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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really want to clicker train our new puppy when we get her in a few weeks. I wasn't even aware of clicker training when we got our current ex-rescue dog at the age of 2 (now 10). He has good manners and we did/ do train him but there are a few annoying habits we just could not manage to get rid of (pulling ahead on lead and humping my leg when I jump or dance around with the kids). While it doesn't cause us day to day issues with him currently I don't want the new puppy to learn these behaviours.
Can I successfully clicker train my new puppy to walk to heel without having to do this with the older dog too?
While I'm not averse to trying clicker training with the older dog I don't want to confuse things when we get the new puppy in a few weeks and would then be clicker training both of them at the same time. Equally I don't want him to miss out on walks because he is still super energetic and doesn't pull or go too far ahead on his extendable lead.

Advice greatfully received.
 

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A bit unfair I'd say. No reason to give up on an older dog that has trouble with something. Sassy was retrained many times before we figured out how to communicate what I wanted from her. When we finally got loose leash walking down she was over 5 years old and that last retraining was done along with a younger dog. First train each dog separately then together then train during actual walks first separately then together.

Since training sessions take more time to set up than actually train adding your older dog to the class won't take but 2-3 minutes more each session. In fact you can start training older dog and you will have a better idea what you are doing when you get your puppy. Puppies generally have the attention span of a gnat and it can be extremely difficult to figure out when to click amidst all the extra stuff they are doing.

Take your clicker and treats in a quiet room. Stand with a treat held to your side and when dog comes to see what is in your hand click then give the treat to the dog. Once dog gets this start moving around the room clicking exactly when dog comes to your side. When you cannot lose the dog move to another room then outside where he can be off leash then put the leash on and take it on the road. Dog will get distracted and want to go to the end of the leash. Fine let him. You freeze in place. When dog comes to your side then click and treat and move. I had to stop and start because Bucky would just continue charging to the end of the leash even if I clicked and treated as I was moving. He needs to stop a lot to remember what's going on. You reward what you like - being at your side and ignore what you don't like - tight leash. This means you won't be getting a whole lot of exercise walking the dog for a while. It means you look like an idiot to the neighbors. It also means you won't be so frustrated with the leash pulling because you are seeing what the dog is doing right, walking loose leash for 5 seconds out of every minute!

As for the excited misbehaving when you are being goofy playing with the kids try going through Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol. It's a down stay mat training that lays it all out for you. While it's a 15 day program you can stop at any point either of you is having trouble, back up to what you had success at and go through that troublesome day tomorrow. Bucky was a sponge for this and we only had a couple sticky spots. Going back to the sticky spot the following day? It wasn't sticky any longer! Amazing.

Since the program requires the dog to at least know how to sit or down and your dog isn't able to down for you try what worked with Bucky. Leash the dog, sit down with a few cookies in your hand and wait. I played a game on my phone. Good thing because it took about 5 minutes for him to lay down! I clicked and tosses a treat away from him so he had to get up to get it and waited for him to lay down again. After several downs I started introducing the cue word as he was actively laying down. Rinse and repeat. I was shocked on the third day when I asked my other dog to lay down to get a treat and he lay down next to her so didn't go back to those leashed sessions. Since you don't have a helpful dog to show the ropes it probably will take a few more sessions. Once he's got it move to other places in the house, drop the leash, take it on the road. Count on starting over again for about 10 new places as dogs don't generalize well. Once he's got that down means down in the kitchen, bedroom, patio, driveway, sidewalk here and there and so on he knows down is down so long as things aren't too weird which is where Karen Overall's method picks up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's really useful thank you! Ollie is otherwise pretty good so will do a decent down/ stay and sit stay- even with food as a temptation. Just seems to be me getting active or excited with the kids that's set him off.
Have ordered a clicker and treat bag and will start it with him in a day or 2 when they arrive. My main concern was what to do with the 2 of them together particularly with the walking but you have pretty much confirmed my suspicions and it will just be a bit more of a challenge! At least I'll have a couple of months with Ollie (10 year old) to try and get it cracked before newcomer can actually go for proper walks around the place.
 

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I have 2 small rescue dogs, Hunter and Phoebe.
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I'm confused. The first part of your post said you couldn't get rid of his pulling ahead on leash, but at the end it says he doesn't pull ahead on extendable leash?
First off, extendable leashes create horrible pulling habits. Second, you will have to train puppy separately on walking on a loose leash, as well as any other commands before you start to train walking together with your older dog. You can certainly use clicker training if you'd like.
Another benefit is that the new puppy needs to go out on its own (with you) to gain its Own confidence. Make sure you socialize new puppy outside your home with Many new puppies, dogs, humans, etc... Take a puppy class that also offers playtime, send new puppy to daycare and make a point to introduce it to as many new dogs and people as humanly possible. (It's suggested that you meet 100 new dogs in the first 100 days to have a well rounded adult!) I know most people won't get in that many, but I've seen many insecure pups who didn't get enough one on one socializing. The pet parents assumed One dog at home counted as socializing. It doesn't.
Best of luck to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you, we've got a lot of local friends with dogs so will be def doing the socialisation. We started with him on a short lead then moved to extendable cos he just walks at the end of that instead of pulling off our arm! Will def be getting on with clicker training!
 

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My goal is to walk the dogs on extendable leashes with voice and training control. I expect the dogs to stay within the perimeter of the line not hitting the end of it. I expect the dogs to obey verbal cues to come, sit, wait and down as needed to control a situation. If I've locked the flexi then they stay inside the lead without hitting the end of it. There's no difference between a dog hauling me around on a 6' or a 15' line, it's plain not happening here. I start out with a 6' leash and once they understand hitting the end isn't acceptable then I go to the flexi. Up to Bucky it's worked well. Bucky's a tough case and he's not there yet. I'm seeing signs it might happen. I've adored my 5 year old dogs and he's 4. Must keep up hope....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Kathyy- can I just ask with Bucky do you basically not get anywhere with walking him then? I'm more than willing to put in the time to train Ollie to walk to heel but feel it's unfair to ask my husband to leave him at home when he walks the kids to school (one of Ollie's main outings in terms of walks in the day). I say this because they would just never complete the 20-30 min walk if he had to stop every time Ollie tried to pull ahead.
Can I train him to walk to heel and still let him go on the flexi lead with my husband for a while without it being detrimental to his training?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for suggesting the Karen Overall programme- seem to be making real progress with it! Getting there with walking to heel as well (although only inside so far so moving outside will be the big test)!
 

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Isn't it amazing? Had a workman in here this week and after Bucky's barking turned from panic to what is going on I brought him out leashed to me and he stayed on his mat for a good hour behaving. He did mutter under his breath a couple times. I modified to treating when things changed more than every 5-120 seconds and of course did not go out of sight.

I move from the boring house to out back where there just might be a critter to driveway to my quiet street where there's nothing to sniff but new things could be coming in sight. Now I get some of his jitters out by walking in the street at first and any time he starts losing it. I do in and out walks most of the time so he's seen our path within the hour and he's less lungy.

When I want to keep moving the flexi is locked short and I pause every time I feel pressure. Unfortunately your husband will need to do his own training with him. Dogs are just as good at knowing which rules belong to which authority figure as kids are! I'm uncomfortable walking with a flexi in a group and would prefer a short leash with pauses. My idea of proper flexi walking includes a lot of stopping to sniff and changing sides, a dangerous tangle hazard if others are within its range.
 
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