't push into the harness. It interupts the forward momentum, and the dog doesn't have enough power to push. If the handler is on the ground and the lead is low, the dog will be able to push into the harness more.

This type of harness also has a similar affect on a dog as the TTouch Body Wrap, it can help a nervous dog feel more confident and relaxed so enjoys his walks better.

For a dog aggressive dog it gives more control because of the strap being further back, the handler is able to control the body better even if he is jumping and leaping about and it won't damage the dog in any way unlike a a head collar. If a dog starts to jump and leap about in a head collar he can do a lot of damage to his neck and trachea.

I started using step in harnesses for my dogs and had a lot of problems with them, these were 2 middle aged dogs that didn't pull, they did have problems with the stepping into the harnesses and is why I found the tracking/trail type harness, I had no problems with my dogs with these.

Harnesses are personal preferance, I am just giving what I have found and my dogs reactions. My Greyhound had an operation on his spine a year ago, my vet told me not to use a step in harness with him and was delighted when he saw Merlin's harness. When Ellie had the tracheotomy she has to wear a harness, I was told not to get a step in harness for her, again when I put her harness on, it is shocking pink :lol: my vet was delighted. The step in harnesses can work up to rub on the tracheotomy, the trail/trecking harness can't.
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Post by Pawzk9 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:01 am

Mattie wrote:Pawzk, I have found that that type of harness encourages a dog to pull because of were the strap is, round the chest, horses have straps round their chest in this way so they can push into it to pull a cart, it is easy for a dog to push into the strap to pull us along.

I use a trail/trecking type harness, this goes either side of the neck and the strap round the body is set further back and can't rub the elbows either. As the straps are down either side of the neck it is more difficult for a dog to push into so they pull us.

Also, as the body strap is further back, the lead attaches to the centre point of a dog's balance and when a dog tries to push into the harness to pull, the lead has the effect of lifting the chest slightly so puts the dog off balance so he doesn't have can't push into the harness. It interupts the forward momentum, and the dog doesn't have enough power to push. If the handler is on the ground and the lead is low, the dog will be able to push into the harness more.


This type of harness also has a similar affect on a dog as the TTouch Body Wrap, it can help a nervous dog feel more confident and relaxed so enjoys his walks better.

For a dog aggressive dog it gives more control because of the strap being further back, the handler is able to control the body better even if he is jumping and leaping about and it won't damage the dog in any way unlike a a head collar. If a dog starts to jump and leap about in a head collar he can do a lot of damage to his neck and trachea.

I started using step in harnesses for my dogs and had a lot of problems with them, these were 2 middle aged dogs that didn't pull, they did have problems with the stepping into the harnesses and is why I found the tracking/trail type harness, I had no problems with my dogs with these.
.

Interesting, I suppose I'll have to find my old tracking harness and take a look at it. The tracking/trailing harnesses I've seen attach in the middle of the dog's back, not over the point of balance (shoulders) and we know the further back the attachment is, the more body the dog has to pull with. Which is why sledding/pulling harnesses attach WAY back. When I am tracking with a dog, I don't want that dog to be inhibited from pulling. I WANT a tight line.

CAN a dog pull against a step-in with a single attachment? Of course. Add a second point of contact and the picture looks a lot different. Also, if the center strap is properly adjusted and the harness well fitted, I haven't seen them ride up onto a dog's neck. The easiest way to put one on is to lay it on the floor, place the dog's feet on either side of the center strap and pull it up. The dogs don't really have to "step" into it. Maybe we are thinking of different harnesses. I'm with you on head halters though. I'm not fond of them.
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Post by Pawzk9 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:19 am

One other thing I wanted to add. We may all have slightly different preferences in equipment. As long as it's not designed to give the dog pain, we should all be free tol find what works best for us. I don't think there is one "wonder-tool". Well I do, but you can't buy it in a pet shop or online - it's YOUR connection with the dog. If you are depending on equipment of any kind to control the dog, you're going to maybe see some improvement, followed by another disconnect, unless you actively teach the dog what you are wanting. Ultimately, it's your brain and your relationship with the dog that makes really good training. I'm not saying that is true of anyone here. But I know a lot of people who are in a constant quest for the latest piece of equipment to stop their dog from pulling. The only thing that will really stop the dog from pulling is to teach him that it's to his benefit NOT to. And there are also many successful but different ways to do that.
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Post by Mattie » Sun Apr 19, 2009 11:23 am

Pawzk9 wrote: Interesting, I suppose I'll have to find my old tracking harness and take a look at it. The tracking/trailing harnesses I've seen attach in the middle of the dog's back, not over the point of balance (shoulders) and we know the further back the attachment is, the more body the dog has to pull with. Which is why sledding/pulling harnesses attach WAY back. When I am tracking with a dog, I don't want that dog to be inhibited from pulling. I WANT a tight line.


The strap round the body should be just far enough back to fit were it the chest is starting to narrow, placed her it is difficult for the dog to slip out of the harness. The centre of balance is above the shoulders when pulling, when walking properly it is further back.

The ring at the front were the 3 straps are joined can also be used to clip a lead to so you have the lead in front as well.

What length of lead do you use for tracking? The ones I have seen are quite long, the further away from you the dog is the better chance he has of pulling in one of these harnesses so shouldn't affect your tracking. Dogs can tell the different between short leads and long leads as I have found out in the past unfortunately :roll:


CAN a dog pull against a step-in with a single attachment? Of course. Add a second point of contact and the picture looks a lot different. Also, if the center strap is properly adjusted and the harness well fitted, I haven't seen them ride up onto a dog's neck. The easiest way to put one on is to lay it on the floor, place the dog's feet on either side of the center strap and pull it up. The dogs don't really have to "step" into it. Maybe we are thinking of different harnesses. I'm with you on head halters though. I'm not fond of them.
Having a lead attached to a second point on a harness is fine if you only have 1 dog, when you have several dogs you can't, you then find you are being pulled along. With one of these harnesses it isn't so easy for the dog to pull because on a short lead it will put pressure under the chest and make it more difficult.

That is stepping into a harness, most are not adjustable on the strap round the chest and many are far too big but the other straps fit. They don't have to ride up to interfer with Ellie's tracheotomy, they can't be placed low enough.
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Post by Pawzk9 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 12:32 pm

Mattie wrote: The centre of balance is above the shoulders when pulling, when walking properly it is further back.
<snip>
What length of lead do you use for tracking? The ones I have seen are quite long, the further away from you the dog is the better chance he has of pulling in one of these harnesses so shouldn't affect your tracking. Dogs can tell the different between short leads and long leads as I have found out in the past unfortunately :roll: "
I was referring to the dog's natural center of balance (if unimpeded by a leash or anything) According to our local TTouch practioner (who is also a physical therapist and very good at understanding anatomy) the center of balance is a straight line from the withers to the ground. As to the length of leash I use when tracking. On a trained dog it is 20 feet. On a beginning dog I'm just using my 6 foot leash, attached to the tracking harness. I won't be getting more distance until the dog is confidently pulling at that distance
Mattie wrote:Having a lead attached to a second point on a harness is fine if you only have 1 dog, when you have several dogs you can't, you then find you are being pulled along. With one of these harnesses it isn't so easy for the dog to pull because on a short lead it will put pressure under the chest and make it more difficult.
If I have a dog who's not trained for LLW - i.e., is still equipment dependent, I generally won't be talking that dog for walks with multiple other dogs until our training is further along.
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Post by Mattie » Sun Apr 19, 2009 1:29 pm

Pawzk9 wrote: I was referring to the dog's natural center of balance (if unimpeded by a leash or anything) According to our local TTouch practioner (who is also a physical therapist and very good at understanding anatomy) the center of balance is a straight line from the withers to the ground. As to the length of leash I use when tracking. On a trained dog it is 20 feet. On a beginning dog I'm just using my 6 foot leash, attached to the tracking harness. I won't be getting more distance until the dog is confidently pulling at that distance

The centre of balance depends on the breed of dog, dogs that are big in front like Staffies carry their body forward, the centre of balance is on the shoulder then. Other breeds were the front and back end is more equal the center of balance is further back. It comes down to how much weight the back legs carry. Were a dog carries it's head is a good inclination of whether its centre of balance is forward or more central. A lot head carried like bull breeds means that their weight is forward, a high head carriage means the centre of balance is further back. Hope that makes sense.
If I have a dog who's not trained for LLW - i.e., is still equipment dependent, I generally won't be talking that dog for walks with multiple other dogs until our training is further along.
Dogs need exercise as well as training, when you have a lot of dogs you can't exercise them individually, they have to be exercised together. I don't want my dogs to have a life of training even when young, they have training periods and fun periods, they don't cross. I do also do training when I am just interacting with them by giving them a command at odd times, this reinforces what they have learnt.

What do you mean by equipment dependent?
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Post by Pawzk9 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:25 pm

Mattie wrote:[What do you mean by equipment dependent?
I mean the equipment is what is keeping the dog from pulling, as opposed to the dog understanding that when the leash is loose, we can go forward. Otherwise we can't. When out on a walk, I don't expect "heel" position or rapt attention. But I expect the dog (when on leash) to keep me in his mind enough to remember not to pull me. And when the dogs know that, walking multiple dogs is easier.
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