A Variety of Leash Training Methods

Tricks, obedience, behavior, and more.
jmann4

A Variety of Leash Training Methods

Postby jmann4 » Fri Jun 11, 2004 9:44 am

Moderator note:
As in all areas of training, there are numerous methods that lead to similar chosen behaviors. One such method for training walking properly on a leash is directly below, many others follow in this thread. Only you can decide which is most appropriate for you, your dog, and your needs.





Moderator note: Thanks Michelle (MNP13) for sharing this lesson.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(I typed all this out a while ago for another list I'm on, so here you go with a few updates and revisions...)

If you want him to stay at your heel correctly when walking there is an EASY way to do it with a prong. It takes about 15 minutes and your dog will teach itself. You can NOT do this with a choke chain. They are useless as soon as the dog is on the wrong side of you or at the wrong angle. This will also not work with a flat collar, because all you do is jerk the dog's neck which is uncomfortable but not much by way of 'correction'.

I wrote this for heeling on the left, but you can do everything on the right if you choose.

Anyway, about the heel. Put a prong collar on the dog and hold the leash in your left hand with the dog on your left. Do not hold the leash with two hands, left only. The collar should be right up behind their ears, and the leash should be slightly slack. There should be a 'J' between you and the dog - i.e. no pressure on the collar at all

Now walk straight ahead, do not give the dog a command, do not look at the dog, just walk at a steady pace. Watch the dog out of the corner of your eye. When he gets ahead of you QUICKLY turn around. As you turn, let your left hand/arm trail behind you and then when you are facing the other direction bring your hand forward quickly. Continue to walk at a steady pace. Go at least 30 steps so that the dog is walking in a straight line, then turn again if necessary.

Do not turn and then take three steps and then turn again. You will just frusterate and confuse your dog. You need at least 10 steps to get both of you going in a straight line, then a bunch more to give your dog a chance to think about things.

You dog will yelp and may fight the first time you do this. The second time he may yelp as well. You are not hurting him, you are surprising him. You are teaching him through his own actions that he must walk in a position where he can see you and respond to your movements. After two or three turns he should turn with you with no trouble. He will teach himself that getting ahead of you makes him unable to see you turn, and if he can't see you turn he gets a correction. By not giving him a command he is not obeying or disobeying you - he is responsible for his actions - he also can't decide to disobey you and that is very important as well.

Try this out without him on the leash a few times. The turn must be smooth and controlled for it to work. You need to be confident as well, you are letting your dog know that you are the one in control of the walk and if he doesn't want to pay attention to you then he corrects himself for it. I'm sorry if this is hard to follow, I just do it automatically and it's hard to describe completely. (I did think of making a movie and posting it, but both Ruby and Connor are completley unwilling to misbehave while wearing prong collars!) If you are not getting a short 'pop' on the collar when you turn you need to work on your timing. The correction should be quick and short. If you do a long slow pull you will not 'get the point across'.

This may sound mean, but if your dog doesn't yelp the first couple times you do it you're not doing it right. Because the correction is short and fast and only comes when you turn around it sends a very clear message to the dog 'stay with me or you won't like the consequences'.

By making him responsible for tracking your movements you get a very willing 'heeler'. When he is where he belongs, say 'good dog, heel'. Then start saying the command when he is next to you walking. When you say 'break' allow him to roam to the end of the leash sort of push him away from you to get the point across that it's now ok to be out of his heel position, then say heel (and if necessary, turn) to get him back where he belongs.

With the dogs I train there are no 'stay' commands, there is only a command that the dog is to obey until another command is given. So he should heel until told to break, or if you have a 'go ahead and sniff every tree you see' command use that.

You may need to start off a few walks with this method before they get it down pat.

Let me know if you need further details on what you're doing or why you're doing it, I am aware that you can't read my mind through your computer screen.

Let me know how it goes!!!!

Michelle
_________________
"We [the AKC] have gotten away from what dogs were originally bred for. In some cases we have paid so much attention to form that we have lost the use of the dog."
--Former AKC President Kenneth Marden

jayL

Postby jayL » Mon Jun 14, 2004 2:10 pm

Correct me if Im wrong, the right position should be the dogs head in front of your knees watching your steps and turns and at the same time, it's standard heeling that the dog's shoulder be inlign with your legs.

How to approach a dog that consistently lags behind?

jmann4

Postby jmann4 » Tue Jun 15, 2004 12:17 pm

jayL wrote:Correct me if Im wrong, the right position should be the dogs head in front of your knees watching your steps and turns and at the same time, it's standard heeling that the dog's shoulder be inlign with your legs.

How to approach a dog that consistently lags behind?


Personally, unless you are heeling for competition then a dog that is close to you is just fine. If you're going to do obedience competitively then yes, the dogs shoulders should be at your knee.

This is accomplished in the proofing phase of this behaviour. Once you get the dog to walk nicely on lead you can proof the dog and teach it to walk in a certain position.

mnp13

Postby mnp13 » Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:00 pm

jayL wrote:Correct me if Im wrong, the right position should be the dogs head in front of your knees watching your steps and turns and at the same time, it's standard heeling that the dog's shoulder be inlign with your legs.


As long as the dog can see you to turn with you, just about any position is ok. Whe I said 'gets ahead' I meant more along the lines of the dog goig to check out a bush or sniff a mailbox, etc.

There is no 'right' heeling position. Different dog sports and shows have heeling 'rules' but if you are not competing then these guidelines will put your dog exaclty where it should be - in position to see you and track your movements.

jayL wrote:How to approach a dog that consistently lags behind?


Shorten the leash until it is just long enough to have some slack.

Speed up. Then slow down. Then speed up. Then slow down. If the dog hangs back then give a few quick tugs to get them where they belong. Then praise. Then turn. If they lag behind then get them where you want them again. The idea of this entire exercise is to get your dog to stay with you, not ahead of you, not behind you.

Michelle

addy's daddy

Postby addy's daddy » Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:37 pm

VERY GOOD STUFF

I went to get Addison fitted for a collar, and to meet the trainer at the local pet shop.

He showed me how to get my little pup started on leash training. This guy has 20+ years with the DEA, State & Local Law Enforcement.

He started her off just like you said, and drug her across the pet shop's tile floor. I was like... what the hell.

He did this like 5 times and Addy just polished the floor with her butt. He said do this a few times a day at home and say NOTHING, no commands.

I must say I thought this guy was a quack, but it worked GREAT.

Even at 8 weeks she will now follow my first step, and when I add your great advice... Addison will be the star of her puppy class next month.

THANKS

funkdub

Postby funkdub » Sat Jul 03, 2004 12:17 am

This method has worked very well for me. I have an 8 mo old pup that I rescued 2 mo ago and wanted to teach her to heel. I also have a 11 yr pit/chow that is and always has been a pulling machine, no matter what I tried.

I have been doing it 2X per day about 15 min each for the last 3 days, and so far I am amazed. Autumn, the apbt pup, learned after about 4 corrections on the first day what heel was and to stay there. I do use a choke chain.

My real amazement was when I tried it with Funk. She learned after 1 correction and did so well that I now have my 9 year old daughter doing the training sessions with her.

When the dog lags behind a little I put my right foot out like a big step but pivot to the left so my right leg goes right in front of the dogs face, ( they have usually caught up by this time), making her turn with me but she ends right up in the correct position.

Sometimes just slapping leg and saying heel brings them up as well, thats when you know they really understand whats going on.

I plan on staying in the backyard for another week and a half with increasing distractions from the kids, then the front yard for awhile, then down the block and back for awhile. Baby steps , baby steps.

Hopefully in 4-5 weeks I will have two well behaved (on leash at least) dogs. After 11 years with the dub, it will be a godsend.

jayL

Postby jayL » Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:52 pm

How to teach the dog to look up and read the head turns together with feeling the left hip/leg on their shoulder?

The only problem I've encountered so far in using this method is teaching the stop/freeze command. They either get smart and lag or they stop a few steps ahead of me. Any tips?

mnp13

Postby mnp13 » Mon Jul 12, 2004 6:00 pm

jayL wrote:How to teach the dog to look up and read the head turns together with feeling the left hip/leg on their shoulder?

The only problem I've encountered so far in using this method is teaching the stop/freeze command. They either get smart and lag or they stop a few steps ahead of me. Any tips?


When the dog lags, speed up considerably and correct the dog up to where they belong. If they stop a few steps ahead then turn around.

As for the dog looking up at you while it walks, I have no idea, as I do not prefer this position for a heeling dog. I suppose you could use food or a toy and teach the command 'focus', then use that command while you heel.

Michelle

mnp13

Postby mnp13 » Mon Jul 12, 2004 6:02 pm

funkdub wrote:This method has worked very well for me. I have an 8 mo old pup that I rescued 2 mo ago and wanted to teach her to heel. I also have a 11 yr pit/chow that is and always has been a pulling machine, no matter what I tried.

I have been doing it 2X per day about 15 min each for the last 3 days, and so far I am amazed. Autumn, the apbt pup, learned after about 4 corrections on the first day what heel was and to stay there. I do use a choke chain.


I'm very glad this is working for you! My only hesitation is the choke chain, as chains are not as effective when the dog is lagging, and can lock if they are pulled in the wrong direction. If you hit a stalling point, I would suggest you try a prong collar for 'finishing'

Michelle

funkdub

Postby funkdub » Tue Jul 13, 2004 12:18 am

Well, so far so good. I upped my timetable a bit because Autumn was doing so well. I just got back from a walk to our usual place and she did not pull once. I had to correct her to heel one time due to distraction but other than that perfect.

I am amazed. Three weeks ago I would have laughed if you told me I would have a walk like that, including a cat running right in front of us (she didn't break stride, just looked after it).

We worked alot on the "break" command, and she would go ahead a couple of steps, or off to the side a bit, but no pulling, then fall back into place at the "heel".

Thanks for the great advice, it sure has helped! :bowdown:
:headbang:

As for the choke chain, I am always making sure the "floating" ring is on her right shoulder or so, that seems to give it the best "looseness" when there is no tension and falls back really loose after any correction

prafael

Postby prafael » Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:50 am

My pup is only 12 weeks old and we are having our first walks. The problem is that she sits her butt and refuses to walk unless we take her way. I know she is too small for the prong or choke collar. By now Im using a flat collar. Should I be pulling her arround until she gets that the correct thing to do is to follow me? :roll:
Thank you for your answer

Rafael

jayL

Postby jayL » Fri Jul 23, 2004 10:27 pm

Hi Prafael, don't rush to things and always be gentle. Your pups trust with you is the foundation of bonding you will have all throughout. Teach him as if he's your baby and make that on-leash walk a memorable and happy one. You can bring toys or treats to excite her to divert her attention from the leash. You can also show her that walking is fun by talking in a happy tone. I do this by whispering "Goooooood doooogggg!, that's it that's it! Goooood baby girl!". You may sound a bit crazy but it really is very helpful.

I also suggest you go to a group training so your dog would be well socialized with other dogs as well.

best

mnp13

Postby mnp13 » Mon Jul 26, 2004 7:32 pm

Rafael,

I don't think a 12 week old puppy is ready for any sort of compulsion training. If she is being a stubborn brat than try using a treat or toy to lure her forward. A few steps forward will get her a treat, and she will pick it up very quickly.

You could also get a very light leash and leave it attached to her collar for 5 or 10 minutes to drag around the house so she gets used to it. Of course, you MUST supervise her every minute if you have her drag a leash.

Never work on training for longer than 10 - 15 minutes at a time with a puppy that young.

Michelle

Diane Jessup

A different approach.

Postby Diane Jessup » Thu Aug 05, 2004 5:55 pm

The question was: "How to teach the dog to look up and read the head turns...?"

The answer, you won't with the "jerk 'em till they yelp" method. What you get is a dog who will have a permanent crappy attitude toward heeling. Its first experience "working" with you involved a confusing, nonsensical "death march" where rather than being "responsible for his own actions" (WTF?!) the dog has no control over what you are doing and can only tag along, wondering what is next. Being "responsible for his own actions" occurs when the dog is off lead and CHOOSES to stay in the heel position because he WANTS to, not because he is afraid to step out of position...

A dog will look up in your face while you heel if you are adept at training with positive reinforcement. You teach the dog (without a leash on!) first that maintaining the heel position brings good stuff. Behaviors which are reinforced WILL be repeated. You GRADUALLY add distraction. Those who fail at positive training are (generally) too lazy to learn proper reinforcement technique. There is a trick to it.

Lets face it, not all of us are willing to let some guy make a dust mop out of our puppies. Those that are, fine. But for those who aren't I would suggest you investigate positive training. You can start at www.workingpitbull.com.

I like to have fun with my dog. When my dog is yelping or stressed, I'm not having fun. :sad:

Image
Here is a dog heeling backwards, off-side, no leash, with decoy approaching for a bite. You DO NOT get a bigger distraction than that, my friends! No correction necessary to teach this. THIS is a dog being responsible for her own actions! :headbang:

User avatar
SuperNova
Matured Bully
Posts: 549
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 5:57 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Postby SuperNova » Thu Aug 05, 2004 7:37 pm

How exactly do you get a dog to stay by your side w/o a leash? They wouldn't stick by long enough to know its "good" to 'heel'. . .I'd think.
So how is this done? Do you dangle a treat in front of their nose?


Return to “Training and Behavior”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests