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Hello - a very basic question. I'm looking for recommendations for teaching a pup to heel on leash? I'm working with a 4 month old pup, using clicker training, which he understands very well, but we can't get a breakthrough on not pulling on the lead. My goal is to have him as good as our older rescue dog who is like a feather at the other end of the leash....she came to us highly trained...we've had to do nothing except love her. I swear that dog will stop and turn back in mid air on a recall and thanks to the clicker Robin the pup is doing well on his recalls already. He also sits and lays down and is coming along nicely on his stay and has picked up a number of other useful commands. If I can communicate correctly to him, he'll cheerfully do what I ask.

 

 

I really want to get this leash work down before little Robin grows into his very big paws. :rolleyes:. Due to recent surgery, I can't tolerate a great deal of pulling on my arms and I'm walking rather slowly at the moment but hope to soon pick up the pace. Meanwhile I think I'm creating a stop and go dog who will forge ahead at every opportunity.

 

Loose leash, I stop when he pulls and he sits down. We start again, he pulls, I stop, he sits down. Well, you get the picture. :D

 

On a close lead (heel) as the Peggy Tillman/ Karen Pryor clicker book recommends, I've been holding a treat in front of his nose, clicking when he gets it right, giving a treat then off we go another three or four steps, which seems to be about as much as we can manage before he forges ahead.

 

Thanks for any suggestions.

 

Liz

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The Be a Tree approach works well for some dog, but some do need a bit more information to get this skill down pat.

 

One thing that you can do is teach the dog that feeling pressure on the collar is a cue to turn. If you do this, you must, must, must do the foundation work first, but once the dog understands that, if he or she surges out to the end of the leash, hitting the end will cue the dog to move away from the pressure on the collar and the result is a loose leash.

 

If you want instructions for this, let me know. I've never used this method myself, but I think it would work well and it's definitely something I plan to try someday.

 

It is a clicker based method, so it would fit in with the work that you are already doing.

 

In the meantime, I really like the Easy Walk Harness to manage a puller until the loose leash skill is learned. It is very similar to the sensible harness that Issysdad recommended. I would use either of those. In fact, I used the Easy Walker on Dean and it took care of his pulling before I got around to working on loose leash walking with him!!

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The Be a Tree approach works well for some dog, but some do need a bit more information to get this skill down pat.

 

One thing that you can do is teach the dog that feeling pressure on the collar is a cue to turn. If you do this, you must, must, must do the foundation work first, but once the dog understands that, if he or she surges out to the end of the leash, hitting the end will cue the dog to move away from the pressure on the collar and the result is a loose leash.

 

If you want instructions for this, let me know. I've never used this method myself, but I think it would work well and it's definitely something I plan to try someday.

 

It is a clicker based method, so it would fit in with the work that you are already doing.

 

In the meantime, I really like the Easy Walk Harness to manage a puller until the loose leash skill is learned. It is very similar to the sensible harness that Issysdad recommended. I would use either of those. In fact, I used the Easy Walker on Dean and it took care of his pulling before I got around to working on loose leash walking with him!!

 

 

Hi folks,

thanks for the suggestion on the harness -- i will definitely get one! Meanwhile, I'd like the instructions for the cue to turn method.

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Hi folks,

thanks for the suggestion on the harness -- i will definitely get one! Meanwhile, I'd like the instructions for the cue to turn method.

Easy Walk harness (by Premier) is another good harness that works in a similar way. One thought is to use the harness any time you are not specifically training the loose leash walking. Not only does the harness prevent pulling, but the dog can tell the difference between being on the harness and off. So, at least if there is any pulling on leash it will be associated with the harness, and not interfere with progress on your loose leash walking training on the collar.

 

Here is a great, step-by-step way to teach loose leash walking by a very creative trainer named Sue Ailsby (who is very accomplished in a variety of dog endeavors and also raises llamas; she uses her loose-leash walking method on them, too). Choose "Training Levels" from the right hand menu.

 

Barbara

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Here's how I taught my five month old pup to walk on a loose lead to sheep. Use a longer line (8 to 20 feet - I used the long length because I was using such high stimulation).

 

Don't let the dog go to the end. The second the dog steps in front of you, casually stop and walk very slowly backwards.

 

The urge to BE IN FRONT will take over and the pup will be irresistably drawn to turn and catch up. Immediately stop and go forward again. In between the stop and forward step, give a very gentle "Good dog!"

 

Repeat about 5 billion times. Be patient. It works. Remember you'll have to repeat for every new level of stimulation (walking to the car, walking to get petted by someone new, walking to the park, walking to play agility/frisbee/flyball/work sheep). You'll also have to repeat as he grows, about every two weeks, when his brains fall out his ears again.

 

Good luck!

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You'll also have to repeat as he grows, about every two weeks, when his brains fall out his ears again.

 

 

:rolleyes: -- and what big ears they are! I guess he'll grow into those as well.....I'll try this method while I'm waiting to get a harness and I like the idea of using the harness outside of lesson time so he doesn't grow dependent on it. Should I use the long line if we're just strolling around with no stimulation, barring the cat!

 

 

Eventually, I'd like to compete in obedience (first time I've ever tried -- our dogs have been adult rescues...Ladybug isn't fond of women (except me) and Scotty, whom we lost in late winter, was just working out his aggression issues and becoming a very good dog.

 

Good luck!

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Put the dog on a short leash i.e. 4 ft. When the dog pulls, turn around and walk the other direction and praise. Every time they pulls, say uh-oh, or oops or no (some correction word), change direction, and praise "yes, what a good dog" ect.

 

Work short sessions and repeat a few times a day until they get the get it. Pulling on the leash is not an option.

 

This works for any type of hardware and leashes.

 

Good luck.

 

mobcmom

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Another techique is what we call the "step back". This is where you step 2 paces then step back one encourage pup to come back and feed treat with hand touching leg .Alot easier to demonstrate than try to explain!

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Clean Run (cleanrun.com) has a harness equivalent to the EasyWalk or Sensible but at about half the price that you'll pay in a pet store. They also sell Gentle Leaders at a very reasonable rate.

 

Lisa

Got one on Amazon for $11.oo plus shipping.....gotta love internet shopping.

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Easy Walk harness (by Premier) is another good harness that works in a similar way. One thought is to use the harness any time you are not specifically training the loose leash walking. Not only does the harness prevent pulling, but the dog can tell the difference between being on the harness and off. So, at least if there is any pulling on leash it will be associated with the harness, and not interfere with progress on your loose leash walking training on the collar.

 

Here is a great, step-by-step way to teach loose leash walking by a very creative trainer named Sue Ailsby (who is very accomplished in a variety of dog endeavors and also raises llamas; she uses her loose-leash walking method on them, too). Choose "Training Levels" from the right hand menu.

 

Barbara

I love this website....you know, I registered for an AKC puppy class in my area. We haven't even had our first class and the trainer has already suggested a prong collar (she uses one on her Aussie)....no way would I ever put such a device on my Robin Come Bobbin'!

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I love this website....you know, I registered for an AKC puppy class in my area. We haven't even had our first class and the trainer has already suggested a prong collar (she uses one on her Aussie)....no way would I ever put such a device on my Robin Come Bobbin'!

 

Maybe you should find a different class with a trainer who uses more modern/positive/non-force based training methods. I can't see suggesting a prong collar for a young puppy.

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One of my coworkers has an AKC Aussie pup (about 5-6 months now) and she has been using a prong collar on the advice of both her trainer and breeder since the dog was about 3 months old. According to her, "all the Aussie people" use them.

 

I honestly think prong collars are a great tool - IF you use them correctly. And I just don't see why any pup that young needs them.

 

My coworker gave me her leash to hold once and she ran out and hit the end - hard! It gave me the total willies, the poor thing, to see her correct herself like that on a prong. I started following HER around, trying not to let her hurt herself. I think her neck must be pretty desensitized. :rolleyes:

 

Anyway, I also taught Odin on a front clip harness and we don't need it at all now. I routinely hold the leash on one finger - the one I broke once, so I know he's got a feather touch. He does walk in front if given a choice, but honestly if he's not pulling that's fine with me. He has a behind command I can use too if I need him not to be in front. We first went to a postive training class where heeling was all about lure-reward. I don't know whether it was his age or what, but Odin "got" the idea very quickly with the harness (backed up with some c/t) whereas the straight luring didn't seem to make any impression on him.

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One of my coworkers has an AKC Aussie pup (about 5-6 months now) and she has been using a prong collar on the advice of both her trainer and breeder since the dog was about 3 months old. According to her, "all the Aussie people" use them.

 

I honestly think prong collars are a great tool - IF you use them correctly. And I just don't see why any pup that young needs them.

 

My coworker gave me her leash to hold once and she ran out and hit the end - hard! It gave me the total willies, the poor thing, to see her correct herself like that on a prong. I started following HER around, trying not to let her hurt herself. I think her neck must be pretty desensitized. :rolleyes:

 

Anyway, I also taught Odin on a front clip harness and we don't need it at all now. I routinely hold the leash on one finger - the one I broke once, so I know he's got a feather touch. He does walk in front if given a choice, but honestly if he's not pulling that's fine with me. He has a behind command I can use too if I need him not to be in front. We first went to a postive training class where heeling was all about lure-reward. I don't know whether it was his age or what, but Odin "got" the idea very quickly with the harness (backed up with some c/t) whereas the straight luring didn't seem to make any impression on him.

 

 

 

You make a great point in that once a border collie understands what you are asking, they are very happy to give that to you....I can see that Robin very much wants to please, he just can't figure out what I want -- yet. We're going to work consistantly over the next two weeks before class starts and I'm betting with your suggestions, he'll "get it" very quickly.

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Maybe you should find a different class with a trainer who uses more modern/positive/non-force based training methods. I can't see suggesting a prong collar for a young puppy.

 

 

I too am having misgivings....but it's my only choice unless you count the petsmart classes..... My area isn't exactly overrun with doggie activities...though several people are interested in starting a small group with a leader who has experience in agility. Hope to get that going by fall, though Robin will still be too young to work very hard.

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You make a great point in that once a border collie understands what you are asking, they are very happy to give that to you....I can see that Robin very much wants to please, he just can't figure out what I want -- yet. We're going to work consistantly over the next two weeks before class starts and I'm betting with your suggestions, he'll "get it" very quickly.

 

Yep, that's really what it was. First, we tried ONLY positive with the lure-reward. Then we tried fairly traditional correctional methods with a slip lead and "pop-squeezes" when he messed up. Neither of those worked - the problem did not get one bit better with either approach. The harness and c/t seemed to provide him the right amount of "correction" (the harness squeezes together a bit around the shoulders when they pull, and turns them around if they pull hard enough), information on what I wanted, and reward. I guess we can call him Goldilocks! :rolleyes: When he finally understood, he did want to please.

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The easy walker worked amazingly well! It is so nice to not have to fight him all the time.....he's trotting right along, even though it;s just been a few days. The clicker/treat reward system when he's walking correctly will help to reinforce. When he does start to pull, I"m incorporating the suggestion of walking backwards that seems to work really well... He's such a good little boy.

 

PS The picture of the dog in the field of yellow flowers is a winner....have you ever entered it in a photo contest?

 

Liz

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The easy walker worked amazingly well! It is so nice to not have to fight him all the time.....he's trotting right along, even though it;s just been a few days. The clicker/treat reward system when he's walking correctly will help to reinforce. When he does start to pull, I"m incorporating the suggestion of walking backwards that seems to work really well... He's such a good little boy.

 

PS The picture of the dog in the field of yellow flowers is a winner....have you ever entered it in a photo contest?

 

Great news on the harness! As for the photo - it's a little blurry but thank you I like it too :D The irony is that the flowers, which I also think are very pretty in that shot, are one of the worst invasive weeds in the bay area - black mustard. Right now it's about 7 feet high dead canes and *filled* with ticks! :rolleyes:

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Great news on the harness! As for the photo - it's a little blurry but thank you I like it too :D The irony is that the flowers, which I also think are very pretty in that shot, are one of the worst invasive weeds in the bay area - black mustard. Right now it's about 7 feet high dead canes and *filled* with ticks! :rolleyes:

 

 

I thought it was mustard -- we have it on the east coast too....though not so many ticks! Still, they add to the picture, proving that every weed is just a flower unloved. :D

 

Thanks all for your tips on getting Robin in "line" so to speak --- we'll be in shape for class next week.

 

 

Liz

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