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Discussion Starter #1
I've been trying this out as an alternative for my surgers/pullers instead of "becoming a tree" or the "walking in the other direction" techniques. These techniques sometimes take so much patience that it allows for a lot of leash restriction that I don't necessarily think is healthy/desirable (although a lot better than the "yank, yank, yank" technique!) I'll do my best to explain. . .

When the dog surges you redirect the "surge" to the right, transfering the leash into the right hand. You keep walking but guide the dog to walk in a circle around you, transfering the leash back to the left hand behind your back and praising (treating if thats your method) when the dog hits the position you would like him/her to walk in. You progress to withold the treat until you get a few steps in the loose leash position. Basically like a walking, on lead, "around" or "right" finish. You can actually call to the dog or give a command like "around" instead of giving a correction word when he/she surges(or you can just stay silent if that is your method). You can also couple this with something like a gentle leader no-pull harness and I think you'll have really good results. I think I made it sound way more difficult than it is.:)

The upside I've found are that the dog stays in motion so he/she doesn't "hit" the end of the leash so hard and it also has some of the same effect as turning and walking in the other direction because the dog kind of goes "what? where are we going?" and actually does have to walk the other direction briefly. I guess still in the nature of "distract and redirect." Its also much less frustrating on the handler because you keep walking and therefore can actually get from point A to point B.

The downside is that a really hard puller would have to be dragged around for this to work which is the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish. Therefore this is only effective with your curious, sniffing, excited puller type and not the stubborn, dragging you across the street type. Then again, I can potentially see a very excited dog finding this to be a fun game and needing a "stop and calm down" moment.

Any thoughts?
 

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I think it's easier to be a tree, or to switch directions so the dog gets a self corretion. They catch on fast.

Or you can reach out, 'goose' them on the rear and quickly swith directions.
 

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I've had better luck shaping attention, initially when still and then introducing movement- than any other techniques. But YMMV.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I think it's easier to be a tree, or to switch directions so the dog gets a self corretion. They catch on fast.

Or you can reach out, 'goose' them on the rear and quickly swith directions.
We have been trying this out with dogs that becoming a tree and switching directions is NOT working. I agree that some dogs catch on fast but a few of my repeat students are having a heck of a time with this. They have really excitable dogs that find a switch in direction just as fun as surging. It gives them an opportunity to run as fast as they can in the opposite direction, run past the handler, and then hit the end of the leash. They are having a blast doing it too! :rolleyes:

Its really a lot easier than it sounds and it seems to be working pretty well for a few folks! I might take some video on Monday since its easier to watch than to explain. :)
 

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They have really excitable dogs that find a switch in direction just as fun as surging. It gives them an opportunity to run as fast as they can in the opposite direction, run past the handler, and then hit the end of the leash. They are having a blast doing it too! :rolleyes:
I know a little bit about that. I found the preliminary attention drills with the 15 footer to be invaluable for that.

As to the experiment, I think having the dog cross in front is a generally bad idea. The whole point of heeling is to be able to walk without tripping over the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I know a little bit about that. I found the preliminary attention drills with the 15 footer to be invaluable for that.

As to the experiment, I think having the dog cross in front is a generally bad idea. The whole point of heeling is to be able to walk without tripping over the dog.
Good point. These dogs are at the point that they need a walk to take the edge off their energy but the walk is so frustrating for the handlers that it is almost impossible. They are frustrated because the dog has too much energy to focus on anything, but working off the energy requires at least a little focus! (Kind of a catch 22). We are working on some sort of quick fix without resorting to training collars to just work some energy out so that it is possible to ask for attention. The handlers are having enough success with this to calm the dog down just a little when they initially start the walk but I think we will discontinue it as soon as possible.

We definately don't want to teach the dog to start crossing in front of the handler. We just want to get the dog back into heel position when he is already in front of the handler without having to stop and wait or yank on the leash. This way we can burn off that energy and work through the initial over excitement that starting a walk produces.
 

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If you are not onboard with training collars, I think Dogstar got it fried, lyed, and laid to the side (a little '50s hipster lingo).

In either case, I don't think letting the dog burn off energy, before requiring him to focus, is a productive exercise. Dog gets what he wants after he's given me what I want. With puppies (and dogs new to training) it might only be a few seconds of what I want. You have to build up to greater levels of attentiveness and persistence to task. Building requires a good foundation.

Don't train a dog to any behavior or habits that you'll be wanting to un-train later.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks. I understand what you mean. Again, these particular handlers need a quick fix so that they can take the dog to the group class and not have him/her be completely out of control. Ideally, training would begin in the home with little distraction and the handler would be a lot more likely to have success. I prefer to do some training and get attention and develop calm through mental stimulus and not the other way around, but I would like these particular students to see some success to get them sort of "onboard" and less frustrated. I think my biggest dilema I have is with frustrated handlers. . .the best training takes a lot of time! Everyone thinks that they can take their dog to a class and have an overnight transformation :rolleyes:. (Although a lot of people do see almost immediate improvement, every dog is different!)

We are certainly not using any kind of techiniques that would have to be "unlearned." Again, just trying out ways to get the dog into position as smoothly as possible so that we can reward the behavior that we DO want. I also make sure that any new trick that I do, I
only use positive reinforcement so that the possibilites of adverse effects are limited and/or harmless. This particular idea is only being applied when the dog has already surged in front and merely gets him/her into position. It doesn't actually teach them to actively cross in front of the handler, but if it is used in the wrong circumstance repeatedly, I can where a dog would get the wrong idea.
 

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I think my biggest dilema I have is with frustrated handlers. . .the best training takes a lot of time! Everyone thinks that they can take their dog to a class and have an overnight transformation :rolleyes:.
It sounds like you have the dogs pretty well figured out, and I can't help you with the owners. I'd just keep reminding them that dog training is a serious commitment. If it was always easy, eveyrone would have a well trained pooch.
 

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On-leash, I did the "be a tree" method to halt him, then taught him to come to my side, sit, and look at me before we start walking again. Sort of a mix of attention and tree-ness.

Off-leash, same idea, but sometimes he'll circle around to my right then line up with me again, especially if I redirect him while moving. If I stop and be a tree - it's the same as if on-leash. I don't mind the circling too much off leash since I can usually curve around him as well.
 
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