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lucaslavia

Loose leash with a 1yo?

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Hello all,

 

Bob's now 1 and whilst ditsy as hell atm with his hormones raging around he's going ok.

 

What we're struggling with the most is loose leash - he failed his kennel club bronze award class on it.

 

We've been doing the 'become a tree' method for about 5 months now so it's a regular routine for him but that doesn't stop him forging ahead nearly all the time. Generally a walk is really stop-start and his new thing is whenever I turn into a tree he comes back to me and pushes my legs from behind to try and make me move again. Occasionally we'll get a connection and have a really good walk but it's rare and we'll lose that understanding the moment something unusual happens.

 

I understand this is a long game, is it just too much expectation at this age? And are there any good tips I'm missing, especially for a dog who takes each training exercise as a game to problem solve his way around.

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Heather Houlahan's blog 'raised by wolves' has a post called 'it takes two to tension' you might find useful also. Can't link to it at the moment.

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Rather than becoming a tree, you might try just briskly walking in a different direction when he gets ahead of you. If he forges ahead in that direction, quickly change direction again. He will feel a pull on his collar when you reverse direction, which acts as a mild correction, but the main point of this exercise is that he learns he needs to keep an eye on you to make sure he knows where you're both going. And he can't do that if he's ahead of you. You can go faster with your walking and your turns to make it more of a game, but it's a game where he has to watch you or he'll miss out.

 

Might not work, but it's worth a try.

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I used Eileen's suggestion. We would start walking toward a local reservoir where the dogs could be off leash. Great excitement, of course, and my young dog would start to pull on the leash, anticipating the fun he'd have. I'd immediately reverse direction. I can pinpoint the moment where the light bulb went off when he realized we would NEVER make it to the off leash area if we kept up with this back and forth. He let out a loud groan/whine, and stopped pulling on the leash. That was the last time we needed to play that game.

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Yep What Ellen said. it works on every dog I have ever tried it on. Fixed long time leash pullers for folks in 5 min of all breeds

 

Make the dog Responsible for keeping an eye on you and attentive to where You are going and What it is YOU want.

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Yes, when the "tree" approach does not work, try the "crazy zig-zag lady (or man)" approach. It sure works wonders for many dogs. As Lynn said, the light bulb has to turn on and that may take patience on your part. Canine adolescence is almost as bad as human adolescence at times except that it is more tolerable and lasts for a much shorter time span!

 

Best wishes!

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My experience is that the method Eileen suggests tends to work faster than the "tree". Especially if the dog has a goal in mind like the P-A-R-K.

And, just as importantly, it involves less frustration for me, because I get to keep walking. :-)

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I have been the "crazy zig zag lady too" ;-)

it helps to get the dog focus on you, I was just changing directions without waiting for him to pull me, so that he would need to pay attention to where I was going.

another good exercise is penalty yard, with the reward being something your dog really likes at the end of the path.you can create several stations first so that the dog needs to cover a shorter distance for a reward.

also practice heel work at home, off leash.

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Another thing that can help is to offer treats at the point where you want the dog's nose, e.g. at your knee. It doesn't need to be as tight as an actual heel position, but it gives the dog the right idea. It integrates well with clicker training if you use that method.

 

I've found that refillable squeeze tubes like the ones sold for campers and also at Clean Run work well, as do cans of that disgusting spray cheese. The latter's like doggy crack. Both can be held at the waist and then angled down when the dog's where you want it to be, and in the beginning stages pretty much left there for the dog to be licking at while you're walking to give him the idea that it's a great ting to do to be walking by your side. You can put the position on cue then so when he starts to get too far ahead you can verbally bring him back.

 

If you're not looking for a formal heel, which is pretty easy to get using this method, once the dog gets the idea you can allow him more room to that he's just walking with a more extended but still loose leash.

 

You can couple this with crazy zigzag person to encourage the dog to pay attention to your position.

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You may find this helpful: http://shirleychong.com/keepers/LLW/

 

 

This this and more this.

 

Its how I teach LLW: by teaching the dog to notice and respond to gentle pressure on the neck.

 

"The very first significant benchmark for progress was when the horse would yield to pressure at a walk, reach out with their neck, relax their topline and start very gently chewing or mouthing the bit. That was what told us that they were really getting the idea.

And that's where I got my insight! Most dogs really don't know what to do with pressure on the leash and most handlers use the equivalent of the bullhorn in using the leash to communicate. And there's the whole death grip thing that seems to take over even sane people when you put a leash in their hands."

It works brilliantly when taught well and stays taught.

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Another way to encourage the dog to walk right by your side is the game called "Choose to heel".

This is done indoors or in a fenced yard.

 

I have used this to train my dogs to a loose off-leash heel for musical freestyle, and also to get my dog's attention in a strange place where we are going to perform.

 

The idea is you just walk around in a circle, changing and going both ways, or making a figure 8 and so on, paying no attention to the dog. Eventually the dog comes up to you, in a more or less heel position, and you click (or say "good dog" or whatever your marker is, and give a very nice treat. Dog runs off, but eventually comes back again. More click and treat. Etc.

 

Faster than you would think, the dog keeps coming back to get the reward and eventually just walks by your side, getting a treat every few steps, and you've got the dog's attention. Now the real training can begin, or you can ask for behaviors the dog already knows.

 

I have not used this to train loose-lead walking, but might next time I have a puppy. I would use it along with other training methods, like "crazy zigzag" that can be done on actual walks outside the yard.

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