"Loose Leash" training a small dog?

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maryhelen329
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"Loose Leash" training a small dog?

Post by maryhelen329 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:22 pm

What is the best way to go about training a small (7 lbs) dog on a loose leash. I've tried the method on this forum, but it doesn't seem to work for my dog. She doesn't even notice that I'm there. She gets so distracted by everything around her and she just pulls and pulls and pulls. I stop when she pulls but she is persistent. I am considering using the click&treat method in which you treat her so she will want to stay beside you. But I'm very hesitant to start that because I don't want her to learn to do this ONLY if I have a treat. I would prefer to use the method on this forum but I may need some help tweaking it to fit my small dog needs. Thanks!

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Noobs
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Post by Noobs » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:36 pm

I would suggest doing it in your house first so that there are no distractions. Then the yard, then your driveway, then on 20 feet of the pavement in front of your house. Increase the distance slowly. I walked on the same half-block in front of my house for a couple of weeks before I made it one whole block. It took months for us to be able to walk anywhere without my dog pulling. Even now when we're in a new area I have to do a little "refresher" when he starts to get too far ahead of me.

Good luck!

maryhelen329
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Post by maryhelen329 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:24 pm

I will definitely try this! thanks

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Post by Horace's Mum » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:11 pm

You also need to turn away BEFORE she starts pulling, not once she is pulling. To begin with this might mean you never actually go anywhere on your walk because you are going backwards and forwards, but if you set a time limit rather than a distance to walk until you have it sorted then you won't get frustrated with not actually moving. Maybe drive to an empty field so you can move in any direction, not just back and forth on a pavement outside your house?

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Post by emmabeth » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:01 pm

Read some more stuff about clicker training. It does not result,done properly, in a dog who will only work for a treat.

Once you have the behaviour and its pretty reliable, THEN you extend the duration of the behaviour.

That said... I think its a wise plan to get used to having treats around/in your pockets, certainly for the next 12 months or so, because otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure.. and wheres the point in that!

A couple of things that might help though with a smaller dog (though I agree it sounds like you are turning away when shes already pulling, it has to be before!)...

Targeting - teach her to target somewhere specific, either the end of a target stick, or a spot of tape on your pants leg.

You teach her this with the clicker and touching that patch.. or the stick, gets click + treat. Then you build up to touching it for longer... then you do this when moving...

Do those stages all around your house. Then go outside and just stand outside and do touching for short time stood still... then moving... then longer stood still, etc.

Each time you make the game harder in one respect, you make it easier in another - again this is setting you both up for success rather than failure.

maryhelen329
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Post by maryhelen329 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:27 pm

Well, on the thing with pulling away, she doesn't ever stand still when we're outside or she doesn't follow me. She's always pulling away to something else that looks exciting. Like, as soon as we step outside she starts to pull. She just doesn't seem to notice me being there. I think I'm not fully understanding the technique. So assuming that she is pulling from the start, how should I go about with the turning? I was turning after she was pulling, but it is because there was no before. I thought about having a treat to motivate her to follow me, but I don't want to do anything to set her back.
I will be sure to have some treats on me for this training, but is it bad to lure her to walk beside me with the treat. That's probably a stupid question, but I don't want to take anymore back steps with her. As emmabeth knows, I am already behind with Stella due to an outdated book. We can't afford anymore lost time!
I have never had a small dog before and everything just seems like it's a bit more difficult with them.
I think I will try the targeting thing too, though. It sounds like a good plan.
Keep the tips coming! They're great!

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Post by Leigha » Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:41 am

I don't know if it's the "right" way, but when we started with Bruiser he'd try to pull us out the door, so I turned, came back inside, closed the door. Then I got him back in a sit (by no means was he calm... I think he was actually hovering off the ground). Then we'd try it again. It took us a a day and several shut doors, but we got it. When he pulled on the leash during the walk we'd do two different things. I'd stand still and not move. Eventually he figured out on his own to come back to me and sit. I'd give him a "good boy" and we'd keep on going. Jason would turn and go the other way for a few steps then turn back around and continue. That way irritated me, but they both worked just fine.

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Post by emmabeth » Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:58 am

Whatever you can use at this stage to get you to where you need to go... so if that means flat out bribery - do it!

As long as you bear in mind you may need/want to phase bribery out later on its fine to use it!

I would start before you even put the lead on.

Have her sitting nicely and put on the lead. If shes not sitting nicely, then the lead doesnt go on until she is!

Then when the lead can go on and shes calm, its opening the front door... if she pulls/leaps/barks.. close the door the second she does so and wait, ask her to sit again... start opening the door again.

You might very well have to repeat these things a lot and you might need to unclip the lead and sit down for ten minutes or so to calm down, regain your focus/zen/whatever it is... Thats fine!

Presuming you make it out of the front door, start right there, use a treat to encourage her to stay beside you (if shes jumping up and down for it because shes little and your hand is far away dont worry just now, theres ways and means around that one too).

Use a leash that is long enough to go from the dog.. to the hand nearest the dog.. across your body to the other hand AND a bit spare - and use a 'static' harness (ie one with no moving parts or otherwise engineered to prevent pulling by some means). You should allow enough slack that she can get ahead of you.. the point is you are teaching her its HER job to stay beside you. The lead is a safety precaution really, NOT what 'makes' the dog walk to heel.

Walk briskly, dont dawdle! Work out in your head where you want to see HER head in relation to your leg - if she moves from that position forwards, you.... about turn AND drop the slack 'spare' length of lead from your closest hand (so now you are facing the other way with the lead in just one hand) and go off in that direction!

This gives you enough lead length and time to be a pace or two away fromher when she reaches the end of the lead and you are NOT beside her, and you ARE heading off in the other direction. (you, and your pocket full of treats!!!!)..

If you set yourself a timer on phone/watch or similar and keep walks to just ten minutes then you will find its less stressful than trying to make it from A to B and back again.

You can also add in 'sitting and watching stuff' sessions either once you can get to a certain point, or if you drive you can just load her up and go somewhere, sit and watch and get her used to a variety of distractions in a number of different locations.

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