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Loose leash walking-Getting really frustrated :(

ANBshilling
May 17th, 2005, 11:09 PM
Hi! I've had my puppy since mid-March (he's almost 6 mts now) and have been tring to teach him how to walk "loosely" on a leash ever since (w/a regular collar). What he does, is when we're out walking, he'll pull, then I completely stop until its loose, then as soon as I start walking again, he goes as far as he can, then I have to stop again. Its a vicious cycle! I mean as SOON as I start walking he runs and pulls again. He's not pulling extremely hard, but enough to aggravate the fire out of me! Funny thing is, is he does it mostly when the leash is short, when its all the way out he does fine most of the time, but I want him to walk kinda close. I MUST be doing something wrong. I've taught him a few things on my own, but I just can't seem to get the loose leash walking down. What could the problem be? :confused:
I feel I can teach him everything else and would hate to pay $100-$150 to learn walking of all things!!

twinmommy
May 17th, 2005, 11:10 PM
Get yourself a Gentle Leader and the pulling will stop. :thumbs up

wjranch
May 17th, 2005, 11:58 PM
You want your puppy to stop pulling??
Try being more interesting then wherever he is going to in such a hurry... :D
Treat him lots and praise him tons! If you keep the pace of the walk pretty fast, and keep his eyes focusing toward you... he will stay closer to you.

You can also try the "sneak attack" method...... let him have a longer leash, and as soon as his head is past your knee, you do a 180 and go the other way..... keep on walking like that was the direction you were going in the first place... he's the one got screwed up somehow :confused:
He'll begin to start paying more attention to where you are, and where you're going to be next! And in the process he'll begin to realize that YOU are leading these walks that you take, not him by pulling you in the direction he's wanting to go.
Good Luck :D

ANBshilling
May 18th, 2005, 10:10 AM
You want your puppy to stop pulling??
Try being more interesting then wherever he is going to in such a hurry... :D
Treat him lots and praise him tons! If you keep the pace of the walk pretty fast, and keep his eyes focusing toward you... he will stay closer to you.

You can also try the "sneak attack" method...... let him have a longer leash, and as soon as his head is past your knee, you do a 180 and go the other way..... keep on walking like that was the direction you were going in the first place... he's the one got screwed up somehow :confused:
He'll begin to start paying more attention to where you are, and where you're going to be next! And in the process he'll begin to realize that YOU are leading these walks that you take, not him by pulling you in the direction he's wanting to go.
Good Luck :D

How do I be more interesting? I don't talk too much to him on walks, because I don't think he listens..lol! Its close to impossible to get his attention when we are walking. Sometimes he will sit when I ask him to on walks, but only after stopping, reeling him in (dragging him) and grabbing his face to look at me and tell him to "SIT!" will he do it after a couple of times. Cheese works wonders, but I don't want to always have to carry it. I won't always be carrying gooey cheese in my hand.
I tried the "sneak attack". Except I was turning the opposite way as soon as he started pulling ahead, not when he walked past my knee. I'll have to try it that way. Its just he seems content that I pull him where I want him to go instead of him watching and following, so I wonder if I've made that a habit for him??
Arghhhh! He's sooooooo cute and sweet, but good grief, it shouldn't be this hard!!
I'm starting to consider the gentle leader route, but will that hurt him? I don't want him to be scared of me.

Lissa
May 18th, 2005, 11:00 AM
I had the same problems! After trying to train my puppy to walk loosely, I tried a halti. It was wonderful - when he was wearing it!! So by the time he turned 8 months old, I realized that I seriously needed to TRAIN him to walk nicely without a halti. I used the "sneak attack" and taught him to focus on me in all sorts of situations. I think partly, he needed to mature a little so maybe your puppy is the same?

Also, I find that because my dog knows that he will get daily off-leash walks/palytime in the fields/forests he is much better on-leash. If he was ALWAYS on-leash and had to walk in heel position, I'm sure he would quickly revert back to pulling.

It sounds like teaching your dog to give you his attention and find you more interesting then anything else will work wonders! If he's like my puppy he'll be distracted by anything, just do something silly/irratic and he should turn his attention to you!

Melissa

SarahLynn123
May 18th, 2005, 12:07 PM
We dont use a halti but we do use a choke collar, our method can be done with a regular collar though. We did the same thing it sounds like you are doing, when they pull (just barely) we turn around a walk the other way and say "no...lets go!) with a quick correction and if we see that they are no longer paying attention to us, not pulling though, we will turn around and walk the other way to remind her that I am taking her for a walk.

Our first couple walks consisted of walking in small circles in the alley. On day 3 we made it out of the alley! Be consistant and your pup will catch on.

levimh
May 18th, 2005, 12:45 PM
I agree. This method worked the best for me. Levi caught on after about 20-30 minutes of doing this. I haven't used a halti for a couple of weeks now. I used the words "this way", so now when I say that, he stops a little bit, so that he can be ready for whatever way I turn.

ANBshilling
May 18th, 2005, 03:03 PM
How long should these training sessions be? I walk him 3 times a day because we work and he is crated all day. I'd hate to take his walks away, but if I have to until he learns, then I will.
I will work on the "sneak attack" more. I'm just not sure if its going to work, because he doesn't seem to mind getting yanked at the end of the leash before he realizes I'm going the other way. Its like he'd zigzag all day!
I'm trying really really hard not to use treats or go buy a halti or gentle leader!!

wjranch
May 18th, 2005, 05:31 PM
Halti and Gentle leader's are training tools....although folks seem to buy them and use them forever like a regular flat collar. My training is focused on working reliably OFF lead.... so a collar of any kind will be of no use to me. My dog must learn to focus on me, and mind my commands because he WANTS to....not becaues he has no other choice...
All the other posts have given great advice already, so I won't reiterate it. But, I will say that you may find a prong/pinch collar more effective (I know I did!) Please, if you decide to go this route, find a reputable trainer who can show you how to properly put one on, and properly use it.... so as not to harm your dog, or your training program
Good Luck :D

SarahLynn123
May 18th, 2005, 06:06 PM
How long should these training sessions be? I walk him 3 times a day because we work and he is crated all day. I'd hate to take his walks away, but if I have to until he learns, then I will.
I will work on the "sneak attack" more. I'm just not sure if its going to work, because he doesn't seem to mind getting yanked at the end of the leash before he realizes I'm going the other way. Its like he'd zigzag all day!
I'm trying really really hard not to use treats or go buy a halti or gentle leader!!


I think taking away his walks would worsen the problem. The walks would be the same but wouldn't be a scenic the first little while because you will be walking in circles, dont forget to praise when he does pay attention to you though.

He will be using his brain alot more during these walks which can be just as tiring.

I hope this makes sense!

Daisy's Owner
May 18th, 2005, 09:20 PM
This was a trick that our trainer told us about last week at class. Week 7 of an 8 week class. Yea thanks. But let me tell you, it has worked wonders. BUT... like what has been said before, all these gadgets and tricks are just training tools.

I am not a trainer so I will try an explain this as best I can. We use a martingale collar. A choke would work as well. I don't know much about prongs, but I think it is the same principle. Put the collar just below his ears on his back side and just above his "adams apple" per se. You have the collar right below his chin and right behind his ears.

If you can maintain this position with the collar in position and maintain a heel then praise the heck out of the pup.

If you get it right it's like night and day.

ANBshilling
May 19th, 2005, 03:43 PM
Well I did the 180 "sneak attack" this am and at lunch a little while ago over and over and it has started to help! I think I just might be able to nip this thing in the bud after all.
A few times I switched directions on him I ended up dragging him a few steps, but I don't know how to avoid that.
While we walk is it ok if he wants to stop to sniff something or laydown in the grass to chew on a toy he picked up along the way? I feel like I am thinking about this too much!!

ANBshilling
May 19th, 2005, 08:22 PM
I take it back. I think he's still clueless. I must have literally just draged him around for an hour. Now we're both pooped. I guess I'll have to try a contraption of some sort. I don't understand how we could do it for so long and he still doesn't get it?!?

levimh
May 19th, 2005, 08:46 PM
Try to keep a quick pace and make him pay attention to you. Hold on to the leash tight and turn "on a dime", while saying "this way" or "turn" (or whatever you want). Try it in a big open area so that you can keep turning in the opposite direction when he doesn't pay attention to you. Praise him when he walks next to you without pulling.

I'm sure you'll get it eventually! I didn't think Levi would get it, but he eventually did.

tenderfoot
May 21st, 2005, 12:13 PM
Sorry I am late on this thread.

Right now you are asking him to perform at college levels and you two aren't ready for it. You could be ready very quickly but we need to take a couple of steps back.

First - the extendable leash goes in the trash - they teach dogs to pull. Unless you have it locked there is always pressure on his neck - so he thinks pressure is normal and what he should be feeling. The thin string on the leash doesn't allow you to communicate effectively - the difference between me leading you on the dance floor by one hair on your head versus leading you by your ponytail. He should never be in front of you at all - unless you have given him some free time to wander - and he has to earn that. Extendable leashes give dogs too much freedom, pressure on their collar and he is not getting any more exercise walking 4 feet in front of you than he would walking beside you - you are both taking the same walk!

If you want to exercise him then take him to a safely fenced area and play ball - he should not be taking walks that are just reinforcing his problems.

I am going to outline the Post (stay close) drill and the 2-step dance for you. This is done with a flat, wide collar and 4-6' leash. NO treats, halters, martingales, choke chains, pinch collars or gooey cheese. The point is to teach him not to pull at all in the first place. When you are successful with the "post drill" then you go to the "2-step dance". This shouldn't take hours it should take minutes if done correctly. Start in the house (least amount of distractions - greatest amount of success). When you are successful inside then you go just outside your door (adrenalin rush) and get good there. From there you start to work on heeling - which we can cover later.

Being a Post - The stay close and don’t pull drill.
This the first drill that we teach. It is about using pressure and release of pressure to get your dog to choose his behavior according to your wishes. In this case he is to stay close to you and not pull on the leash. This is the beginning of controlling your dog's boundaries and teaching him to submit to your pressure. This teaches your dog that he can go anywhere on the leash, whether it is two feet long or twenty feet long, but he cannot pull against it.
On leash this drill is about no pulling on the leash – no matter how badly the dog wants to get at the distraction. When this drill becomes an off leash instruction – it is about staying with in a boundary that you have set. Perhaps I don’t want my dog to go a certain distance away from me in the park or at a camp site. When he gets to a certain distance away from me I will say “Close” or “Stay close” to let him know what the boundary is.

Teaching your dog not to pull
Stand or kneel in one spot – you are a solid post in the ground. Your dog is on the leash (with a flat, wide collar). You need to catch him before he starts to pull and ask him to “stay close” in a firm tone as he nears the end of the leash. If he doesn’t respect your words then you start to pressure him with little irritating ‘dinks’ on the leash. These dinks are not hard enough to move your dog, but they are intense enough to stop him in his tracks. (see Pressure & Release chapter to understand the dinks). Every time he begins to reach the end of the leash start 'dinking' the leash to irritate him. You want him to think ‘wow, this is irritating when I pull against this leash, but if I just take one step towards mom then it stops and feels much better”. You are asking him to pay attention to you and gives him the chance to choose not to pull. When he looks at you, leans in to you or takes a step towards you, reward him with a "Good, close" in a whispery tone and stop ‘dinking’ the leash. This is the release of pressure and where the learning takes place.
This will go back and forth many times until he begins to understand that you just don't want him to pull. He should look at the distraction and then check in with you (eye contact) to see what you want him to do.

Working with distractions.
Do this exercise in four locations in your house until you both have it down really well. Then do it with increasingly tempting distractions.

First establish your boundary, and then toss a treat outside of your boundary as you say “close”. He should look to the treat and then to you – that’s a perfect ‘check in’. If he starts to pull or lunges at the treat then begin your pressures. If he doesn’t listen to the dinks you have some choices – you can stomp your foot, slap your hand on your leg or say “hey” in a firm tone. These are startles to get his attention so that you can help correct his lack of respect and guide him in a better direction. When he looks at you then praise him.

When he sits, licks his lips, yawns or lies down – these are calming signals that tell you he understands and will not argue anymore – he is gaining respect for your wishes. However if this is an impatient dog or a puppy then he might only hold it for a second and then go right back to challenging you. Be ready to start again.

Repeat this drill several times until he stops challenging.

Working outside – release of adrenalin
Begin by working just outside of your back door, when you are successful then move to the front yard, then down the block a few houses and then to the park. Always work toward success – try not to move beyond your dog’s abilities too quickly or he will fail and lose confidence. If you move successfully and quickly through the distraction phases then you will both do great.

Then start working on a longer line – to help you in get off leash. Set your boundaries further away from you and try to use the leash as a back up tool. Use your voice and body language more actively and then use the leash only to back it up if he is not listening. Soon you will notice your dog not wanting to leave your side – he will naturally just stick close to you.

2-Step Dance
Heeling is a matter of the dog not leading the way - you are the leader. He should not be in front of you at all. When he takes 1 step past your toe line then you can turn into him and go the other way....you can go quickly backwards 5-10 steps until he is by your side again and then progress forward with a loose leash, or you simply go in the opposite direction he wants to. It is not where he wants to go it is where you want to go - and for now you always want to go in the opposite direction he does. Then as soon as he figures it out you will continue to walk in one direction for longer and longer periods of time as long as he is being good.

There is a great drill we do called the 2-step dance, which we use a prerequisite to heeling. Have your dog on a loose leash beside you (in the house to start), and you are going to take 1, 2, or 3 (no more) steps away from him, giving him a cue with your leash and your words inviting him to join you. Then make an abrupt stop (you can even stomp your foot a bit), and see if he stops with you at your side or does he blow past you? If he stops with you then whisper - 'good job' and count to 10 slowly before you do it again. If he blows past you then IMMEDIATELY turn a 180 and go 1,2 or 3 steps in the opposite direction he wants to go - and start again. For awhile you might be darting all over the room as you attempt to get him to understand the rules of the game. But then a light will go off for him and he will stop and look up to you. PRAISE! *If he looks at you and creeps to sit in front of you that's okay so long as he is looking at you. The object of the game is to get him to care where you are going and to watch you and not cross your toe line. He is going to think "what is this crazy lady doing?" - changing directions every few seconds? Then he's going to realize that it is related to his actions. If his brain is everywhere else but on you then he gets to keep moving and moving and moving (the pressure) in a thousand different directions, but if he is paying attention and doing well then he gets to relax by your side (the release).

When you are successful in different rooms of your house then take it to the back yard and then the front yard and then down the driveway. Working until you are successful at different more challenging locations.
From there heeling should become a breeze.

I hope this makes sense - let me know if you have questions.

Dogastrophe
June 1st, 2005, 10:58 AM
I have a follow on question to this discussion. I have three dogs (small and medium terrier mixes) of varying age and leash walking ability. The three together have managed to turn 10 min walks into 20 min walks, etc. Essentially they have taken to enjoyment out of walks.

My oldest is the best leash walker of the bunch. Although he enjoys being at the end of the leash (regular 6-foot leash), he exerts no pressure. Often when I have him alone I hold the leash with a couple of fingers rather than looping it over my wrist.

My 16-mos old, whom we got at 9 mos is a puller. When we got her I don't think she had ever been walked on a leash. When her owner surrendered her he left her flexi with the shelter. Best we can tell, the flexi was used as a bathroom break tehter only. After several weeks of trying to get her to stop pulling hard, we bought a gentle leader. She had figured out how to align her head and body in such a way to be able to pull with the leader on. We have worked with her quite a bit and are now trying to start her off with just a regular collar for walks. When she starts to pull (which tends to be 5 mins out the door) we put the leader on (she really does not enjoy the leader), then take off when she is walking well, and repeat as necessary. She does tend to walk better on her own than with the others.

Our 6 mos old - littliest of the three - scrambles hard and covers about 5 times the distance as the other two as he feels it is his mission in life to greet every person, plan, animal, dust ball, etc visible on the horizon :crazy:
We haven't tried him walking on his own yet.

My question is this, barring the need to walk each individually, which defeats the purpose of a nice evening walk with the family, is there a way to solve or method to work toward solving this?

Tks,