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On Leash Behavior versus Off Leash

suebruce
May 3rd, 2006, 11:46 AM
Hi everyone... Sam has come a long way from before when he didn't want to walk and was afraid of everything... I am soooo proud of him. He is still a pretty sensitive guy... but has gotten brave and is socializing well.

Here is the thing... I don't want to say problem as he is only 4.5 mths so I know we are still training... but this week now when we go for walks he sees a dog or person in the distance approaching us and he crouches while walking in anticipation of them approaching... even though I try getting his attention and trying to get him to focus on me... the hound takes over and he completely acts like he has no idea I am there... then when the dog or person gets right beside us he ties to go into play mode on the leash...

My problem with this... is I have been trying to teach him that while on leash we do not socialize. I make sure we have opportunities off leash to play with dogs, but not while on leash...

Does anyone have any good suggestions of things that work. Sam is half coonhound and half boxer and sometimes I have noticed with the hound it is a real challenge to keep him focussed on me... especially right now with all the new smells around.

by the way in case it is relevant... he got snipped on Friday and hasn't been to his play group or class since the Sunday prior so I am wondering if part of it is he is just acting out cause he misses the interaction. Regardless I would like to use this as a teaching opportunity... because there will be times when we might not see his friends and he needs to still accept that the rules are the rules no matter what.

Your thoughts are all welcome:)

jessi76
May 3rd, 2006, 12:02 PM
I have been trying to teach him that while on leash we do not socialize. I make sure we have opportunities off leash to play with dogs, but not while on leash...

I think it's IMPERITIVE you teach Sam proper leash socializing manners. There will be times in your life together when you encounter other dogs while on leash, and Sam must be taught to act appropriately. Encourage this - welcome these opportunities - and teach. I'm not saying to let them romp, play, and get tangled up - but to be able to greet politely is a necessary skill.

Does anyone have any good suggestions of things that work. Sam is half coonhound and half boxer and sometimes I have noticed with the hound it is a real challenge to keep him focussed on me... especially right now with all the new smells around.

hounds are tough, no doubt about it. Hounds in spring are even more tough. You're right in the fact that he's only 4.5 mths and you have lots of training to do still, but you should start teaching WATCH ME. everytime Sam looks AT you - reward. He'll learn watching you equals good things. Hopefully those things are BETTER than the smells out in the world. I've used some motivation when needed w/ my own hound - toys, treats, a squeeker from an old toy, and the WATCH ME command.

suebruce
May 3rd, 2006, 02:05 PM
Thanks Jessie,

Yes I do already reward at every opportunity the watch me thing... the problem is... that I would like to know if there is a correction as well, like a negative response for pulling and going crazy on the leash when he should be walking.

I agree with you that greeting on the leash is a necessity... but he is doing this with people, dogs, and cyclers... and granted it is a very new thing... but I of course would rather nip it in the bud as he is going to be a very big boy and already his size makes people look a little tense when he starts his play pounce dance. People do not like dogs rushing toward them.. and to be honest I know that when this happens it shows me that at that moment I am not in control nor do I have his attention.

I will keep working on it and tonight we are going back to class so I will bring it up with the trainer.

jessi76
May 3rd, 2006, 02:23 PM
you can correct the pulling/going crazy in different ways. You could ignore it, "be a post", don't move until he stops the crazy pulling and watches you. You could try "dinking the leash" (I say that in quotes because it's Tenderfoot's advice, if you search the training forum, you should find info on the leash-dinking, being a post, & how to do it all properly)

basically, don't give into Sam's demands.

I, personally, love the head harnesses as a training tool. There are many to choose from now-a-days. Gentle Leader, Halti, Snoot Loop, and my personal fav... Black Dog head harness, just to name a few.

These control pulling, but must be used properly. You can't jerk the dog around by a head harness. (which sometimes is a natural reaction for some people, not necessarily you, just wanted to mention it) It can help you control a large dog, or one that can literally drag you around, gives you control while you TRAIN. It's a good tool, but it's just that, a tool. good leash manners still need to be taught.

it may help you out while Sam's still very young, playfull & excited, yet still learning.

suebruce
May 3rd, 2006, 03:53 PM
Jessie,

I just want to start out by saying... I really appreciate the responses you have taken the time to give me as well as others... let me just say you give your advise without jumping to conclusions or judging and I do appreciate it. We are all so protective of our babies and think they are the smartest, cutest... anyway, not trying to gush.... it just was something you should hear as I do see you take the time for many of us newbies.

I am going to check out these harnesses and also I think your post idea is a good one too...(not sure why I didn't think of it as I use it to encourage the loose leash and it seems to work) I guess if I use it I just need to make sure that we move far enough away so that he can't successfully make contact with whoever it is... dog or human.

Your right.. ;) Sam is young and he has already managed to learn so much in such a very short time. You should see how good he is to sit when ever we wait to cross a street or when we need to open a door... and even though he has dicovered his hound voice... he is respectfull not to use it unless absolutely necessary, ie.. talking to his friends Dante or Maxxie or Jake and as well, when he is disagrees with a decision:evil: . He has even gotten over his fear of the car and will get in by himself which is good because he is 35 lbs and it was getting hard to keep lifting him up.:love: :)

Anyway, I will try these suggestions and try to let you know how I fared.

Lissa
May 4th, 2006, 08:51 AM
Hounds are really not that bad for any lurkers who are put off...Yes, they are independent thinkers but they are just as capable of learning if you are committed!

Anyway, great advice so far...I don't like training tools but I found the attention command very difficult to enforce so perhaps a head hatler would help...

Dodger (who is also a scenthound) really liked to stalk other dogs and then spring up (rather rudely) into their face...So I learned what distance he could handle seeing a dog without getting hyper...Then I moved to that distance and had him sit or down (I didn't give the attention command until he could easily accept a dog walking by in the distance). As he improved, we moved closer to the distraction. I did use the attention command in other less-distracting areas until he was perfect - only then did I start asking for attention when a major distraction passed by (otherwise there was a good chance Dodger would ignore me) - it is very hard for puppies to focus on a boring human when a potential playmate is passing by!!

At this point setting up similar situations with people/dogs you know will help a lot - we tend to act differetnly when its a strange depending on the circumstances so having a volunteer who knows what to do/how to react will help you and Sam get it right!!

suebruce
May 4th, 2006, 10:45 AM
I think it's IMPERITIVE you teach Sam proper leash socializing manners. There will be times in your life together when you encounter other dogs while on leash, and Sam must be taught to act appropriately. Encourage this - welcome these opportunities - and teach. I'm not saying to let them romp, play, and get tangled up - but to be able to greet politely is a necessary skill..

Jessie, after your comment I pressed my trainer more last night on why they keep stressing we never allow our dogs to socialize while on leash and he looked at me like I had three or four heads... When I pointed out that people keep saying I need to teach Sam how to greet or act appropriatly with encountering other dogs he realized that this was a timely conversation to have with all of us. We practiced it a bit in class and I feel so much better. He also appologized for not being clearer. Sam is now so happy to know that he can say hi if done the right way.:)

jessi76
May 4th, 2006, 11:03 AM
oh that's great news!!! it really sounds as if you've found yourself a great training place!

In the classes I attend we practice meet & greets also. Me & my dog start on one side of the room, dog #2 & owner on the other side - we walk towards each other - stop in center of room. (dog's on the outside, owners on the inside) put the dogs in a sit/stay then shake hands and say hello. then, we continue our walk across the room. Practicing this often really really helps. I can now go to the pet store w/ my dog, easily walk the aisles, and he's not trying to jump all over other ppl or their dogs.

if he does get to say hello to another dog I let him do a "first name, last name" head sniff = first name. butt sniff = last name.

tenderfoot
May 8th, 2006, 06:59 PM
'First name-Last name' is cute! :p

On leash or off, it is about what you permit to have happen - your rules.

Giving him jobs can help too. Get his mind on you and be a bigger distraction than the thing he wants. This is where the work you do prior to the walk can help a lot. Don' t just head out - do some warm ups first to get him in the right mind set. Remember that every time you ask him to do something and he does - he has a release of calming chemicals that make him easier to work with. So the more you ask and the more he does - it naturally changes him.

suebruce
May 12th, 2006, 01:20 PM
Tenderfoot, when I take Sam out for a walk to keep him focused on me... I try to keep talking to him so that he looks up at me and realizes he is not alone but has company. People see me talking and I am sure sometimes they are convinced I have officially lost it. (we live in a small community so many already know me and have suspected for a long time there might be the odd loose piece of hardware. :)

Seems to make a difference as the days when I am just talked out from work and just want to have a good strong walk and get lost in my thoughts... Sam seems to be a completely different dog. I am wondering if my talking keeps him engaged with me and when I am silent he also gets lost in other things like other dogs...

By the way he is doing better on the greeting and thinks this is awesome that if he is calm and behaved I will let him say hi.