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Earning Back Privileges

September 8th, 2005, 09:58 PM
Does anyone have ideas about the training involved for a dog to earn/ regain off-leash privileges?

This morning, Dodger was put on-leash because he didn't listen the first time I called. Then, when I came home this evening Dodger did the unthinkable. After greeting me in the driveway, Dodger ran toward the road, so I said "EXCUSE me". He immediately stopped but then took a few quick steps closer to the road and when I said "DODGER", the bugger put his ears back and ran across the road to greet a puppy. I was so shocked that it took me a while to register what had happened! Obviously, I have really slacked on our training time, otherwise I'm sure he wouldn't have ignored me like that.

Do you think I need to work on off-leash obedience or the whole "obedience package" before letting him off-leash again? When/how do I know he has earned his off-leash time back? If I take him out on the long line tomorrow, I'm positive he'll listen...but that's not going to automatically restore my confidence in him :confused: !


September 8th, 2005, 10:30 PM
When he looked to you and then the puppy he was in 'limbo land' not knowing if he should listen to you or his own desires - unfortunately his own desires won. When he looked at you it would have been good to get super happy and back away from him as you call him to you. This shows him your not mad (release of pressure) and creates an inviting place for him to come into. The second he turns his eyes away from you is when you use your intense voice (not loud) and say NO (pressure to startle him) and he should look at you again and you have to get super happy and invite him in again. Crouching down when he looks at you can make him want to come into you.

Putting him back on a long leash will give you the chance to empower your word, work on your skills, work on his respect for you and ensure that he ends up making the right choice. You have to try to just use your voice and body lanuage to control him so that when he has shown you that he will consistently listen to you and you are not actually having to use the leash as a back up then he is starting to earn being off leash again.

Even then you should try to keep him close to you when you are outside and lengthen the distance between you as he shows he can be trusted.

September 8th, 2005, 10:41 PM
Do you think I need to work on off-leash obedience or the whole "obedience package" before letting him off-leash again?Melissa

Most definately.

Do not let him off leash untill you can trust him 100%

Have you taught him the "come" command or "sit"?This is a very important command that every dog should know.When Dodger was out the door,and he knew the come comand,you would have been able to say,Dodger "sit"..Once he sat,then say Dodger "come".Then he should have turned around and came right back.I can get my dog to sit when he is 50ft away,then come when I say Tron "come"...I can also get him to do the "down" command from that far.That command is also very important.Same with the "stay"..Also,when you give the "stay" command,take your hand and put it somewhat infront of him.Did that make sense...LOL

When he went across the road to see the pup what did you do?Did you go get him,or did he come running back across the road to you?

See the problem with indoor Obedience classes is that's just what they are,indoors with no distractions.They need distractions.This is how I trained my dogs.I also had friends to help in certain situations.I worked very hard training my dogs.Especially with Tron since he was joing the Police K9 Unit,and I wanted him to pass.And he did.... :) :)

Take him out on a long lead.Do you have a training lead?I used a 30ft one.
I had some slack,just a few feet.Get him to sit.My guys always sat on my left side.Then give him the "stay" command.Walk a few feet,turn around and face him.Wait a few seconds,then give him the "come" command.I always used my dogs name before the command.When he comes,praise him.If for some reason he breaks the command,like starts to get up from his sit command,go right to him and start all over again.Get him back into the sit,stay command.The do the "come" command.Once he masters that,then walk further away from him.Try this and see how it goes.Get someone to help you out with some distractions. :)

September 8th, 2005, 10:45 PM
Thank-you so much tenderfoot, I will definately implement what you suggest.

Unfortunately, there was never a time for me to "get happy" (not that I would have thought about doing this on my own :o ) because he didn't even look back at me. All he did was freeze and when I said DODGER (in a firm voice) he put his ears back and took off.

Putting his ears back was what really stood out for me because when horses do this, you know you've lost them.

My firm voice has worked in the past but now that you have explained it, I can see why showing I'm not mad would be more successful...

Thank-you so much! :)

September 8th, 2005, 11:01 PM
Mona_b - thank you as well, I didn't see your post until after!

Dodger does know come and sit - had I been thinking, telling him to sit-stay probably would have worked. I have done that a couple of times in the past but not lately!

Dodger was originally oustide to greet me and ended up staying with me while I unloaded the groceries. When he ran across the road, I went to get him without saying anything, picked him up and carried him back across the road (he didn't have a collar on). I left him in the garage while I cooled off and finished putting away the groceries.

I do have a horse lunge line for Dodger, so I use that for distance training. The only problem is that I have never (aside from obedience classes) trained around BIG distractions. I mean we go out to the park and all but nothing really challenging. I thought that training recall with food as the distraction (something irresistible for Dodger) was good enough but apparently not! I will definately enlist the help of friends and their dogs this time around!!

Thanks so much for your help - I will definately be out there with the Dodger on the long line for a while! :)

September 9th, 2005, 06:06 AM
Your very welcome...... :)

Just a suggestion,please have his collar on him at all times.If he would have had it on,you could have went over,got a hold of his collar,gave him the "sit" "stay"then gave him the "lets go" command.

Having friends to help is great.This also will teach Dodger to focus on you,and listen to you with distractions. :)

September 9th, 2005, 07:56 AM
Every Dog should get regular lead work to keep them in good opedient form.

For problems consider this from Shirley Chong

Leading The Dance - Building A Better Relationship [Printer Friendly Version]

Leading The Dance is designed as a problem-solving tool. Some of the items will be used for the rest of the dog's life - we particularly suggest the feeding regimen, possession, and the roadwork. Other items will be done only until the dog understands his position in society. When he graduates, release him from the items one at a time over a period of several weeks, watching for him to go back to his old ways. Many people do Leading The Dance one month in six as a preventative measure. If there is any part of Leading The Dance that is liable to get you bitten while you're doing it, DON'T DO IT and GET HELP from a competent trainer!

1. Umbilical cord - As much as possible when you are at home, keep the dog on leash and with you. Put a 6 foot leash on the dog, and attach the other end of the leash to a sturdy belt around your waist. Ignore the dog and go about your business. Having to constantly watch what you do and where you go will not only bond the dog to you, but will help make you important in his eyes.

2. Eye contact x 2 - twice a day, sit down with the dog sitting between your knees, and use a command such as Watch Me, or make funny noises, or tap the dog's nose and then your own, or whatever you have to do to get eye contact.

3. Obedience x 2 - Twice a day, run quickly through an obedience session using whatever the dog knows how to do, Sit, Down, Come, Stay, Heel, repeat as needed. Train for a couple of minutes each session. Do NOT touch the dog to praise him.

4. Feed x 2 - When food is left down for the dog to eat ad lib, the dog owns the food. Ownership is what dominance is all about, so we must take possession of the food. Feed the dog twice a day, in a confined area such as a crate or the bathroom. Use a Feeding Ritual. Ask him if he's hungry, ask him to help find his dish, to help find the food, ask him again if he's hungry, tell him to go to his area or get in his crate, give him the food. As soon as he's finished, or as soon as he turns away from his food, or if he doesn't begin eating immediately, take the dish away, throw away the food, and clean the dish. If the dog is not successful at eating (doesn't eat his whole meal), give him half the regular amount at his next meal, until he is cleaning the bottom of the dish. A successful meal means he gets more at his next meal, until he is eating the amount that will keep him in optimum condition. The food must be high-quality and low-bulk. Water should be freely available all day. Give no treats in the food or by hand. Dogs love rituals and you are teaching his body to get ready to eat when he hears the beginning of the ritual.

5. Possession is 9/10 of the Law - At least once a day, handle the dog. Repeat the words These are my ears! This is my paw! This is my muzzle! This is my tail! as you handle him. If he fusses, go slower. It's important that the dog has a positive experience - that he comes to see that you will be handling him and it's of no concern to him. When he is completely relaxed and accepts your ownership, say OK and release him. If your dog will not allow you to handle him like this without getting angry or getting away, DO NOT do this exercise. Do the rest of the exercises and use the clicker to teach the dog to allow this handling later.

6. Long Down-Stay - Do one 30-minute Down-Stay every day. You can watch TV but the dog must be in plain sight and you must be aware of him. He can roll over, go to sleep, and look annoyed or bored, but he cannot get up or walk away.

7. I'm-The-Mommy Down - At least once a day, just because you felt like it, tell the dog to lie down. When he does, use your voice only to tell him he did a good job, say Okay, and walk away.

8. Bosshood Is In The Eye Of The Beholder - Consider life from the dog's point of view. He sleeps where he wants, he eats when he wants, he leads you around. Any wonder he gets the impression that he's the Boss? Don't allow him to go through doors ahead of you. Don't allow him to go up or down stairs ahead of you. Don't allow him to lead you down hallways. Always position him or yourself so you are leading and he is following. If he's lying down, don't walk around him. Put your feet on the floor and shuffle right through him (note you don't kick the dog, merely push him gently out of the way) - make him think about where you are and what you're doing. When he orders you to let him out, take charge of going outside. Build a ritual around the door. Focus his attention on you: Do you want to go out? Sit! When he sits, you go to the door. Want to go out? Sit. Down. Sit. Stay. Then open the door and order him out: Okay, go outside! You change the situation so you are in charge of it. Keep the dog on the floor. Not on the couch, not on the chair, not halfway up the stairs surveying his domain, not in your lap, not on the car seat. On the floor. Don't leave the dog loose in the house or yard when you're not home. Free run of the house when the Boss isn't home allows the dog to feel powerful and in charge. Don't allow the dog to sleep on your bed, or on a child's bed. Dogs recognize the bed as a throne for the Boss. If he sleeps away from you, however, he will think that you own the bedroom, but he owns the rest of the house. The dog should sleep in your bedroom. If you can't have him sleeping in your bedroom (allergies, for instance), confine him to his crate.

9. Work Off Energy - Roadwork the dog 4 days a week. Start small, but work up to a mile for small dogs, 2 miles for medium dogs, and 3 miles for large dogs. Many problems will disappear with no more effort than roadworking. You can jog with the dog, or ride a bike, or longe him with a Flexilead, or use a motorised trike, or lend him to a jogger who's afraid of being mugged.

10. Busy Hands Are Happy Hands - If you want to pet the dog, he must first do pushups - Sit, Down, Sit, Down, Sit, Down, Sit, Down - then you can pet him for a count of 5 only. He never gets petted because he wants to be or because he demands it, only because you want to and he earns it. Then you pet him for only a moment, and turn away with him wanting more.

11. My Game, My Rules - Give the dog only one toy. If he wants to chase the toy, bring it to you and let you have it, throw it again. If he won't chase it, or won't give it to you, turn your back and walk away. He has two choices, he can play with you and the toy, or he can play with the toy alone. Do not, under any circumstances, play tug-of-war. When you can get the toy without chasing him or playing tug, pick it up and put it away.

12. Eliminate Hormones - Have problem dogs neutered. Some problems will solve themselves with no more effort than this. Not only will the dog be healthier and easier to live with, but your life will be made simpler.

Susan Finlay Ailsby, Tue, 31 Mar 1998 20:12:11 -0600 (CST)

September 9th, 2005, 07:31 PM
db7 - I really like how that was spelled out. Good choice! :thumbs up

September 9th, 2005, 10:26 PM
Thanks for posting that db7, it was quite extensive. I doubt that I will ever comply with ALL of the suggestions below but I assume that it is for dogs with far bigger issues then Dodger...

I like most of the ideas but I doubt that #4, #8, #10 and #11 will become part of our daily routine. I am going to print this off and keep it as reference - thank-you! :)


September 11th, 2005, 08:34 AM
but I assume that it is for dogs with far bigger issues then Dodger.

I have to agree with you there.Dodger doesn't seem to have major issues to me. :)