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Discussion Starter #1
Hi!

I've had Nina for about 5 months. She is a rescue and I don't think anyone actually ever walked her- she is insane on the leash. I have been trying since day one to loose leash train but I have failed!

Walking her is not one bit of fun. It's way better than the beginning, but still really not good. However, I walk her for one hour in the mornings and about 35-40 min around 4pm (she goes potty in our fenced in yard a few times a day). She has a lot of energy and really needs those walks (she is a black lab/hound and other stuff mixed in- ).

I am about to begin clicker training but how do I give her walks if I am starting a new training? I don't want to undo everything -

What did you do?
Thanks
Lauren
 

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For me, training walks were always done on a collar and leash whereas exercise/recreational walks were done on a harness. To this day, my dogs know that if they're just wearing their collars for a walk, they should be on their best behavior (going to a store, pet fair, park, etc.) but if we're going on trails or just for a fun walk around the block, they're in their harnesses and I don't expect perfect loose leash walking from them. I don't want them to drag me down the street, but I don't correct them if the leash goes tight.

The key to preventing that dragging down the street bit is to teach them that dragging you gets them nowhere. Stop completely, change directions, do anything to keep them from going the way they're dragging you. They figure it out pretty quickly.
 

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Here's what I did, starting when Tucker (the big dog) was 16 weeks old: stop when the leash is taut, and don't resume until it's slack. He won't back up to slack the leash, but if I just reach forward a little, he doesn't keep pulling. Technically I should probably make him give me slack instead, but I think it's working out ok.

The first time, it took half hour to get past the house next door, but after that he learned real quick.

As an added bonus, Scout the westie, whom I had never bothered to teach loose leash walking in the 4 years I've had him, stays glued to my heel every time without fail, and without being commanded. Just picked that up on his own from watching me work with Tucker.
 

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You can get a front attach or two attachment harness (I rather like the Freedom Harness from Wiggles Wags and Whiskers) for her walks and train her on a regular collar. The harness will help manage pulling and she'll learn the difference. Even with the harness I would NOT go with her if she's trying to pull (let the harness do its work),and take frequent breaks where you reconnect with her and allow her to look around and rev down a bit. You might want to look at Grisha Stewarts (Ahimsa) info on Silky Leash
 

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That's a good question, OP. In the beginning, when you're training your dog to walk nicely on a leash, or initiating some new training program, it may take lots of time just to get past the house next door. And, really, that means you're dog isn't getting a whole lot of physical exercise. So, lots of people accept bad behavior, in some part, on walks, just to be able to get some distance in!

What we did was make sure that we gave our pups some other forms of exercise to make up for the lack of exercise they were getting in their walks. So, we'd go to a large, fenced in field, and play fetch, and let them run, and play other games. We'd also do some more playing in the yard, hard playing! :) And, we did a bit more training indoors, because that's mentally stimulating, which is also tiring to dogs.

That way, the dog is still getting exercise, even if their walks lack exercise!
 

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Do you really need your dog to walk on the side of you? my dogs do but i was just wondering if it makes a difference or not?
General rule, it doesn't really matter to me. I want Tucker beside me right now because he still has a tendency to lunge and bark when we encounter other dogs. If he's beside me vs out in front, I can get the drop on him, to regain his focus when I see him "lock on" to the distraction. He's about 80 lbs, so I need the advantage. I also loop the leash in my hand, keeping it short with only a little slack.
 

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I also don't care very much if they walk right next to me or not, as long as there is some slack in the leash, and they're not pulling. If I want them to walk right next to me, I will give the heel command, and they will come right to my left side.
 

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General rule, it doesn't really matter to me. I want Tucker beside me right now because he still has a tendency to lunge and bark when we encounter other dogs. If he's beside me vs out in front, I can get the drop on him, to regain his focus when I see him "lock on" to the distraction. He's about 80 lbs, so I need the advantage. I also loop the leash in my hand, keeping it short with only a little slack.
Alright, i figured much. I have to do the same with Sam
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks everyone!
We began this morning and I am kind of doing the clicker training (with no clicker- lol_ using the word "good" everytime she comes back to me). I had her entire breakfast in a bag in my pocket and felt that if I kept the walk shorter than our usual hour- maybe it would work.

It went pretty well. I do not care if she is right next to me, I just don't want to be pulled and eventually I would like the leash to be decently slack- so every time she did pull or the leash was taut - I stopped. She knows to come back to me but was doubly happy to receive a 'treat'. This definitely helped a lot! Sometimes I had to stop every 2 steps, but at certain areas we walked a good bit (because she was smelling everything- ) before I felt the pull!

Doxiemommy- I actually have a fenced in yard so since we walked a lot less I had some extra time to let her run around the yard! I'll keep doing this until our walks get decent. I also love the mental stim stuff and it does tire them!

I guess if I am consistent (I pray) that this may become a habit soon -for Nina to walk nicely (??) I was hoping it would have already happened bec. winter is here and icy streets scare me if she pulls!

Thanks!
Lauren
 

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It went pretty well. I do not care if she is right next to me, I just don't want to be pulled and eventually I would like the leash to be decently slack- so every time she did pull or the leash was taut - I stopped. She knows to come back to me but was doubly happy to receive a 'treat'. This definitely helped a lot! Sometimes I had to stop every 2 steps, but at certain areas we walked a good bit (because she was smelling everything- ) before I felt the pull!

I guess if I am consistent (I pray) that this may become a habit soon -for Nina to walk nicely (??) I was hoping it would have already happened bec. winter is here and icy streets scare me if she pulls!

Thanks!
Lauren
That or she'll learn that if she hits the end of the leash she can get a treat...
 

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The main thing I work on when walking is first off stay on one side or the other, not swinging around and getting tangled or tripping up the kids or myself. And don't drag me anywhere, if I need to deal with that I do, depends on the offender, but I hate being dragged, or getting my arm ripped off because they see something and figure they're ok to bolt after it with no impulse control. Yes, I see the bunny/cow/cat/bird/ball/monkey, no, you may not attempt to break free to go get it at the expense of my arm.

There's a few different tricks you can work on for a bad puller that work very well and aren't perfect but sometimes are a band-aid that work well.
 

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I use treats (mainly string cheese). When I was training her to walk on the leather lead I started indoors and used the cheese held at my left side by my knee as we walked she'd get to eat some for every moment she was staying right there by my side. Then I took her outside in a slightly more interesting environment to work on it so that distractions wouldn't be a worry to make her start pulling.

So I'd say to start in an environment where she is calm with treats on a lead. (I've even done without a lead attached to get her to stay right by my side of her own will with treats). Then move to environments with more distractions with treats.

On the leather lead she knows to stay by my side.

On her regular collar/leash I don't make her stay by my side. She's allowed to roam the length of the leash but she's not allowed to bolt or pull my arm from it's socket (a good "on by" command or "leave it" works - I use "come" to get her walking forward again).

In her harness she's allowed to pull (I encourage it).
 

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something that worked for me, and this depend on what stage your dog is at with the training, is to shorten the leash so its only 2-3 feet, and I stop everytime he gets in front of me and the leash gets tight. So he learns that even a few steps ahead of me will lead to a tight leash and me stopping or change direction. I sometimes use click/treat but its hard in the winter when my hands are covered with thick gloves, so hes at the stage where he won't pull me around and stops when he feels tension.
 
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