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There are moments of brilliance when he walks right next to me, but other times, when he wants to wander away from me, and sniff stuff, etc. I have watched many Youtube videos on how to train walking on a leash without pulling. Stop moving, sometimes turn the other direction, bring him back to me, make him sit, etc. But then when we start off again, he pulls off to the side, and sometimes I jerk him back to me, but then it looks like I'm abusing my puppy. I'm trying to be patient, but I feel like I'm going to lose me mind. Please help!
 

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Don't jerk him!

Do be patient! It takes a while.

Every time he moves too far away CALL him back, give him a treat and restart. If he then goes TWO steps instead of one before moving away, give him ANOTHER treat. Then work up to three, and four and -

Yeah. There's no fast answer here.
 

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First of all, cut the jerking and punishments of any sort: If it 'works', you will wind up with a strung-up, skittish and hyper dog who is so nervous on walks that he's practically peeing himself. If it doesn't work (which I often find to be the case for 'correction' and puppies), he will grow more and more callous to your jerks until you practically have to hang him to get his attention.

Secondly, is he pent up before he starts? For puppies, walking is honestly not the best outlet for blowing off steam... for training and learning they're great but if you want to do away with that monkey-business ahead of time, let him out for a 20 minute rip in the backyard before you walk. I think you'll notice that it improved impulse-control and concentration markedly.

Thirdly, motivate him. The first instinct of a dog when he sees food is not to run in the opposite direction. Get something he really loves for when you really need his attention, such as hot-dog bits, as well as some regular treats (I use puppy kibble; really easy on the stomach) and use them.
 

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Have you practiced walking by your side indoors first and slowly add distractions and work on his attention to you?
Here are some links ( I have lots more, but it's a start )

Dr. Sophia Yin

Walk on a loose leash part 1 (lots of pictures)
http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/walk-on-loose-leash-part-1-choose-the-right-walking-pace-and-make-it-clear
Part 2 – turns
http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/teaching-dogs-to-walk-on-loose-leash-part-2-making-about-turns
Part 3 – U-turns
http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/walk-on-loose-leash-part-3-u-turns
Incorporating the exercises
http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/my-dog-knows-some-walking-exercises-how-to-incorporate-them-into-a-walk

Reactive Dog – moving past distractions
http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/reactive-dog-moving-past-distractions
Foundation exercises for the reactive dog
http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/reactive-dog-foundation-exercises-for-your-leash-reactive-dog

Gail Fisher – 3 parts
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7V3EwEoPF7Q
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uewGYgbeFtU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seiiv7IH8fk

David Hogan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ek5UJpERxWQ
Loose leash walking
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRm2LM8AncQ
On leash tips and effective communication with dogs (emphasis on feedback)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqThyzqnM5U
Loose leash tips (front clip harness used on Bruno the lab)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ld-Y4vaGJjU
Structured walk, using tug as a motivator and reward (martingale collar on a pitbull)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFXiF7drvyE
Calm Dog Walking ( gentle leader used on Great Dane )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLFFVM8UW8M
Walking training Great Danes (gentle leaders on the danes)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8u6BwJDJs8
Loose leash training – decrease the pulling (regular collar on a cute fluffy dog)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXXX3dSyOx0
Leash training (gentle leader used on an Old English Sheepdog)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33D6t6-9EH4
 

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Thank you so much! I'm already feeling more confident. Cooper will do anything for a treat, so I know we can master this! And he sits very still while I put his leash on, and while I unlock the door.
 

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Uneducated people often balk at treats, stating that you might 'spoil' your dog, etc. etc. etc… In reality, goodies are one of the most effective ways used to train animals, as many guide-dog, horse and even marine mammal trainers will agree. Food in particular is an excellent way to reinforce behaviour in dogs, as Pavlov discovered. Use food for as long as you have to in order to get the behaviour down-pat and give your dog practice at focusing. When he's walking like a champ, you can just slowly scale the treats back and replace it with simple verbal praise and an enjoyable time outside!
 

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I will never stop carrying treats with me as one dog is fearful and the other reactive but the reward for good loose leash walking can be a nice long sniff at THAT tree sometimes as well. Pair the treat with praise and likely praise will eventually be worth something too. I was shocked when my dogs responded to praise as Sassy was a chow hound that never seemed to hear a thing I said. I do have to consciously stop and reward the dogs at times, I will be walking along enjoying the walk and all of a sudden note there have been no tugs and dogs are trotting along happy at my side just as I pictured it long ago. Even though my dogs are adult this generally happens during the last half of a good long walk. Grown up dogs get silly too.

I start my dogs in the back yard off leash by walking around and treating them when they are at my knee. Once they understand that being near me is worth something we go on leash to the boring street in front of the house and do the same thing. I wish I had read about 'silky leash' before starting Ginger as that teaches the dogs to follow the leash where my training just rewards being near me. .
http://ahimsadogtraining.com/blog/2008/10/12/silky-leash/

Hitting the end of the leash, pulling and dashing happen but if dog walks next to me COOKIES get into the dog. Put your rose colored glasses on when training, try really hard to see the good and ignore the not so good.

Off to watch all those links Hector4 posted. Look like really great stuff.
 

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I didn't look at any of the links, but I'm sure there are some good ideas in there somewhere. Members have posted good suggestions as well.

There are moments of brilliance when he walks right next to me, but other times, when he wants to wander away from me, and sniff stuff, etc.
Here's what I'd do ...

Get a treat pouch, hang it on your right hip, fill it with all kinds of super high value treats ie: bits of boiled chicken, beef heart, chicken liver, salmon crack etc.
FEED TREATS CONSTANTLY while in the midst of those "moments of brilliance" you speak of, when your dog is walking attentively at your side. Reach across into the pouch with your left hand and feed at your left hip area while steadily moving along.
If the dog occasionally goes off to the side to sniff, let him do so for a brief moment, but the treats stop flowing of course. Then cheerfully call him back into position and resume the constant flow of treats at the left hip area.
Shouldn't be too long before your dog realizes that his best option is to walk nicely beside you rather than wander and sniff.
If you STILL find that your dog would rather sniff than receive a steady flow of great treats, then in that case use the sniffing as the reward, aka premack principle (you can google this for more info).
However, if the constant treats are working well, allow ample time at this rate to establish things firmly in the dog's mind, then gradually taper down the treat rate to one every 5 steps, then one every 10 steps, and so on. Even at that stage, tend to keep the rate high enough whatever it is, so that your dog will remain beside you. Don't expect to eliminate the treats completely 100%, for the long term. Segments of a good city block or two of nice walking always deserves 'something' as a reward.

edit: if it's a smaller puppy, then feed at your left knee area, or thereabouts.
 

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Another thing I really like to do is have 'sniff spots', usually high-dog-traffic areas that will be tempting for them anyways. These are spots where he's allowed to sniff around for a few minutes, check the news, leave his mark on the world, yadda yadda yadda. Have one or two along the walk and it doesn't take long before they get pretty eager to plug along right beside you in order to get to their next 'sniff spot'.
 

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When the dogs are fresh and going every which way I am lucky to have quiet streets I can walk on so sniffing is boring. Then I walk home the same way and allow sniffing or do it the other way around, have a sniffy walk out with cookies when dog happens to look at ME then on the way home no sniffs as we just went that way 20 minutes ago. Of course there are still cats, squirrels, barking dogs, mysterious objects, people and so on but walking in the street means my treats are better than the ground at least. Work in the house and in the back yard at first and in as large a patch of pavement as you can find before trying the exciting sidewalks.

Sassy had a terrible time learning to watch me as she was started with compulsion training which sure didn't suit her. Max and Ginger are better. When your dog looks at you during a walk that is cause for a reward every single time. After a few weeks the reward might be good dog with cookies only every other time but always reward a look. And dog has to come back to you for that cookie, right? Dogs lean on the end of the leash so they know where you are, not just because you are going the wrong way and frustrating him/her. We want the dog to know where we are with some eye contact. As well as training to keep a loose leash train to check in by looking at you.
 

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when i walked my pup i kept on him on my left side and close. i use to slide my left hand down the leash
to keep him near. we walked very short distances with him a heel position. i gvae him plenty of time off leash
and loose leash. i didn't wait untill it was time to go out for a walk to train. i trained indoors and often. i didn't give
a command when he was in heel position. i just wanted getting use to being on my left side. later on i started giving
him the "heel" command while positioning him to heel.

dog are easily distracted. try training in a quiet place with little distractions (in the yard, in the house, go somewhere quiet).
 
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