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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I finally started training my dogs to loose leash walk.

I'm using a clicker with my dogs, so that as soon as they go slack, I click and treat (well, I actually make a kissy noise, but anyway)

I'm also doing what the Sticky suggests- if they pull, coming to a dead stop.

!. When do I move forward- the second it is a bit slack? Or do I wait for a lot of loose leash?

2. Sometimes the slack comes from my puppy turning around and looking at me. I don't want to train the wrong thing. Is it OK to move forward if turning to look is what makes the leash go loose?

3. I'm training them individually right now. Will they ever be able to walk together loose leash, or will I have to train that as well with the 2 of them together? I guess I'm wondering if the skill transfers.


It's only been 2 days and we've made progress!

Any other tips are appreciated, and no tip is too silly. I don't know much about trainging dogs and there aren't any in-person resources here.
 

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I found that stopping and "being a tree" didn't work at all for Obi. I think if they're sitting at the end of the leash it's too easy to reach the end again and start pulling, so I would either pull the dog back, turn around, pull the dog to my left side, circle around and then start again with the dog right next to me. Or I would be a tree and shape the dog to come back to my side every time we stop. So if the dog is looking back at you, click for that, then just shape it until the dog is next to you. Eventually you will wait until the dog comes all the way back before you reward and then start moving again.

Also, be careful to reward the leash going slack a lot. You will create a behaviour chain where the dog thinks he has to pull to get the leash to go slack. In the beginning you could reward that, max 3-4 times, then start to only reward when the dog is keeping the leash slack, and don't reward within 10 seconds of the dog putting tension on the leash.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you.....I am very grateful for your response. I unintentionally have trained some weird things into my dogs. I apparently have very quick reactions, so rather than training Sacha to look away, I taught her this weird head bob.

So, to be sure I understand, it may be better for me to tomorrow:
1. turn and go in the other direction rather than waiting?
2. move forward with slack. if they pull again, circle them around to my side
3. click and treat only when slack, not a chain of taught/slack

Did I get that right?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks! Any other suggestions....? Anyone?

I have to say this is much easier one-on-one. When they get together they really act differently. Ugh.
 

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You're on the right track - you just need some "fine tuning"

So, to be sure I understand, it may be better for me to tomorrow:
1. turn and go in the other direction rather than waiting?

Yes - you always want to apply a correction dynamically rather than statically. The "change direction" maneuver is for a dog that is continuing to move but is not paying attention to your movements - that is, he wants to pull ahead or to the side, or tries to circle around in the opposite direction. However, if your dog is resisting going forward by pulling backwards, or just plops down and refuses to move, you have to do something else.

Make sure that you react as soon as the leash loses its slack, not when it it being pulled tight.

Remember that you do NOT pull or yank on the leash. A very small pop is what you want. You should practice the pop by yourself. Attach your leash to a spare collar or something of some weight and have it on the ground. Practice the pop using your wrist only and move the ground weight only an inch or so. This is hard to describe in words but easy to demo.


2. move forward with slack. if they pull again, circle them around to my side
We want LLW on either side. The dog should be mostly on the side corresponding to the hand that is holding the leash. However, so long as the leash is slack, we don't worry too much about being slightly in front or slightly behind. If he wants to cross-over, you can decide if you want to allow it or not. You allow it by changing the hand holding the leash - you restrain it by not changing. You don't need to say anything.

Remember also that when you take your dog on a long outdoor walk, he needs to "stop and smell the roses" and to check out new scents from time to time in addition to LLW. That's actually important mental exercise because dogs are much more interested in what they smell than in what they see. Try to keep a balance on those long walks.

click and treat only when slack, not a chain of taught/slack
Don't stop to reward - reward while you are moving. Don't wait unti you have to make a correction to reward - reward for good behavior.
 

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! & 2

I think this mostly boils down to what your actual criteria is, or is going to be, for "loose leash". If the displayed behaviour fits anywhere within that criteria as you define it, then "walk".

Train one thing at a time. Remaining within criteria should be the only order of business at the moment. That way, you will at least lower the likelihood of unwanted behaviour chains.

************************************************


On a bit of a sidenote -- personally, I'm not a huge fan of be a tree. Although I may ocassionally use it in conjunction with other methods, if required. One of my favoured methods is choose to heel, which can be easily modified for a more basic llw by simply lowering your criteria (a much larger acceptable zone, no eye contact required, etc).

simplified general overview: in a safe low/no distraction area, off leash to begin with, silently walk in a 25' counter-clockwise circle with dog on the inside, give no commands or verbal encouragement, when the dog comes into the acceptable zone by their own choice then c&t while continuing to walk. Repeat ad nauseum. Develop a history that *this* is the spot or broader area that earns the reward while moving. Next, add in the leash. Then clockwise circles. Then straight line walking. Then change of pace, turns, halts etc. Use very high value treats, and keep rate of reinforcement very high, during the initial teaching stages. Add in distractions and lower the rate of reinforcement, but only as proficiency builds.

Perhaps it's something you can experiment with, to determine if it works for you and your dog.
 

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I unintentionally have trained some weird things into my dogs.
Hhahaha I have done this also. I teach hand commands to go with the verbal commands. "Down" is pointing a finger down toward the ground. Somehow I trained my dog to touch my finger before laying down. It is hard to untrain this weird stuff. lol

We have not mastered loose leash walking yet. Right now I'm using a gentle leader head harness. It is like a miracle for loose leash walking but, I want the dog to learn to loose leash walk without the aid of a head halter. I think the best explanation of how to train loose leash came from the silky leash technique. It made sense to me and gave clear guidelines on how to do it. Here is a video:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the link! This is the one that got me started. But it's really hard with them together. :-( We are doing MUCH MUCH better.

Hhahaha I have done this also. I teach hand commands to go with the verbal commands. "Down" is pointing a finger down toward the ground. Somehow I trained my dog to touch my finger before laying down. It is hard to untrain this weird stuff. lol

We have not mastered loose leash walking yet. Right now I'm using a gentle leader head harness. It is like a miracle for loose leash walking but, I want the dog to learn to loose leash walk without the aid of a head halter. I think the best explanation of how to train loose leash came from the silky leash technique. It made sense to me and gave clear guidelines on how to do it. Here is a video:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
My dogs always want to move forward. If I stop, they will make the leash as taught as possible and lean into it.

But I don't want to 'pop' their collar. So far I've been able to get them to return to me and circle around.

You're on the right track - you just need some "fine tuning"




Yes - you always want to apply a correction dynamically rather than statically. The "change direction" maneuver is for a dog that is continuing to move but is not paying attention to your movements - that is, he wants to pull ahead or to the side, or tries to circle around in the opposite direction. However, if your dog is resisting going forward by pulling backwards, or just plops down and refuses to move, you have to do something else.

Make sure that you react as soon as the leash loses its slack, not when it it being pulled tight.

Remember that you do NOT pull or yank on the leash. A very small pop is what you want. You should practice the pop by yourself. Attach your leash to a spare collar or something of some weight and have it on the ground. Practice the pop using your wrist only and move the ground weight only an inch or so. This is hard to describe in words but easy to demo.




We want LLW on either side. The dog should be mostly on the side corresponding to the hand that is holding the leash. However, so long as the leash is slack, we don't worry too much about being slightly in front or slightly behind. If he wants to cross-over, you can decide if you want to allow it or not. You allow it by changing the hand holding the leash - you restrain it by not changing. You don't need to say anything.

Remember also that when you take your dog on a long outdoor walk, he needs to "stop and smell the roses" and to check out new scents from time to time in addition to LLW. That's actually important mental exercise because dogs are much more interested in what they smell than in what they see. Try to keep a balance on those long walks.



Don't stop to reward - reward while you are moving. Don't wait unti you have to make a correction to reward - reward for good behavior.
 

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The convention explanation is that the dogs have 'learned' that they can walk, or walk faster, if they pull. So, when the walk continues as they pull, that 'belief' is reinforced. I don't know that this explanation is correct, but it helps to think that way. Also, in many cases, if you are more stubborn than the dog, when you stop, they will look back, and may even come back. However...

My dog is more patient than me :) and when I stopped, he stopped... with tension on the leash ... the SOB ! :) So, I learned to do what Poly suggested, training while moving rather than stopping. However, I think stopping works for most dogs.
 

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I never use leash pops- so many reasons why. Instead consider these tips -

Yes, click the instant the leash is slack and reward the treat at your knee (click for behavior, feed for position). When a dog pulls on the leash, he can't just stop pulling when you maintain more than light tension due to his "opposition reflex" - that means when something pulls on his neck, he automatically without thinking pulls back. Try a harness with a front clip to avoid that altogether. Now, another idea is this- say your dog sees something super exciting he wants to sniff and creates tension. You be a tree (I know that didn't work but keep reading). The second he looks at you, Click! and treat for position so he must return to your knee. Then immediately move forward fast to the thing he wants to sniff and say "Go sniff!" Life reward. Good luck! There is also something called penalty yards if that doesn't work, try that first, though, and message me later if you like about that one.
 

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Sorry, after I logged off I realized I didn't answer questions 2 & 3. A side note on 1 again, are you clicking and treating fairly continuously since this is a new skill? So I take a couple steps, loose leash so Click! Treat. Then a couple more and C/T. Then dog pulls, I'm a tree, dog looks back Click! Treat at knee. Walk, loose, C/T, walk, loose, C/T... Once the dog's lightbulb is really on and he's doing loose walking very reliably, you can back off the treats to a more random schedule so he's always interested in what's next (slot machine effects!)

Back to the others- yes, turning and looking at you is ok if that relaxes the tension, just be sure to feed the treat at the knee, not out in front of you. Do that by holding the treat there and having him walk around to it. And yes, my two dogs walk on loose leash together. When you first do it together, I would try in the house or a yard with minimal distractions because walking loose in a pair is new to them vs walking loose alone since dogs don't generalize easily.

I finally started training my dogs to loose leash walk.

I'm using a clicker with my dogs, so that as soon as they go slack, I click and treat (well, I actually make a kissy noise, but anyway)

I'm also doing what the Sticky suggests- if they pull, coming to a dead stop.

!. When do I move forward- the second it is a bit slack? Or do I wait for a lot of loose leash?

2. Sometimes the slack comes from my puppy turning around and looking at me. I don't want to train the wrong thing. Is it OK to move forward if turning to look is what makes the leash go loose?

3. I'm training them individually right now. Will they ever be able to walk together loose leash, or will I have to train that as well with the 2 of them together? I guess I'm wondering if the skill transfers.


It's only been 2 days and we've made progress!

Any other tips are appreciated, and no tip is too silly. I don't know much about trainging dogs and there aren't any in-person resources here.
 
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