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FAO: Gavs - Loose Leash Walking

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by hutch6, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. hutch6

    hutch6 PetForums VIP

    May 9, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Hi Gavs,

    You posted on an old thread asking a question and the age of the thread got mentioned more than you got advice so I am starting this thread for you to help you out with everyone's hints and tips.

    Here is the techique I use to give you some ideas. I am sure folk will eb along with their methods and then you just choose one that you are comfortable with but DO NOT chop and change the methods. Decide on one and stick with it or all you will do is confuse the dog. It might not sink in over night or over a week but done consistantly it will start to get through and then you have the building blocks to go on further.

    Loose leash walking is a tough one as you seem to take ages to get anywhere physically so you need to think of it in time and not distance when training this. It may take you 20mins to walk 10yrs exactly how you want the dog to walk but that is 10yrds you didn’t have before. So think of time and not distance.

    Here are a couple of methods so you can see which Jay finds the best.

    Your dog pulls for one reason and one reason only - it wants to get to something as quickly as possible.

    If you allow the pulling and go along with the dog pulling, the dogs gets to what it wants on its own terms so is rewarded for pulling. This makes the dog pull harder.

    There is a £20 note nailed to a fence 50yards away from you. You can't get to it because you are tied to a heavy tire unless you pull. You pull that tyre with all of your mite and get the reward of the £20.
    Now you are tied to something that will not move unless you are at the side of it, the £20 note is 400yards away and you have 20mins to get to it - plenty of time. If you pull on the lead or get too far in front the object locks down and will not move no matter how much you pull. Once you stop pulling and go back to the contraption it delivers a £1 coin to you and allows you to move towards the £20 note.

    Now the £20 note is 400yards away, you are tied to the same contraption but you only have 8mins to get to it. The contraption will lock down completely unless you are at the side of it at all times.

    Now you have been trained to walk to heel to get your reward. That is what you do with your dog.

    If they pull then stop. Lock the lead down - don't pull them back, and wait. You may get stuck like that for a while to begin with as the dog is used to pulling to get it's reward. The lead will be tight because the dog is pulling against you. After a while the dog will work out "Well my neck is hurting, I am not getting to where I want to get to so what's the point in pulling?" It will either take a few steps back, sit or lay down. "Good dog!" - throw it a treat and verbally praise. It has worked out that it will get nowhere by pulling.

    Do this a few times but then start to withhold the treat until the dog expectantly wonders why it hasn't got a treat so makes it way back to you after stopping pulling. "Good dog! - treat and praise verbally or physically if the dog is close to you.

    You can start with a full lead out, half your lead length or hardly any lead at all but every time the dog has pulled and you have stopped you must wait for the dog to work out it isn't going anywhere or it won't get what you are trying to achieve as fast. Every time you want to set off walking again then work your way up the lead to the dog until you are beside it. Then give your instruction to walk on whatever you want.

    Only use your "Heel" (choose whatever word you want. I use "Slowly") command when the dog is in the position you want it to be. No point saying heel only for the dog to belt to the end of the leash and start pulling again.

    You may find that your dog will pull towards the target for a bit but then come back to you instead of just taking the tension off the line. If so then that is a bonus as it eliminates a few steps and a fare bit of time.

    Only reward a slack lead and any lead tension means you stop and ignore.

    Takes a few sessions but you have a dog that realises there is no point pulling for anything as it won't get the reward it wants on its own terms.

    Another method:

    Get yourself some really good treats such as cooked chicken pieces or whatever you can.

    Trying to do this when the dog is first let out of the house or car is ridiculous and shouldn't be tempted so carry on until your dog has had a decent length of walk or a run around and is a bit more calmer and focused.

    Put the lead on the dog and get him to sit. Treat.

    Walk around so you are in front of him facing him. Put a treat under his nose and coax him towards you as you walk backwards. as he walks a couple of paces then treat. Now he won't walk past the treat so you are rewarding him for walking calmly essentially.

    Now get him to walk 5 paces holding the treat in front of his nose before treating. Then ten paces. All the time you are walking backwards facing him so you can keep an eye on him.

    Keep upping the distance gradually.

    Once you can go 30paces it is time to drop the lure of the treat.

    Get him to sit in front of you again. This time just hold the treat in your hand but don’t put it near the dog. Start walking backwards. As soon as he has walked 3paces calmly then treat - this will happen in about 2secs so be prepared

    Get him to do it again and again and again.

    Now up the challenge and only reward him for walking 5paces calmly.

    If he tries to rush or anything because you are facing him you are in the prime position for holding out a hand, palm facing him like you would stop traffic and saying "No!" to control him. He will get the idea that if he rushes he gets no reward but if he walks calmly he does.

    So you can now walk 5paces calmly. Up the challenge to 10 paces calmly before treating.

    Work your way up to 30 paces again.

    Now you are going to add a cue. You might use "Heel" or whatever, I use "slowly" as it does what is says on the tin and it sounds like what it means.

    Go back to 3paces again but this time just before you start to move backwards away from your dog give the cue - "Slowly". Treat for achievement.

    Work your way all the way up to 30paces again.

    Now go back to 3paces but this time you are going to walk sideways alongside your dog so "Sit", "Slowly", 3 paces and "Good dog" with treat.

    Now 5 paces, 10 paces and up to 30.

    Now back to 3 paces but you are going to start with your dog alongside you and both facing the same way. The treat needs to go in the hand on whichever side the dog is on - dog on left, treat in left and lead in right going across your body. Now there is nothing really to acts as a blockage for the dog so start with the cue - "Slowly", the treat on the end of his nose again and work your way up to 30paces walking alongside you.

    Test him and do a few more at 30 paces or even up it to 50 or 70 paces.

    Now take the lure away from the end of his nose and cue - "Slowly", walk 5 paces without the lure and treat for walking nicely. If he runs of then do as my original post said and just stop, call him back to you, treat at the end of the nose again and go for 10 paces.

    The stop and the treat only for walking nicely hit home fast - "I go nowhere if I go out in front and yet I get a reward for being there. I either lose in front or I gain being there". It's a no brainer for the

    Hope that makes sense.

    I have attached a document I wrote for a new dog owner and there might be one or two things in there you will find interesting and can use.
    XxZoexX likes this.
  2. Sarah1983

    Sarah1983 PetForums VIP

    Nov 2, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Just to add, if you're in the position I am and absolutely HAVE to get the dog somewhere in a time frame you can use a different piece of equipment to walk the dog on at those times. I did all Ruperts loose leash walking training on a regular collar, for getting him to the vets or to somewhere to exercise him (I'm not allowed to hold a driving license so had to walk him) I used a Halti. I'm doing the same sort of thing with Spencer. It's not ideal but needs must sometimes.
  3. Hertsgirl

    Hertsgirl PetForums Senior

    Nov 17, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Wow that's really interesting reading, I too am having a few problems with Cookie pulling on lead, she doesn't do it all the time but when I stop she just sits down :rolleyes: Will try what you suggested, think I'll try it in the house with her lead on :D
  4. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Excellent tip! :thumbup: Good on ya.

    We can't use specific gear for LLW-training, then allow the dog to drag us along on it, when we're
    in a hurry & there's no time to train. At those times we need different gear, generally with better control
    so that we can manage as opposed to 'train'. :eek:

    front-clip H-harnesses, any name-brand that's sturdy & fits well with a metal ring joining the straps
    on the forechest, is another excellent management tool: the dog cannot haul us along,
    simply keep the hands low & wrists / elbows straight to use minimum effort & keep the dog nearby.

    it's a huge mechanical improvement for the handler, & a big drop in leverage for the dog. ;)
    plus, an H-harness requires no habituation at all: fit it snug & smooth, & go!
  5. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
    Likes Received:
    14 UTube videos found by searching "Choose to heel" -

    Choose to Heel Exercise
    Dexter, 20 months, Rally class November 28, 2009.
    HD by JDTKDexter | 2 years ago | 581 views |

    choose to heel
    by vizsladobe | 4 months ago | 148 views |

    My Smart Puppy: Choose to Heel
    Playing a flexi-lead version of the Dawn Jecs' game, I start to teach Glory to seek out
    and to love the heel position. She is a quick study and I ...
    by sw845 | 3 years ago | 2,246 views |

    this one -
    Choose to Heel
    Teaching a dog to heel can be fun and easy! Here I am teaching my new addition, Aidan,
    how to find heel position without asking him anything. I ...
    by Loridressage | 1 year ago | 642 views |
    has no verbal narration; the pup is allowed to roam at will, he approaches entirely
    on his own, & is rewarded for approaching, then for any sustained contact
    this is free-shaping a behavior.

    Choose to Heel, Not Today
    Dexter, 20 months, Rally class November 28, 2009.
    Training a Bullmastiff takes patience and a sense of humour.
    HD by JDTKDexter | 2 years ago | 485 views |

    Choose To Heel!
    A fun way to teach your pup or adult dog to follow you and heel!
    by smartypup | 1 year ago | 350 views |

    Clicker training Ty using choose to heel method with some
    Recorded on September 26, 2010 using a Flip Video camcorder.
    HD by Kamapreston | 1 year ago | 178 views |

    puppy choose to heel 001.AVI
    i try to mess around with choose to heel every now and again. just lookin for him to make
    the connection that being WITH me is waaay better than ...
    by rucatrouble | 4 months ago | 154 views |

    more recall/choose to heel with sparrow 11.12.09
    by prudencerabbit | 2 years ago | 53 views |

    choose to heel, spencer, 1st attempt :)
    this is a couple of days ago, before I realized I'm supposed to walk in a big counterclockwise circle
    by prudencerabbit | 3 years ago | 312 views |

    choose to heel--2nd attempt :)
    playing choose to heel with spencer in the backyard
    by prudencerabbit | 3 years ago | 175 views |

    Choose to Heel.MOV
    by cassiemily | 3 months ago | 13 views |

    Treino Canino (Choose to Heel) TRANSLATE
    Treino do junto sem uso de aversivos, com o auxilio de três conceitos de treino da Dawn Jecs, Ian Dunbar e da Karen Prior.
    by zezinhodasdores | 9 months ago | 102 views |

    Doogie and Choose to Heel
    Recorded on February 2, 2011 using a Flip Video camera.
    by k9logical | 3 months ago | 7 views |

    The videos that followed these 14 became erratic, including NOT 'choose' but coercion, varying degrees
    of force, aversives of many types, etc.
  6. Gavs

    Gavs Guest

    Thanks Hutch and to all other repliers.

    Currently using the gentle leader but need to find high value treats for training purposes. We are already seeing huge improvements but nowhere near right beside us on lead;) But she will - not always - sit, move back to us, and wait/stay. Also car chasing improving even on our busy roads, not always trying to get away and if already in sit position when one goes by tends not to bother. TBH I think the collar and lead was so stressful (for us and her) that she didn't get out enough and then when she did sensory overload took place. So lots of short walks now during the day.

    Had tried liver cake but she has a funny tummy that does not tolerate rich food at all. Can anyone suggest an alternative. she responds well to soft smelly treats on walks.

  7. Sarah1983

    Sarah1983 PetForums VIP

    Nov 2, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Use anything she likes. Roast beef was Ruperts favourite, any leftovers from the Sunday roast I used to tear into bits and use as training treats. Garlic sausage was another good one in his opinion. Chicken maybe? Cheese?

    Exactly :D I had sooooo many people tell me I had to do the training on EVERY walk, no exceptions but when you can't drive that can be impossible. So the behaviourist I had out (for aggression issues, not for walking issues) told me to use the collar for training and the halti for getting from A to B. It worked well for us.
  8. Gavs

    Gavs Guest

    So now I think we may have a "problem" dog:mad:

    My OP gave the information needed to make sense of this (Hutch has it copied into first post here). This may get long winded so will try to keep concise as possible.

    Trainer came on Wednesday. Wednesday and half of Thursday we tried to implement his advice. We put her in her crate - locked - in the same room as her whenever we were not actively engaging with her. We held her while we stroked her. She did tbh seem very settled.

    Then we decided yesterday we were not happy with the above elements of his advice and put crate back in kitchen to be used door open as a sleeping and resting area when we are out or at night. We encountered lots of problems last night.

    1. She heard/saw something that spooked her in the kitchen whist she and us were in living room. She ran up to glass door barking, and my oh said "ok" which is the word we use to let her know we will deal with it. I was sittting on the floor by her vetbed (which she has in living room for daytime when we are in) and she came running over to me and sat on my knee. She was scared of something. Then she lay down on her vetbed and i stroked her. MU OH came back and just had his foot on side of her vetbed and she growled at him. She then growled at me. I removed the vetbed. Don't know if that's right thing to do. She was definitely guarding it yesterday and also now this morning. The last time she did this was when she came home from a night over with dog minders who had a bigger older dog.

    2. She lay right at the door into our hall making it impossible for us to get out of the room that way. When I went to move out, she growled. I tried the blocking by sitting on a stool at the door and she moved away and settled elsewhere. But again not sure what i am doing:confused:

    3. Generally we were worried last night that she was showing agressive type behaviours that we really have not seen before to any great extent, and that she was also on high alert and very jumpy.


    Oh also meant to say that I haven't seen her "heckles" up since we got her, but I am sure the hair at the back of her neck and also some down her back was standing on end.
    This morning she deosn't want to play with me at all. Brought out a new tug rope toy for play/training and she just took it over to her vetbed and is chewing at it. Usually she loves playing with me and new toys....

    Is this just adolescent behaviour, or connected to the trainer's advice and what we did do you think, or could she be starting her heat cycle???
    #8 Gavs, Feb 11, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2012
  9. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Being angry won't help; it's ALL behavior. The dog is not doing this on purpose.

    i'd find someone knowledgeable, humane & helpful to explain her body-language & apparent emotional
    state: i'd think the person who just came by would have given U some feedback during that session?
    if not, surely they could offer a more-educated opinion than we, who have not even seen the dog,
    let alone the specific behavior.

    it's imperative to bear in mind that over-85% of all aggression is rooted in fear, never malice & very, very rarely
    is aggro shown by confident AKA 'dominant' dogs [a clear misuse of the term - dominance is an event,
    not a personality trait nor lifestyle, & INTRAspecies: between dogs, between equines, between humans, etc -
    NOT 'inter'-species: across 2 species.
    Also, dominance is about resources, not status.
    Those ARE her hackles. :p Hackling = piloerection, AKA gooseflesh: can be fear, arousal, excitement,
    play, stress, potential for aggro / defensive display.

    When did she hackle?
    What triggered it, & what happened AFTER U saw them rise? [antecedent & consequence]
    How could anyone possibly tell from here? :p

    I'd get her to the vet ASAP, & if she's not in estrus, i'd get her spayed immediately.
    Spaying before the 1st estrus eliminates 99.99% of mammary cancers, which are FOUR TIMES as common
    in F-dogs as in F-humans; also Pyometra occurs in 1 in 4 intact-bitches by age 3-YO, whether mild
    & cleared with oral-anti-Bs or severe & emergency-surgery [or possibly death, if it's not seen in time].
  10. Gavs

    Gavs Guest

    Do you think she may be ill, or are you just recommending spaying before 1st season?

  11. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
    Likes Received:
    it's possible that there's some medical reason for her behavior -
    but in any case, entirely independent of all other considerations, i support spay before 1st-estrus.

    it really does increase the dog's safety [Pyo & mammary neoplasms], & has no negative aspects,
    other than the need to leash-walk her for at least 7 to 10-days, & NO jumping until the vet OKs it -
    also no off-leash romps with other dogs, ditto.
  12. XxZoexX

    XxZoexX PetForums VIP

    Sep 8, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Just wanted to thanks Hutch for this.. tho id tried the stop/start routine i was at a loss where to go when Jack lay down when i stopped.. This sunk in nicely You my friend are a star! :D
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