Help with walking on a loose leash

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sez88
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Location: Plymouth

Help with walking on a loose leash

Post by sez88 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:22 am

Hi everyone,
Ive not posted for a , I have a Collie x Lab named Charlie, he is just over a year old. He is doing really well, he is very smart and has learnt lots of tricks and loves to work for food. :)

But I cant seem to get him to walk on a loose leash. I have tried the loose leash training outlined on this forum and Charlie does remember what he has to do after about 10minutes.
The problem is, he goes to 'doggy daycare' a few days a week so he is not left alone for long periods while myself and my OH are at work and while there he doesn't have to walk on a loose leash. I cant blame her tho, it must be difficult when she has up to 5 dogs at a time.

This means that EVERY time I go to walk Charlie he pulls and seems to 'forget' that I want him to walk on a loose leash so I have to repeat the training process again. :x
How can I solve this?
I was thinking that maybe I could train him to walk to heel as a 'trick' and then request that he does this until we reach the dog park where he runs off leash. I'm not sure if this will work though, or how to do it...any help?

Thanks
Sarah
Enjoying life with our pup charlie...he had us at 'woof'!

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GundogGuy
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Re: Help with walking on a loose leash

Post by GundogGuy » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:42 am

sez88 wrote: I was thinking that maybe I could train him to walk to heel as a 'trick' and then request that he does this until we reach the dog park where he runs off leash. I'm not sure if this will work though, or how to do it...any help?

Thanks
Sarah
That's a brilliant idea, Sarah... put the not pulling (heel) on cue using the word 'heel' or 'cucumber' or 'submarine' or whatever your cue is. But once you've used a cue ensure you always use the same one...

Start from the sit (loose leash) give your cue (normally 'heel' with perhaps a tap, tap on your thigh) and off you go. If your dog is familiar with the route to the dog park then you may find the he starts to move forward from the heel position as he gets nearer to the 'fun place'. You can then do a variety of things including stopping and walking backwards for 3-5 steps then settle the dog into the sit and start again or you can change direction. whatever you do, stop going towards the reward (dog park). The dog will soon realise that going forward is only an option when he's next to you on a loose leash. At first it will take you ages to get there but if you stick to it, your dog will respond and of course when you get to the dog park make a big fuss and go have fun :). If possible you can interrupt the fun with some heel work for a minute or two then let the dog go play as a reward. This teaches the dog that interruptions from you don't signal an end to the fun but also gives a small training 'nugget' in the presence of distractions :D

Until your dog associates your cue (heel) with walking next to you no a loose leash, only use it when the dog is in the correct position. Don't use it as when the dog is pulling or you may be cuing the wrong thing...

It's a pity the doggy day care allows your dog to pull but putting not pulling on cue will help but don't tell the doggy day care people to do it in case they use the cue and continue to allow the dog to pull.

edited to add: remember to give your dog a lot of feedback while he/she is doing it right :D
"Oh what gold there is to find when one is blessed with an open mind" - me, not five minutes ago :-)

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Mattie
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Re: Help with walking on a loose leash

Post by Mattie » Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:43 pm

sez88 wrote: But I cant seem to get him to walk on a loose leash. I have tried the loose leash training outlined on this forum and Charlie does remember what he has to do after about 10minutes.
The problem is, he goes to 'doggy daycare' a few days a week so he is not left alone for long periods while myself and my OH are at work and while there he doesn't have to walk on a loose leash. I cant blame her tho, it must be difficult when she has up to 5 dogs at a time.
It is a pity that the walking can't be consistant, dogs learn a lot quicker if it is. As to walking up to 5 dogs at a time, you should never walk this many unless all the dogs are under control and walking on a loose lease. It only takes one dog to pull the lease out of her hand and there is really trouble, the dog will run off to play, if she as 4 other dogs to deal with who will probably want to go with him, she won't be able to get the loose dog back. Personally, I wouldn't allow my dog to walk with so many dogs.
This means that EVERY time I go to walk Charlie he pulls and seems to 'forget' that I want him to walk on a loose leash so I have to repeat the training process again. :x
How can I solve this?
I was thinking that maybe I could train him to walk to heel as a 'trick' and then request that he does this until we reach the dog park where he runs off leash. I'm not sure if this will work though, or how to do it...any help?

Thanks
Sarah
At his age he is still a teenage hooligan and still wants to play, he is pulling because you don't walk quickly enough. I know someone who teachers her dogs to walk on a loose lead by jogging with them, it works. :lol: With my younger dogs I have to remind them when we first go out for a walk, once they have remembered they are fine. Think about when you were a child or teenager and wanted to go somewhere really badly and how impatient you were because you couldn't get there fast enough, it is the same for the dog.

It won't do any harm to teach it as a trick, it may work it may not, but don't take him along a road without a lead on him, he will only have to see something more interesting on the other side for him to run across the road and maybe hit by a vehicle.

I always say if it works do it, if it doesn't change it to something else but you do need to give it a good chance before moving on.

Let us know how you get on.
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sez88
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Location: Plymouth

Re: Help with walking on a loose leash

Post by sez88 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:56 pm

Thank you both for your replies.
I will definately give it a try, Im sure he will 'get it' eventually. :)

I realise that Charlie being walked with up to 4 other dogs isnt ideal but he is walked by two people (the woman who runs it and her husband) and I see it as a better option to him being left at home all day. I work 12hour shifts (plus the journey there and back) so it would be a long day for him.
We looked into dog walkers before and they charged between £10-£15 for an hours walk and that would still mean he would be alone for at leats 11hours. Doggy daycare costs us £12.50 for the whole day (regardless of how long charlie is there) and Charlie loves going there (he gets really excited as we drive up), he gets to socialise with other dogs and gets his walks for the day. So not all bad :D
Enjoying life with our pup charlie...he had us at 'woof'!

emmabeth
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Re: Help with walking on a loose leash

Post by emmabeth » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:15 pm

I would go with putting it on cue - you could teach him to target your hand on your thigh or similar, and I would definitely pick a cue that is NOT heel or close... pick something they will not guess at such as 'bananas' or something random, so that there is no chance the dog walkers can poison it for you by saying it and then allowing him to pull.

For the first few sessions of this though I would NOT aim to get to the park - start it over a weekend and instead of aiming to complete a certain route or destination, just go out for 10 minutes of loose leash walking, you can do LOTS of ten minute walks, but you will find that within that ten minutes you will work more productively and you will not get frustrated/bored/lose consistency - and he will learn a lot more (and be more tired, its hard work focussing and learning for 10 minutes solid!)
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

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