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Discussion Starter #1
Problem: My doodle is just 5mo. I am having a problem with loose leash walking. I am finding it frustrating to hear, "If a dog pulls don't move forward" then in the next breath they say "you must give your dog at least an hour exorcise per day". Not sure how to accomplish this.

Things I have tried: Different collars / harnesses. Front clasp / back clasp. I have tried the gentle leader with the head strap, it does work but she hates it and will paw her face, rub it on my leg and eventually just lay down and refuse to move. I can get her to walk on a loose leash for 5-10 minutes, after that the lure of sniffing and pulling is more rewarding than any hot dog, steak or chicken. Using food as a reward just doesn't work when she too distracted to eat. The trainer that I am going to says to keep practicing and treating. When I say that it isn't working she just says to keep practicing.

Background: I have had the puppy since 8 weeks. She is now 5 mo old. We have done Puppy Kindergarten and are half way through basic obedience. She is fantastic with everything else. She can do sit, down, stay, paw and a bunch of other tricks. She always comes on command even off leash or at a dog park. She does not go out the door when it is open. She doesn't jump on people or bark. She is a fantastic dog that is really on her way to being well trained in every aspect except leash walking.

Question: How do you get the dog enough exercise when they are not good walking on a leash? Should I just walk her for the 10 minutes that she can handle on a loose leash and call it a day? How did you guys get them to be good at loose leash walking?
 

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Instead of stopping each time she pulls, turn in a different direction and start walking. She'll probably lag for a second, then follow you, then after a few more steps start to pull again. Immediately turn in a different direction and go. Basically, you will end up zig-zagging around like a crazy person but what you are teaching the dog is to walk WITH you and to pay attention to your movements. This works well on a martingale collar as it is safe for the dog's neck (not yanking them around on a head collar) and the dog cannot back out of the collar when you change directions.

On a sidewalk, you'll end up going back and forth; in an open area, choose the direction randomly.

And no, I would not just walk the 10 minutes and call it a day. That's a recipe for a dog with pent-up energy to act even worse. Instead, walk until she starts to pull, then start the turn/back and forth training and try to get a few steps farther on each turn before she pulls. Try this for at least 20 minutes each walk (or of course until she walks nicely if that happens in less than 20 minutes)

With my foster, one Saturday I just went in my driveway and went up and down it for about an hour. My neighbors thought I was crazy but after an hour, her pulling was reduced by at least 50%. repeated the next day for an hour. Then a few reminders as we started each day's walk was enough and the rest of the walk would be loose leash. Now, she doesn't even need the reminder.
 

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2 different needs here. I have a 4 year old GSD. He gets at least an hour of vigorous exercise and 30 ninutes of tasking/cognitive exercise each day.

As for loose leash, it took me about 3 months to embed "look" into his acquire to pursue so we established trust that he will look to me for guidance as to our next move.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Instead of stopping each time she pulls, turn in a different direction and start walking. She'll probably lag for a second, then follow you, then after a few more steps start to pull again. Immediately turn in a different direction and go. Basically, you will end up zig-zagging around like a crazy person but what you are teaching the dog is to walk WITH you and to pay attention to your movements. This works well on a martingale collar as it is safe for the dog's neck (not yanking them around on a head collar) and the dog cannot back out of the collar when you change directions.

On a sidewalk, you'll end up going back and forth; in an open area, choose the direction randomly.

And no, I would not just walk the 10 minutes and call it a day. That's a recipe for a dog with pent-up energy to act even worse. Instead, walk until she starts to pull, then start the turn/back and forth training and try to get a few steps farther on each turn before she pulls. Try this for at least 20 minutes each walk (or of course until she walks nicely if that happens in less than 20 minutes)

With my foster, one Saturday I just went in my driveway and went up and down it for about an hour. My neighbors thought I was crazy but after an hour, her pulling was reduced by at least 50%. repeated the next day for an hour. Then a few reminders as we started each day's walk was enough and the rest of the walk would be loose leash. Now, she doesn't even need the reminder.
I am going to try this. Right now I usually stop and go in the opposite direction for a few steps then continue. I usually have a destination in mind when walking maybe changing my mindset and not trying to get 'somewhere' will help.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
2 different needs here. I have a 4 year old GSD. He gets at least an hour of vigorous exercise and 30 ninutes of tasking/cognitive exercise each day.

As for loose leash, it took me about 3 months to embed "look" into his acquire to pursue so we established trust that he will look to me for guidance as to our next move.
How did you get the vigorous exercise in before they had mastered leash walking? We definitely work on training for at least 20 minutes every day.
 

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1st, I take an unusual approach in that I harness his social cognitive abilities. Before going out I would tell him "adventure" then state activities like "walk" & "ball". I would walk him a good 10 ninutes at a brisk pace that he quickly would do in sync with me. Then I would do "ball" related training tasks at a tennis court first, then ball field, then open area.

Sure there were a few times he bolted when I was training in the open field, but soon he took to the "look" command.

Does this sequence of activities/events help?
 

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Walking does not equal exercise in this house. A walk even a fast paced one is something my dogs could do all day and not have enough exercise.

Walking is for training or for peeing and sniffing.

Exercise is chase in the yard, running at the park, pulling the scooter (obviously mine are older than yours so are safe for this), playing ball, dog parks.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I just read a reply by hanksimon on another thread that suggested the Silky leash technique. It sounds great, I can't wait to start training tomorrow. It makes sense to me and it sounds manageable.
 

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You are going to need to find other energy outlets for exercise. The LLW for me is a training thing Not an exercise thing. My dog could walk at that pace all day long (on grass... not on pavement)

Try Premack for the LLW.

So get a LLW for 5 of your steps then as a reward click and say "Go Sniff" point to or lead dog over to interesting sniffing spot and allow them on a loose leash (this may mean you running behind your dog to keep the leash loose) and allowing the dog to do what it really wants to do the most... sniff. For say 10 seconds, 20. You pick. Then in an equally excited voice say "OK, Lets Go" and run off. Dog follows and falls into LLW position and you count what 6 steps and then say "Go Sniff" Do this in your neighborhood and get comfortable with it and remember that when you take it on the road (walk in newer and more exciting places) you will need to lower your criteria. Go back to LLW in 4 steps then reward and build it up slowly.

I alternate "Go Sniff" and food treats as a reward for walking in LL position. At first I rewarded any and ALL eye contact with me. As in dog pivots head and looks me in the eye and click treat. Then I rewarded LL. Now I reward perfect Heel position. But my dogs almost 3yo now. So point is that i started out with a lower criteria then upped it as we got lower level skills mastered. I am not sure if that's the best thing to do, I am not a trainer. But it seemed only fair to set the dog up for sucess and ask it to do what I knew it was capable of at the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I never heard of Premack, very interesting. I like using go sniff as a reward. Thanks for the great tips.
 

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I just read a reply by hanksimon on another thread that suggested the Silky leash technique. It sounds great, I can't wait to start training tomorrow. It makes sense to me and it sounds manageable.
i did a quick search and didn't find it. Can you link it here?
 

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I agree with the others that say walking isn't really exercise. Not for a young Lab mix, anyway. Walk for the training, but for exercise puppy needs to run or play vigorously. We take Hobbes out to places where he can run off-leash. If your dog ins't ready for off-leash you could take him to any enclosed area or a dog park for exercise.
 

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My almost 5 month old border collie mix runs off-lead for exercise. Walking on lead isn't really great exercise for an energetic puppy... You can't walk them too far/fast or you may hurt them, but then they are so full of beans! We just walk down to a small local park, and I let Elsie off to run around, we put a LOT of work into developing a great recall from the moment she came home, if she is having a naughty day or there are other dogs in the park she goes on a long line.

Mental stimulation is also very important for tiring puppies out, get that brain engaged and training!

We also play fetch when we are at the park, and do some waits and recalls to get her racing around having fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I usually take her on a 1 hour hike through the woods every day. Then I'd like to walk her on a local pier in the evening but I'd need her on a leash. I've been hiking with her off leash since she was 10 weeks old. This works out great and it is what we do on most days BUT... There are times when I'm going to need her to walk on a leash. Our trainer suggested stopping off leash walking until she could walk on a leash. It was very frustrating. I've been diligently practicing the silky leash method 3x a day for 10 minutes. I use the regular collar for this. When we go hiking in the woods I put on a harness (for when I need to leash her on the paths where we might encounter cars or bikes) and leave her off leash most of the time. I think she is smarter than the trainer gives her credit for. When I put the leash on the collar she has been great at not pulling. Right now we only do about 10 minutes at a time but I'm sure we can increase the duration as she gets older. She does not like dog parks, there are only 2 within a half hour of my house and they tend to be filled with pit bulls and rottweilers. They all seem nice and get along well but they play way too rough. She just hides under a bench so I don't go any more. Neither park has a small dog section. There are no off leash parks anywhere where I live. I don't have a yard large, we play fetch with a ball every day also. She is a very mellow dog, she never goes crazy in the house or chews on things.
 

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Do you have a yard at all? it doesn't need to be huge forher to get a good amount of excercise. Do a search on 'Flirt Pole' you can build one and that would help her. You might also look for meet ups with similar breed/age dogs and get into a playgroup, it'll help her social skills and she'd ahve a 'set' group of friends to run and play with.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I have a flirt poll - she loves it. There are 6 of us in the home she gets tons of fun time in the back yard, small as it is.
 
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