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Training 2 dogs to be "calm" when getting ready for walk..

danielle9
August 24th, 2011, 12:35 PM
Hello all,

I really apologize if there is a seperate thread that already has addressed this problem, as I think it might be a common one, but I couldn't find it!

I have a 1 year old mixed breed dog (20 lbs) that we've had since she's been a puppy. She's extremely high energy and has always been very excitable. When it comes for "walk time" and the leash comes out, she always jumps up and becomes over the top excited. We've worked with her on this and the expectation is that she needs to "sit" and be calm before the leash goes on. She generally does well with this but you can still tell that she has to try very hard to "contain" herself in regards to her excitement of going for a walk. Other than her overexcitement, she is a very well behaved dog.

We recently adopted a rescue dog who is a 3 year old Golden Retriever/Pyranees cross (70 lbs). He is an extremely calm & well mannered dog and is very smart! He walks very well on the leash BUT also gets way too excited when the leashes come out. We haven't had him for very long so are not sure if this was always the case with him or if he has just developed this habit as he sees our other dog behaving like this. It is my opinion that the two dogs feed off of eachothers energy when it comes time for walks!

My goal is to be able to pull out the leashes, have them both calmly sit while I attach their leashes and get out the door without being jumped up on or being pulled.

This is what I have tried so far:

I always make them sit when I attach their individual leashes but the problem is I can't get them to sit at the same time and if one dog is getting the leash attached, the other one is very "in my face" while I am doing this as they just can't wait for their leash to be attached.

They cannot sit still when I am trying to attach the leashes. They squirm with excitement. I have tried to disengage from attaching the leash and waiting until they calm down before attemping to attach the leash again but it seems like they will do this with me time and time again without associating that they cannot go for a walk unless they are calm when I attach the leash.

I've tried seperating them (putting one in a different room) while attaching the leashes but by that time, they already know its "walk time" and have gotten excited.

I take them for walks at least 2x per day. The first walk is always right before I go to work so its at the same time every morning while the afternoon or evening walks will be staggered in time depending on my schedule. They defintiely "know" what time the morning walk is so by the time I come to get them for the walk, they're already excited. The afternoon or evening walks aren't as bad for excitement as they don't know its walk time until the leashes come out.

I'd also like to mention that once we get past putting on the leashes, the two dogs walk perfectly when we get out of the house... it's just getting to that point that has ben difficult!

Has anyone else had this problem? Please let me know any tips or training methods that have worked with your dogs. I am sure that problem has to do with my technique in going about it but I cannot find a way to do it that works. Thanks very much for any and all advice, it is much appriciated!

:D Danielle

Marty11
August 24th, 2011, 01:01 PM
I have the same issues, I'm giggling at your story...........sorry I know it's frustrating. I have managed to get the Boston to stand quietly for her leash, but the Manchester (he's the older one) and in my face. I'll take suggestions too :thumbs up Your right about feeding off one another, my perfectly good walker is copying the other with leash aggression. Can't win. Someone may suggest one dog at a time?

pattymac
August 24th, 2011, 05:44 PM
Yup, I have that problem too!! With me it's a bit more of a pain cause Bayley wears on Easy Walk harness...so it's pretty much wait, then I grab her, throw her down on the floor, sit on her and put her harness on!!! Just kidding of course...but it's tempting sometimes!! Usually I get one of her fave treats, sit on the couch and wait till she stops running back and forth like a demented thing, then she realizes I've got a goodie and sits like a good girl.

BenMax
August 24th, 2011, 06:56 PM
I have 5 dogs and this is actually very easy to handle if you follow these instructions.
A. Command Sit.
B. Both dogs must sit. DO NOT force into sit. Just stand before them until they sit.
C. Say nothing at all. Stand in front of them calmly. Do not make eye contact.
D. When you get the leash (they should be readily available); chances are they are no longer sitting.
E. Command Sit.
F. Don't move, don't make contact with them until they sit without getting all excited.
G. Clip (meaning - clip the leash) to the first dog. At this time chances are the other dog is no longer sitting.
H. Command Sit.
I. Clip 2nd dog. Chances are dogs are no longer sitting.
J. Command Sit.

Do not take the dogs out until they are calm and you make the first move which indicates to them it's time to go outside. Remember that the dogs should not lead you to the door, but you lead them.

This exercise may take you minutes or maybe even 1 hour. Stick to your guns.

I guarantee you this will work. If I can do it with 5 dogs ranging from 5 lbs to 155 lbs - you can certainly do it with your dogs.

Ensure that your command is sharp, you are calm and don't loose patience.

cell
August 24th, 2011, 10:34 PM
Follow BenMax's instructions, I suggest starting on a weekend, it may take you a while to get out the door.

I can sympathize though, although my dog is only 14lbs so it is not much of a issue. He knows when his walkie is each morning and when I come back from work. He races toward the door at my slightest movement. He usually just dances around and whines with excitement then licks my hands like crazy when I reach down to collar him (but he stays still, although it seems like he is about to explode in excitement).

Marty11
August 25th, 2011, 08:18 AM
It's funny how the dog senses the walk coming, I do not walk at the same time time each day but still they pick up the signal and I don't say a thing....I swear it's hilarious. :D

danielle9
August 25th, 2011, 09:26 AM
Thanks all for the replies. We'll definitely start working on this as per the steps given by BenMax and I'll let you know of our progress! It's not the worst problem in the world but it can be very frusterating, especially when our bigger dog starts bouncing around.

We try to make the dogs "sit" for other day to day things too (going out into the yard, feeding time etc) but we're going to make sure that we're EXTREMELY consistant with this so that the dogs learn that if you sit like a nice girl or boy, good things happen! I think that this will probably help with the leash issue as well.

Thanks again! :D

PS. It makes me laugh when some of you describe your dogs as looking like they are going to explode with excitement! As frusterating as it can be, trying to make the dogs sit and wait patiently for their walk.... it always makes me laugh when I look at our smaller dog 'trying' to sit still but you can tell that she can't even container herself she's so excited. How can you not love that!

BenMax
August 25th, 2011, 02:28 PM
I second the "start on a weekend" so you have plenty of time and are not feeling rushed.
I would also suggest that you take the leash out at intervals during the day and not go on a walk, this way your pooches will start to learn that leash does not always mean walk.
You could also go through your sit/attach the leash exercise and then take the leash off and carry on with your day instead of going for a walk. Breaking the association between leash and walk will help keep the excitement in check, you can praise them for keeping calm and the hope is that this will carry over to your leashing for the walk experience.

Good luck :)

That is an interesting idea.

Now I am wondering what are the dogs like when walked on leash? Are they to your side?

Sib.HuskyMom
August 25th, 2011, 09:16 PM
I agree with Benmax's suggestions.
I used pretty much the same approach, but for a slightly different scenario. My boys used to jump and go crazy whenever it was dinner time.

But I kept stopping, getting them to sit and be calm, then continue what I was doing. As they as they got up, I would stop, and make them sit again.
Some times it took me half an hour to just put the kibble in the bowl and the bowl on the floor (verrrry trying on your patience, let me tell you). But it didn't take them long to catch on to why I kept stopping and waiting for them.

After a couple weeks of absolute consistency with every meal (or every walk in your case), we haven't had a problem about jumping since. And that was 2 and a half years ago.

Memes suggestion might help too, to desensitize them a bit. Give it a try and see how it goes.
You didn't have any other plans this weekend, did you? :p

Longblades
August 26th, 2011, 09:41 AM
Something that worked for me, with my one dog, was to take someone or something else out for a walk instead. For me it was a big rubber boot, which of course sat perfectly still and quietly. LOL It happened to be by the back door.

Here's how it went.

SIT. Wiggle, thrash, whine, jump, wag, wag, wag, wiggle went the dog. Mr. Boot though, was sitting pretty. "Good SIT Mr. Boot, what a good boot you are." I put the collar on the boot, attached the leash, carried the boot out one door, around the house to the other door, went back inside. "Good boy Mr. Boot." Turned to the dog; he sat I tell you, and he behaved.

The only thing I did wrong was, I should have set up a video to record the priceless look on my dog's face as I took Mr. Boot for a walk instead of him.

renegaderuby
August 26th, 2011, 10:28 PM
MR. BOOT. OMG...I cannot BELIEVE that one. I'd pay money to see the "look" you got from the dog (and the neighbors)...Im laughing so hard.

Myka
August 27th, 2011, 01:37 PM
I like BenMax's idea, here's another one:

Anytime a dog is a jumper (and I know he won't bite), I will grab him by the scruff on each side of his neck and say "Enough!" in a really growly voice (word doesn't have to be understandable) while pushing him down into a half lying half sitting position, just enough to damage his ego and take the fun out of it. Doesn't take many repeats for this if you come on strong enough. Once he knows the "enough" growl, he will react to the word without you grabbing him. Then when he gets too excited you use the "enough" command. Works well for excessive barking too. Works better with older dogs, as it's hard to hurt a puppy's ego.

renegaderuby
August 27th, 2011, 03:23 PM
Thought I'd post another quick idea. since they have a different frame of mind when performing tricks , or doing a "act" to get a treat.
If the sit, treat, go to put on leash and the dog acts mad routine gets old....
Get them to go thru a few cycles of thier "tricks" . It puts them in a more "calm" state of mind..because they have to "focus" ..and "perform" to get the treat.
It should calm them enough to get the leash on them.

AND
you could also try...anytime they do thier tricks (again different state of mind)..you have thier leash ON them while doing them.

So...get leash, click on ...make perform tricks...treat. Take leash off.
Do this over and over....(at non walking times)...then they will "get" that when you click that leash on...they may be going for a walk. They may not. But they will have to sit, roll over, shake hands..(whatever) ...BEFORE they get to do anything else.

Hope I make sense.

Reason I say this...is when my pups are restless...we break out the 'tricks" bag. Its like it just refocuses thier mental state or soemthing.
We've even found bullet shapped icecubes (like at sonic )...is a good "totally fat free" and "healthy" treat..that our pups . LOVE

Stinkycat
August 29th, 2011, 03:20 PM
I have 5 dogs and this is actually very easy to handle if you follow these instructions.
A. Command Sit.
B. Both dogs must sit. DO NOT force into sit. Just stand before them until they sit.
C. Say nothing at all. Stand in front of them calmly. Do not make eye contact.
D. When you get the leash (they should be readily available); chances are they are no longer sitting.
E. Command Sit.
F. Don't move, don't make contact with them until they sit without getting all excited.
G. Clip (meaning - clip the leash) to the first dog. At this time chances are the other dog is no longer sitting.
H. Command Sit.
I. Clip 2nd dog. Chances are dogs are no longer sitting.
J. Command Sit.

Do not take the dogs out until they are calm and you make the first move which indicates to them it's time to go outside. Remember that the dogs should not lead you to the door, but you lead them.

This exercise may take you minutes or maybe even 1 hour. Stick to your guns.

I guarantee you this will work. If I can do it with 5 dogs ranging from 5 lbs to 155 lbs - you can certainly do it with your dogs.

Ensure that your command is sharp, you are calm and don't loose patience.

Exactly how it should be done. The only way you'll succeed is with ALOT of patience and consistency, but it will work

danielle9
August 30th, 2011, 09:40 AM
An update on how our progress is going:

We started our new routine this past Friday and have followed the steps suggested by BenMax. Definitely a HUGE improvement. They still get super duper excited when its walk time but when it comes to clipping leashes and the rest of it they are improving. My smaller dog (Kinga), who I thought was going to be the more stubborn one in regards to sitting still, has caught on so quick and she definitely understands that we are not going for a walk until she plants that little bum of hers down on the ground. The bigger dog, Brody, he will sit but has a hard time staying in this position until we are ready to go but he doesn't jump up on me hardly at all anymore (meanwhile Ms. Wigglebum is sitting perfectly still). Establishing this was definitely a battle of wills for the first few tries but at this point, I definitely can see major improvements so I will be sticking with this no matter how frusterating it can be at times! I think that the dogs just needed for me to be very confident in letting them know in how I expect for them to act.

I think that incorperating other ideas suggested by other posters in regards to not make walk time SO exciting (ie. pulling out leashes a times and not going for walks or getting the dogs to do other tricks before going for the walk so they can get over their excitement) are things that we'll definitely be utilizing.

We haven't had Brody for very long so we're still establishing with him our routines and behavioural expectations and I can understand why this might be harder with him but I am confident that we'll get there with him... just needed some encouragement so thanks to everyone for their replies!:D