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I watched my first episode of "The Dog Whisperer" back in February (no this is not a discussion of Cesar Millan or his methods). After a few shows, I realized that what my two dogs needed was a daily walk (wouldn't hurt me either). So I started walking them. At first they pulled constantly on their leashes. Through a combination of persistence and trying different leashes/collars/harnesses (we now use the Sense-ible harness) we are through those problems. We now walk 4-5 miles every morning and they both behave beautifully. They love their walks.

The problem is...THEY LOVE THEIR WALKS! When the time comes for us to get ready to go, they go nuts, barking, wriggling, jumping, etc. I have tried to present a calm assertive energy, and techniques such as ignoring them until they calm down, etc., but it doesn't work. Getting their harnesses and leashes on is a 3-ring circus. Once we start the walk, no problems.

Any suggestions?
 

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Have them in a sitting position near the door but not that close to it where you can't open the door. Do not do anything unless they are sitting down and fully calm first before putting the harnesses on them at that time and only when they are in a sitting position. Have them wait inside as you open the door and you go out first. The dogs should sit there until you tell them to come out. When returning you open the door and enter in first. Have the dogs in a sitting position and then invite them in.

Before Lola is released from her crate in the morning she used to go nuts with excitement in the crate. I had her lay down in the crate to have her calm down. I then would open the crate door and have her wait until I called her. When I call her usually from another room she comes running wagging her tail and doing a happy dance. I then get her leash, she goes near the door sits down and allows me to put her leash on when she is in a sitting position. I then open the door go out first and she will sit there until I say come on. When returning home she sits outside the door as I go in and then when I am in she looks at me and when I say come on she comes inside. I then have her sit again when I take off her leash and then I release her with ok you can go.
 

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Try faking them out a few times. Get your keys, put on your shoes/coat, get the leash and... sit down and read the newspaper. When you do go out, change your routine up; get the leash 10 minutes early, then just hold onto it for a while before getting your shoes. The idea is to break the pattern so they stop getting hyper the moment you pick up your keys.
 

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The problem is...THEY LOVE THEIR WALKS! When the time comes for us to get ready to go, they go nuts, barking, wriggling, jumping, etc. I have tried to present a calm assertive energy, and techniques such as ignoring them until they calm down, etc., but it doesn't work. Getting their harnesses and leashes on is a 3-ring circus. Once we start the walk, no problems.
Once you have their leashes in hand, just stand there, and ask them to come to you. DO NOT go to them to put on their collars and leads. YES, they are excited, but, do not go there. Stand quietly, collar in hand, and wait. If they don't come to you, sit down - my front door is in my living room, so I sat down on the sofa and ignored the dog(s). Make your dogs come TO YOU. It works, I promise. Might take a few times, but, they get it.
 

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I used to say to my lab, "Do you wanna dance or do you wanna walk?"

It didn't take long for him to learn to sit (though he'd be quivering in anticipation) and present his neck so I could snap the leash onto his collar.

A 115# dog dancing around was a hazard.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the suggestions. I tried this morning by putting their harnesses on then going and sitting down for a while until they calmed down some. I then hooked their leashes up and went and sat down again for a while. While they definitely weren't to the stage of calmness I eventually hope to see, there was some improvement. I guess it is just going to be a matter of patience until they learn what is expected. It looks so easy and quick on the TV shows, but I guess they have the advantage of editing out everything between the initial training and the result. :)
 

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It only took me 2-3 weeks to get my new dog to sit patiently for the leash to be connected. A few sessions of standing there like a tree until she did. I actually had to teach her sit first in that time as well, that was one of the first uses of it.

I stood in front of her at the closed door and got her attention and said "sit" once, and waited until she did, or after a several minutes if she didn't I would just walk back in the living room and put the leash down for a minute and try again. Once she figured it out it was all over.

Now she gets all excited and wiggly if I even say the word leash, much less seeing it my hand. When we get to the door she sits for me to hook her up without even a word.
 
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