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Walking down the Dog- for Rebecca

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Rebecca explained walking down the dog pretty well today so I thought I'd try it with my wayward English Shepherd who is having an extra late onset of adolesence.


Well I had the chance to walk her down once today. She tried to play the game of running away but I walked her down (Yard just isn't that big) and I took hold of the collar, calmly and walked her back to the spot where I called her. The whole time I'm walking her back, she is bouncing up and down on her front legs doing the "But Maaa I don't wanna" dance. I get her back to my spot and praised her, just a pat and a low key good girl.

Then I sent her to play. After a few seconds, I called her and she came, tail and butt wagging! We had a big party. Then I sent her away again.


Why isn't this ns a dog training book?


I realize that we probably aren't done yet, we have to work yet until this is reliable and then add distractions (like the pitt bull next door that Phoe doesn't like) and then we have to open up the space to a field. But this is working.


Any other pearls of wizdom Rebecca? This same dog loves to pull on leash and 5 months of stopping forward motion until there is slack in the leash is working very slllooooowwwlly. I won't halti her because she bolts. A pinch collar works and we have transferred off it. She isn't trying to dislocate my shoulder any more but she loves to have constant tension and I'd rather her be more mannerly.


I've never really dealt with dogs that were independant. My dogs have always been easy to teach recalls and lead work even my non BCs- but I have a knack for acquiring sensitive dogs. Not this time tho!



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Hey Annette -


I've seen this and read about this before. Basically, it's one of those - you've got one chance buckoo...you screw it up and I'm coming after you and SHOWING you how it's done. I works well (for me at least) on those pig-headed goofy idiot dogs that get so wound up in themselves. Almost like a calming effect.


As for the yanky-panky - you should try the Gentle Leader. They can't bolt on it and you won't have her on a 20' lead so it's not going to hurt her if she gets wonky on a 3' lead.


See my super long post here for a nice step-by-step on the use of a gentle leader. It DOES work.


For us, it worked MUCH faster than the "be a tree" or "go the other way" technique. Spent a year wasting my time with that. Got the GL and had control within weeks. Really.


Now, both my guys had and still do have lots of GL time. But on our daily fun walks we use a LeashFree hands free leash with a bungee in it. They now where I want them and they know where we are going so it's a good way for us to get a good, brisk walk in. Both dogs are teathered to the same leash.


Anyway...good luck with this...!!!



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I'm very glad I could help, Annette.


Yes, it's an old approach. Definitely can't take credit for it as I learned it from Steve. I'm sure he got it from some old dog trainer - he was in hunting labs for yea these many years before he did sheepdogs.


Most of his dogs were definitely of the "my way or the highway" variety - hardheaded but would leave if they thought you were being too pushy. Almost everything he taught me emphasized giving the dog a choice, informing the dog quickly if it made the wrong choice, and then resetting the situation so that you could repeat the command EXACTLY as given. "Giving the dog freedom" was what he called it. Jack Knox, his main mentor, calls it "making the wrong difficult and the right easy".


So, leash walking. Make sure the collar is safely positioned high on the neck. Picture in your mind where exactly you will ask the dog to be (the seam of your pants leg is convenient). The second you see the nose push past there, you'll say ah, ah, followed by a quick UPWARD tug. If you do it right you'll almost be pulling in the SAME direction the dog is moving. This causes the dog to pull BACKWARDS which you reward by simply proceeding quietly.


Make sure you release that pressure instantly - you can be sure the dog is already moving back if you did it right and you want the dog to make that connection fast. The tug is not a punishment - your "Ahhh, ahh" was the correction and the tug provides the opportunity to be right.


I've found that it's counterproductive to offer praise in the early stages - the excitement causes the dog to blow it. Moving forward without conflict is good enough.


Note, this is a last resort deal for really dyed in the wool pullers. Clicker, luring, "be a tree," and other positive training is extremely effective for the vast majority of dogs and I'd switch a dog quickly from the above to a positive approach as soon as possible. But usually no reinforcement is necessary. The reason is that you've communicated that their job is to stay in one position, and it has nothing to do with the leash and everything to do with you. I never taught Ollie anything but this (he was awful the first few times I leash walked him) and after one walk with this method, he would not only walk on a loose leash, he would walk off lead exactly the same.


Again, the point is to get a dog you can keep with you while sheep are milling around and you're trying to get chores done, so it was developed with a high level of distractability in mind.

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I like your solution for pullers in extreme cases.


My 8 month old boy is wonderfull on the leash, except when he sees the sheep or knows we are on our way to the sheep. Needless to say, I don't allow him to drag me to sheep and insist he walks next to me...but it takes a while, I have to stop(he comes right to me when I stop) many times. I don't correct(verbally) or get to hard on him when he darts out infront of me because I feel I do not want to deflate/stress him before we get to the sheep.


So my question is would you use your above suggested quick jerk and verbal correction in this case? My thought is I don't want to fight with him and make him feel like it's a competition against me to get to the sheep, me always keeping him back, him always wanting to push foward. This will just set us up for trouble once in the field. However, just FYI off leash he walks nicly to the sheep, altough I need to call him back behind me a few times. But there is sitiuations where I need to have him on a leash before we get to the sheep. Can you tell I am a beginner here!


Thanks Jeanine

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Our trainer taught us this--no chasing, just "stalk the dog". And then, on the way back, we do a whole series of little "Come!"s, backing up to the orginal spot taking ONE step at a time with another "Come!" for each step and slight praise with each one. You do this holding on to the dog's collar if neccesary, although if either of mine occasionally require "stalking down", they suddenly turn and come to me when I get within a few feet.


The long sequence of reinforcing "Come" over and over, after walking down the dog, acts as a sort of "I will not ignore Mom when she says Come" written 50 times on the blackboard, but in dog language. It also gives you a bunch of opportunities to reinforce the command in a reduced-distance/distraction setting where you can praise "correct" performance (not that the dog has a choice at that point!).


Deanna in OR

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