Seamus Is Making Leash Training Impossible. Help?

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by Caitikoi, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. Caitikoi Active Member

    Just did the "door exercise" (as seen in the video below) with Seamus, my 10 month old Miniature Schnauzer. Only problem, HE ATTACKS THE LEASH. NON-STOP. I don't know what to do with him.

    We were able to do the exercise for a while. I told him to sit, and then to stay (clicking and treating accordingly), and when he obeyed I let him go out. But he just yanks on the leash and refuses to listen. He jumps up and gnaws on it, and I know I'm not supposed to yell at him, pull the leash, or get physical with him, but that puts me in quite a predicament.

    Anyone have any advice for what to do?



    The "door exercise" starts at 3:24.
    Tâmara Vaz likes this.

  2. 648117 Honored Member

    Practice loose leash walking at home inside (or in backyard) first where it is less distracting.
    You could practice without the leash first and then with the leash dragging behind him so that he learns that you want him walking next to you before you even pick up the leash.

    With Holly I did tones of practice without the leash on and just at home before we took it outside. Then we went for the same short boring walk every day until I felt she was ready for more distractions and then slowly increased the length of the walk while still giving her treats.

    It takes a while. The trainer at our puppy class said loose leash walking is the hardest thing you will teach your dog to do (I guess that's why there are so many dog that do pull on leash).

    So be patient. It will take a while.

    If you start to feel stressed and impatient then stop and have a time out. Even if you can only practice for a minute, just do it multiple times a day until you can extend the time.
  3. Caitikoi Active Member

    We don't go outside. We live in an apartment complex so we just walk out into the hallway. He's been out there many times before to play and run around (since he's not ready to go outside yet, trust me), so it's not new to him, and I wouldn't think it's too distracting because it's just a blank hallway, MUCH less distracting than our house... But I suppose anything can be to a puppy?

    I'll try walking around with him with the leash dragging, but the biting is a real issue. He's chewed through a leash before. Do you think I should just keep an eye on him until he gets used to it?
  4. southerngirl Honored Member

    Puppies bite anything they can get their mouths on. To Seamus the leash is a fun toy. In order to get him to stop you can buy a chain leash or some bitter spray. Eventually he should grow out of it, it's a puppy thing. My dog did it when he was a puppy I just let him and he eventually grew out of it. For loose leash training my dog I would stop every time she pulled and call her back to my side, her reward was that we started walking again, yes this is boring and can get annoying, but stay consistent and patient remember he's just a baby. I know that at first it seems like it's not working, but give it 2 weeks or 3 to see if he is improving(not having to stop as much). If you don't see any imrpovment try something else it doesn't work with all dogs. It's not easy training a puppy, but it is very rewarding when you see it click with them(oh mommy want's me to walk beside her not pull). Good Luck.
    [IMG] [IMG]
  5. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Loose-leash waslking is hard, and takes quite a bit of practice. If Seamus isn't used to the leash, let that be the first thing you conquer. Good idea to let him drag it around til he's not so much noticing it anymore. Another thing you may want to start working on is "leave it" - there are lots of videos in several current threads, or easily found, so am not going to post yet another. Once you've got a solid "leave it", try again, and when the leash "games" start, ask for a "leave it" and make sure you reward heavily and immed if he stops, then be sure to keep him distracted for a few seconds to take his mind off of it. The leash biting seems to be something that most puppies go thru, it seems they just have to! :ROFLMAO:

    Once you have a good "leave it" and he's used to the leash, if you take him out to the hall to practice, and he starts the leash-biting, you may want to immed turn around and go back into the house - sorry Seamus, playtime is over. Unleash him, wait a minute, then try again. Repeat, repeat, repeat - he'll soon understand that his little antics get him nothing but boring back in the house and ugh, ho-hum. And - keep telling yourself ... he's a puppy, and he will grow up. :LOL:

    And - one thing I'll share that I learned at a recent seminar about loose-leash walking. I attended a Kay Laurence seminar a few months ago (those in the UK are possibly very familiar with her, and some fortunate ones here in the US have attended seminars, etc) and she focused on loosh-leash walking, and increasing the bond with your dog. She said when your dog pulls, just stop and stand still, let your dog continue to do whatever it's doing, pull, whatever (cuz eventually it's gonna stop, cuz it's not paying off, and it's not going anywhere) -- let it stop, sniff, whatever - and don't budge (even when it stops pulling) until your dog turns around and looks at you. Don't budge until that eye contact happens - and it will (at that time, no treats necessary - just start walking). We all worked the exercise in the seminar (and there were some horrendous pullers!!) and you wouldn't believe the improvement. The handler/dog start working as a team, instead of just someone who's frustrated, trying to manage a dog who's pulling them along (and size didn't matter). I walk 3 dogs (not mine) of which 2 are hideous pullers. I've been using this on them and there's been definite improvement with them. It definitely helps in the relationship-building, and the dog starts realizing there is someone at the end of that leash. And just be patient - cuz everything takes time. Seamus is a baby and just learning how to get around in the world we humans have made for him. As Kay kept reminding us - there aren't leashes in the dog world, they belong to us. We owe it to them to be as patient as we possibly can, and do everything we can to build and strenghthen our relationship, and go as slowly as the dog needs, always. So - just another suggestion..... Hope it helps. :)
  6. 648117 Honored Member

    Holly only chewed her leash for about a four days and then never did again. When she started I would just distract her with a toy or trick or something, but she only chewed if we were just sitting waiting (in puppy class while the other puppys were having a go at doing something) so it was different.

    I think there is a kikopup youtube video about leash chewing (it has a dalmation puppy in it). Basically, you get the leash out (not attached to the puppy) and just hold it, when the puppy stops pulling you click/treat, the puppy learns that it gets a treat if it leaves the leash alone. Then you slowly make it more difficulat for the puppy by moving the leash etc and treating if it leaves the leash alone.

    You could play with the dog/do tricks while it is wearing the leash so that it is too distracted to chew it. Maybe leash the dog before you feed it dinner, and hold the leash so it realises that you can hold the other end without it needing to chew it.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  7. Dlilly Honored Member

    I can't get the link right now because I'm on my iPhone, but you can look this video up, or someone else can find it unil I get online tomorrow.There is a video made by Kikopup all about teaching a puppy not to bite the leash. That video may be helpful to you.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  8. Caitikoi Active Member

    Woah, an hour of waiting and then boom big comments! Thank you guys, that's really helpful c:

    There is only ONE more foreseeable problem then.

    I have hypersensitive skin, so I'm really sensitive to pain. The tugging of the leash is really, really painful and makes patience even more difficult. Yes, my sister or Mom could do these exercises. COULD, but I highly doubt they WOULD (I'm the big "trainer" in the house, that's why I got an account here). If you guys have any advice about that, that'd be great.
  9. SD&B Experienced Member

    Can you use a waist leash? Or gloves? Can you tether him? Or wrap the leash around an object such as a table leg to lessen the tugging force?

    Loose leash walking is a hard one.
    tigerlily46514 and southerngirl like this.
  10. Caitikoi Active Member

    Right now I'm not going to actually take him outside so I guess I just won't worry about it yet.

    And I checked out Kikopup's video. Very helpful! But Seamus doesn't bite it until it's on him and it "gets in his way".
  11. southerngirl Honored Member

    Do you use a collar or a leash? It may help if you use a harness cause it's less likely to "get in his way."
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  12. Anneke Honored Member

    I would recommend starting with the biting in the leash, before moving on to walking.
    Just put the leash on him and let it drag. Click for him ignoring the leash. Once he does that, you can pick the leash up. Still no walking around with it, just pick it up. Click for not biting.
    And offer something else instead, like a toy. Tugging would be best, but I guess that would be hard for you.
    And once you do start the loose leash walking, tie the leash around your waist. There are leashes for sale. Skijoring belts or canicross belts are a harness that you wear around your waist and attach the leash to. Or a joggingleash, where the leash is attached to the belt you wear around your waist.
    But you can make it cheaper, by just using a normal belt and tying your leash to that.
    I have a joggingleash that stretches, don't ever get one of those!!:confused:untill your dog really doesn't pull anymore.
    SD&B and tigerlily46514 like this.
  13. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    GREAT ADVICE ABOVE,
    and remember, this is HARD for dogs, and even harder for baby dogs, so take your time, do NOT expect to conquer this all at once, HAVE FUN, smile, enjoy the progress you are your dog make, and yes, yes, you WILL be able to teach this!! YOU CAN DO IT!!! but not in one day........ not in one week......... and be braced "this takes a lil while to nail this one"
    and then, if it happens sooner, WA-LA, you can be pleasantly surprised,
    but set your mind, "this takes a while".

    and DO work on other tricks and cues along the way, for fun, for the thrill of accomplishment, and to build your confidence in the meantime.

    I've taught my dog lots and lots of things, and of alllllllllll the things i've taught him, "loose leash" walking was far and away, THE hardest thing i taught him, for *my* dog anyway:ROFLMAO: , but, i did make mistakes along the way, no doubt, your progress will be faster. It will just be easier, if you know going into this, that "loose leash" requires time, patience, etc, it's NOT like teaching a dog "sit" or "rollover". Loose leash takes more time than a "trick" takes.

    yet, there did come a day, finally, when he "got it":D and had developed the self control necessary to do it. It sort of was off/on, came&went at first, but, he got it.
    YOU WILL GET THERE!!

    Heres some videos:
    each video is SUPER SHORT, and easy to understand:
    JazzyandVeronica likes this.
  14. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    By the way, it sounds like you are working on "loose leash walking"
    which is different than a "heel".
    Loose leash walking, is, the dog can walk in front of you, but, just never pulls on his leash.

    Heel, is the dog maintains his position beside you. You can save "heel" for later, if you want to.
    What i call "heelwork", where the dog stays in very precise position beside you, with his eyes up on you, was shockingly easy to teach. WAYYYYyyyy easier than loose leash...but, you can't much use heelwork for his daily walks.



    Dlilly likes this.
  15. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

  16. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Kikopup has many many more videos on loose leash walking, just google
    "kikopup loose leash" and they all pop up.

  17. Caitikoi Active Member

    Thank you again, guys. I've actually already watched each one of those by now. I made sure to watch any video on impulse control and leash behaviour that she had before my friend got here. We trained him together a little before going on our walk.

    There seems to be confusion about what's going on. Let me explain.

    We tried walking Seamus really before any of us knew what the hell to do. So, now it's given him bad habits and expectations. The moment he sees the leash, he gets excited, distracted, and runs for the door. No matter if you get him distracted, if he sees the leash (not hung up) he won't be perfectly focused.
    If you get him on the leash, and he runs, in consequence to either getting his legs caught up in it, or being tugged if the leash is in hand, he will flip around and paw at it and gnaw on it. He doesn't bite it unless it's on him and he's started off. So, doing the training with him just getting exposure to the leash is useless.
    The only thing I can think of is allowing him to get into that state and then when he calms down, click and treat. But I don't know how to calm him down. I used to do that hissing thing like with Cesar Millan, or the "ah-ah" like with Victoria Stilwell, but then I watched a Kikopup video that said not to do these because it was unethical and I was a little torn. So what should I do?

    And about heel, Tigerlily you know I've been teaching Seamus heel. And it's about half-way locked in. But he won't respond to "heel" at all when he's on the leash.
  18. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Ah, not to worry about bad habits, dogs can get over such things, it's we humans who struggle to get over bad habits,:ROFLMAO:
    you can do this, you'll see.
    And yes, lots of us here find scolding or correcting wrong behavior is not as powerful
    AS REWARDING what you DO like.:D Rewarding, whether it is treats, praise, moving forward, getting to go on a walk, getting to go out the door, is powerful rewards to a dog, wayyyyyyyyy more powerful than scolding or "AH AH" or yanking, etc.

    Seamus DOES want to please you, let him know when he does please you. He'll be more likely to repeat it.
    Scolding can be mostly ineffective, it can be. Scolding does not show the dog what you DO want instead.

    (btw, put dog whisperer:cautious: on child-block on your tv! ha ha)


    You can also get a new leash, a chain leash, which will solve the biting the leash but it won't solve his excitement. But, a chain leash might be easiest thing for you right now.


    One thing to try, is, if he is more excited than you want him to be, he gets nothing. Not an "instant" fix, but, might work. Teach him, "Your lil spazzy-action there, earns you zero. Everytime you do that, baby Seamus, we have to stop and wait for you to calm down again."
    YOU will need even more patience than you are asking from little baby Seamus, though.:ROFLMAO::LOL:;):p:)(y):ROFLMAO:

    THE "WAIT IT OUT" ROUTINE:
    Bring out leash, if he is too excited, stand and wait, silently ignoring him. this might take a while, turn your back if he jumps up on you, be silent, and just wait, eventually, he'll give up, and sit down in confusion or exhaustion, whichever comes first!!:ROFLMAO:
    When he eventually gets settled down, quiet calm praise, (or CLICK/TREAT) and leash him up.
    Do this EVERY time, and it won't be too long til Seamus figures out what you want. It gets shorter and shorter and shorter and shorter each time you do this.


    If he re-excites once he is leashed, (he will:ROFLMAO: ) you pretty much freeze, do nothing, no attention to the dog...waiting....waiting.....
    When Seamus quiets down, (CLICK/TREAT) and now you can move to door.

    If When Seamus begins pulling on leash, you can then proceed with any of the multiple methods in this thread.

    hope any of this helps??? good luck. There are other ways to solve this, too, but, that's my two cents, all dogs are unique. SMILE, deep breathe, and enjoy the puppy and keep telling yourself, "This will take time."
  19. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    One that really helped me (but all dogs are different, and there's many ideas to try) was where Kikopup demos how she stops, and calls/coaxes dog back to her. THAT really seemed to help *my* dog reset his brain/snap out of pulling.

    Yes, yes, Buddy did begin pulling again in a few more feet!! Sure he did!!:ROFLMAO::LOL: The world is full of great sights and smells, let's move forward! Let's GO!:confused: I don't know how long it took to get around the block, but, it took a while.:ROFLMAO:
    and sometimes, out of sheer boredom, i'd mix it up with some sudden changes in other direction.


    but, mostly, i just stopped each time, and coaxed him back to me. Not nonstop coaxing, but like kikopup did, and just coaxed him back to me. Zero forward movement til Buddy returned back to me.

    Buddy having to listen to me, and come back to me and refocusing on me seemed to help Buddy to snap out of being a pull monster...and overtime, he got better, and came to understand, "My pulling gets me nowhere."
    Jackie's idea of asking for eye contact is good too.

    But you will have to be consistent. Everytime Seamus gets to pull you to a mailbox, or pull you over to this tree here, etc etc, YOU lose. Seamus is being rewarded for pulling. See, that IS THE HARD PART, imo, of loose leash training.
    The more consistent you are-----------the faster Seamus will give up pullling.:D
    and EVERYONE who walks Seamus HAS TO BE ON BOARD with this, and not allow Seamus to pull---------- mom, dad, brother,Auntie Sue, just everyone. If YOU are working hard to teach Seamus, "Pulling gets you NOTHING." but dad is letting Seamus drag him down the street, your work will be doubley hard.

    new rule: If Seamus pulls, he does not win.
    You can freeze and wait til leash is loose,
    You can change to opposite direction
    You can call/coax him back to you
    You can ask for eye contact, like Jackie says,
    You can try any of the other ideas in the videoS, (like how to properly reward dog when he IS doing it right, giving him treat behind your knee, or toss it and you change directions, etc)
    long long long list of things to try,
    but Seamus does not "win" by pulling,
    and every time he DOES get to pull you and move fwd, he IS being rewarded for pulling.

    but, you can experiment around with all the methods, til you find one you are comfortable with, that will work for your dog.
  20. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    and Yes, that heelwork, for doggie dancing, is not really for the dog's daily walk, but, it's fun! and it's easy! see? you are able to teach Seamus more and more things!!:) but yeah, that is not for daily outdoor walks, when Seamus is supposed to explore the world, etc.

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