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Half Check collars & loose lead training

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by SEVEN_PETS, Apr 15, 2011.


  1. SEVEN_PETS

    SEVEN_PETS PetForums VIP

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    Hello

    I've decided to start training Ollie to walk on a loose lead. he has a good idea what the heel command means and can walk by my leg for about 40 seconds at a time at the moment. However I'm undecided what to teach him with; a harness or half check collar. At the moment, I'm using a harness which has a front ring so checking him means he gets pulled round and stopped in his tracks, which works well. After a few checks, he'll walk by your side and stop when you stop.

    However I've always dreamed of walking a dog with just a collar, and always liked the idea of half check collars as they do a better check than with a normal collar. Although he will always need to wear a harness due to him being on a flexi lead/longline so is it worth just loose lead training with a harness (with ring on the back)?

    And I don't want anyone to say that I shouldn't "check" dogs. Ollie is a stubborn, strong willed dog and he needs a firm hand, and checking is what is needed to get the point across. He won't walk on a loose lead with just treats, he needs checking too. (tried teaching loose lead walking with just treats, so I know he won't do it).
     
  2. Pawsitive

    Pawsitive PetForums Junior

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    both my Collies are walked on harnesses and I have to say I recently invested in a Company of Animals harness which is brilliant.

    However I am a fan of using the 300 peck / Click and treat method to teach loose lead walking / heel rather than checking. I think using a choke collar is painful and can be dangerous to the dog's neck / throat.

    I think if you would be walking him on a harness anyway then teaching him on the harness is a good idea.

    p.s. if he won't work for treats what about toys?
     
  3. SEVEN_PETS

    SEVEN_PETS PetForums VIP

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    it's not a choke chain, its a half check which prevents strangulation.

    I'm using treats alongside the checking, so if he gets too far ahead, I check and when he comes back to my side, he gets a treat. if you just use treats, then he'll walk off once I've given the treat.
     
  4. Dogless

    Dogless PetForums VIP

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    I have managed to get Kilo to LLW on his normal collar by stopping dead and ignoring him each time the lead goes taught. Being very stubborn himself I have stood in the rain for 10 minutes before now waiting for him to return to me or at least sit to slack the lead. It sometimes took half an hour to go 100m or so :rolleyes: I started off treating every few steps and now treat intermittently and use rewards such as a good play with his toy if he walks nicely onto the field.

    As I didn't always have time to train the above, I invested in a Dogmatic headcollar too so that Kilo would never learn to pull on his flat collar. He walks easily with the Dogmatic (I still use it as a back up in some circumstances - e.g., very exciting places!) and I still use my cue word 'loose' when his head comes alongside my leg.

    I have also found that if he has a 'job' like carrying his frisbee he is so absorbed with it that he just trots along (well, prances like he is showing something off!!) by my side - again pretty useful if you are a little short on time. He also knows that when he is carrying a toy that he will get a game for walking well.

    One day it 'clicked' and 90% of the time Kilo will walk on a lovely loose lead; every now and then, such as when we reach the entrance to the places we walk or play he will try to pull through excitement. I just turn around and walk away from the entrance, then approach it again and repeat until he walks there nicely. Which is most of the time now :D.

    Hope that made a little sense, it turned into a ramble :eek:.
     
  5. RAINYBOW

    RAINYBOW PetForums VIP

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    Only way to teach heel IMO is the treat on the nose way.

    If he can do it for 40 seconds you are nearly there you just arent keeping his interest enough to maintain the heel.

    Flat collar and normal lead, dog on left, lead in left hand treat in right hand. Hot dog sausage on dogs nose thigh height and give "heel" command and walk LOTS of encouragement and drop the odd treat in his mouth to keep him coming, change direction regularly and stop and give a sit command every now and then too. Graduallt raise the treat to your hip bone but if it makes him jump its too high.

    Oscar is great at heel but it takes work and 100% concentration from me. He still pulls some of the way out on a walk because its hard to combat his excitement levels and i cant do that with a buggy and 3 kids so i let it go but you should be able to ;)
     
  6. keirk

    keirk PetForums Member

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    You don't need to check. ;)

    But really tho - you really don't need to "check". Loose lead walking requires cooperation - you may be about to "force" a dog to do it while you ask them, but you are really looking for them to find walking alongside you MORE rewarding than pulling ahead (which to a dog is very rewarding). Using an aversive such as "checking" won't work in the long term as the occasional jab in the neck isn't going to put them off the more rewarding moving forward into pressure.

    Try some short positive training sessions in a low distraction area with a plain flat collar. If your dog is used to pulling dont expect miracles but focus on progress and keep building it up.

    Not what you wanted to hear - but I hope it helps.
     
  7. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    That is probably a technique issue, you try to make the heeling rewarding in short training bursts, and verbal praise and deferring the food reward is part of it, keeping the activity continuous - http://www.petforums.co.uk/dog-training-behaviour/158776-can-anyone-give-me-some-help-heel.html

    Otherwise it's similar for "Sit/Beg for treat!", "oh cute!" and dog goes away uninterested.
     
    #7 RobD-BCactive, Apr 15, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2011
  8. RAINYBOW

    RAINYBOW PetForums VIP

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    He wont walk off he you keep the treats coming (get a little treat pouch or have lots of small pieces of cheese in your hand so its nice and smelly)

    Like i said LOTS of verball encouragement, it should be FUN ;) Keep the pace up to so you are both moving fairly quickly. Like all training hort bursts at first in the garden then add the distractions outside.

    Bear in mind it took me 2 years to get a decent heel out of Oscar and tbh bizarely he has a much stronger offlead "close" where he could wander all over if he wanted but i taught him "close" by accident and obviously just got it right ;)
     
  9. SEVEN_PETS

    SEVEN_PETS PetForums VIP

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    He knows the heel command. He'll walk by my leg, with my hand on my hip, looking up at me for up to 40 seconds (currently haven't timed it for longer), so he does know the command, it's just putting it into practice and keeping his mind off pulling to things. I'm not looking for a perfect heel like in an obedience competition as that would be silly to expect them to look up at you for an hour long walk, however I'm just looking for a loose lead, so I treat him even if he isn't looking at me, just that he's walking by my side on a loose lead. Would it be better to use a clicker for this type of training or would just treating every half minute or so be sufficient?

    Also, I meant to say that by "checking", I mean that if he pulls, we walk in the other direction. I saw it on Dog Borstal once and he got a dog that pulled really hard to walk by his side without treats in a very short time.
     
  10. RAINYBOW

    RAINYBOW PetForums VIP

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    You just need to keep his interest up, i use all sorts of little clicks and noises to "remind" Oscar where her should be so a "click click" noise with my tongue then when he is there a "heel" and treat will help.

    When you have had a walk will Ollie walk on a loose lead, once his excitement levels are down ??
     
  11. SEVEN_PETS

    SEVEN_PETS PetForums VIP

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    yes, he will walk by your side if he's had a good walk.
     
  12. RAINYBOW

    RAINYBOW PetForums VIP

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    Then he can do it already :)

    Again its about expectations. You may never be able to combat the excitement levels he has when going outwards on a walk or it will take an awful lot of eefort and 110% concentration from you at all times.

    This was what i was saying on your other thread about accepting certain things (whilst still working to improve them) or breaking a dogs spirit to make them "conform" ;)
     
  13. SEVEN_PETS

    SEVEN_PETS PetForums VIP

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    but he need to have a really good walk (like an hour and a half sort of walk) before he'll walk by my side from tiredness. I want him to walk by my side when doing just an hour walk. He's very obedient when he wants to be, and he'll do almost anything for food, it's just keeping that focus up really. Should I be walking and not saying anything, other than good boy or should I be sort of hopping and skipping to keep his focus?
     
  14. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    That's "turning around" not "checking". Most of us, would think you were going to do a short sharp tug on the leash, to "get the dog's attention".
     
  15. keirk

    keirk PetForums Member

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    Like you said - "Heel" and LLW are very different. Being the perfect heel position isnt required, but it's easier to walk if they are by you side, or a little behind (so you can shield them from oncoming bikes / kids / other dogs etc). A clicker would help - click when are in the general position you'd like them in, and put the treat by your heel closest to them.

    Remember keep them the sessions really short to start with, so there is zero chance of him getting it wrong and slowly build up from there.

    If you anticipate his pulling by changing direction before he hits the end of the lead - you dont need to "check" as he won't of got it wrong. In fact you can click him as catches up with you. The really great trainers dont let dogs make mistakes.
     
  16. RAINYBOW

    RAINYBOW PetForums VIP

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    Errrr ((cough cough)) think about this from his perspective, not a very "interesting" walk being glued to your side walking steadily for an hour is it ;) Come on SP, you know you have a high energy dog and you are not an OAP so "engage" HIM. Walks are "his" time not yours and we have already discussed the whole on lead/off lead thing. Now i understand why Ollie is onlead but because of that you have a responsibility to make those walks as interesting for him as possible and they won't be just walking "steady" infront of you for an hour.

    Do short bursts of heel work during the walk by all means but then give him the extender and let him please himself.

    Use a short lead for "heel" work and an extended for "off lead" time so he can grasp that it is "different".


    To keep his focus you need to sound "interesting" and "exciting" but don't overdo it or you will overstimulate him and he will be all over the place lol.

    "good boy" " well done" "what a clever Ollie" all in a high sing songy voice. Stop after 5 minutes make him sit, put him back on his extended and "release" him with a "go on then" and a hand signal away from you if you like.

    You can call him in from this too to practice recall and then release him periodically.

    "close" can be taught on the right side but needs to be OFFLEAD so just at home for now. Same thing with the treat though but point to beside you call him and say "close", get him to trot to your right with a treat for a few seconds then treat and say "go on then" and signal away. Gradually increase the length of the close ;)

    This is such a great command to try and nail as it may just eventually give you the confidence to let him off as Oscars "close" is much stronger than even his recall is :)
     
  17. SEVEN_PETS

    SEVEN_PETS PetForums VIP

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    the only problem is that nearly all his walks are walking the streets, not in parks, so I can't use an extendable. Although I could use that technique but just switching his short lead from collar to harness when I'm not training. I'm still trying to take him for a walk before work which would involve going to the park, however the vast majority of his walks are on a short lead by the roadside, for 45 minutes to an hour, twice daily.

    apart from pulling, he's almost perfect in every other way. he's much better in the garden so he gets to release all his energy out there as our garden is large so we get to play fetch in there.
     
  18. RAINYBOW

    RAINYBOW PetForums VIP

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    OK then its even more important during that walk that you engage with him lots and play some games. Get him "working" on his walk. Play sit and stay and come walking just a bit ahead (this can be done onlead by the road) Keep him going with the heel work but break it up with some "find it" on a grassy area (you can do that on an extendable) and only need a mall piece of verge.

    A garden is no replacement for the great outdoors for this breed who live for the thrill of a scent but as long as he is getting really good free walks at the weekend then the weekday walks can be more structured but still need to be exciting ;)

    With the lighter nights can you not get him out to the park in the evening ??
     
  19. Statler

    Statler PetForums Member

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    why are there so many threads on here regarding getting a dog to walk to heel, and the advise is always use positive rewards and treats and patience, yet still time after time those training with treats are struggling to get some success.

    now before someone posts that my methods are old fashioned and out of date and new methods are better, maybe they are old fashioned because they work. so why dismess them. id never let a child drag me round the supermarket so why let a dog.

    dogs like people have differing temprements, some are easily trained with treats some are head strong and need a different approach. use what works

    dog training is all about reading your dog, its an art form not a science

    technique is everything, and something that should be observed not read about.

    im well aware that british style gundog training methods are frowned upon on this forum but maybe a little research into its methods would be advisable.

    walking to heel is very easy with some technique and a little patience even in the worst of cases. i know because i lived through it
     
  20. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    That's sophistry. The reason you see threads about it, is because it takes persistence and some coordination (needing practice) to get the knack. Furthermore it is something very many like to try, once they have LLW sorted.

    There's lots of threads repeated on housetraining, despite the great success of most to achieve it far quicker than in days of paper training.

    Unfortunately the methods you advocate, are probably a contributing factor to on leash dogs, being anti-social and reactive. Their fear based reaction, is reinforced by a check, and sometimes additionally scolding, so they become even more anxious.

    In an autopsy 48 out of 50 German dogs walked on choke chains, had signs of neck trauma injuries. I've seen unwitting treatment of Gundog breeds like Labs, which the owner and you would likely call abuse, if you saw it in a video.
     
    #20 RobD-BCactive, Apr 15, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2011
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