Training how to walk with a leash

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by lahpunk, Oct 20, 2007.

  1. lahpunk New Member

    Hi, We want to train our new puppy how to walk with a leash. Every time we try to walk with her with a leash she just plops herself down on the ground. We don't want to drag her around. What do we do?

  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    You mean she just lies down??? LOL I've never heard that one before - most people complain that dogs are pulling them :)
  3. CollieMan Experienced Member

    For a few days ONLY, I would just pick her up, move her forward a bit, and try walking her along again. This may solve it on its own as the pup grows more confident.

    Our pup used to plop itself down in a sit position and refuse to move. I picked her up for a few days but she just got used to that instead. Once I saw no progress, I just continued to walk with her, with a very upbeat tone to my voice. She very quickly decided it was much easier to walk on the leash. She now walks beautifully on leash. The knack is to carry on walking as though the dog doesn't even exist. Otherwise, you'll constantly feel sorry for the dog, neither of you will get anywhere, and the pup will very quickly develop a lifelong habit.
  4. Jean Cote Administrator

    It sounds to me like she is just scared, which is normal for a very young puppy. Why don't you get her used to walking on leash by starting in your backyard, or your driveway. Then you can just go a few houses and come back home - it doesn't have to be a long walk. It's just to get her used to walking around all those distractions around :)
  5. mopar53190 Well-Known Member

    I'm training my puppy to heel. She is not heeling outside, so what I started doing is leashing her in the house and walking from one end to the other saying "heel, Good girl" and giving her a treat when she is doing good. We just started this so she is not doing it outside yet, but she does not want to listen when outside anyways so I'm going to start to train her outside with treats also; sit, come, stay...
  6. CollieMan Experienced Member

    For my puppy, whenever she walked in front of me, or too far out to the side, I turned around and walked the other way, without fail. When she got in the right position, by my side, I would click, treat, and say "that's the way". We practised (and still do) this three times a day on a public field.

    I sure looked a little odd at times, but not as odd as all those people who get dragged along by their dogs. Now, at 20 weeks, she has a perfect loose-leash walk around other dogs and people.

    Not saying it's the solution, but it's a solution.
  7. fletcher New Member

    We will be doing this from now on!! Where do you come up with all of these ideas collieman? I dont mind looking a little silly....
  8. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I can't take any credit I'm afraid. They are all long established methods. This particular one is quite an old method that seems to have lost favour a little in recent years. I still think it's the fastest and most reliable. I read an awful lot of training material, as I start my canine behaviour courses in January.

    Some people teach you to just stand still the moment the dog pulls and not to move again until the dog works out that it's supposed to be by your side. The trouble I've found with that method is that most dogs are perfectly happy to park their rumps down when you stop, and not move at all. In that case, nothing is gained.

    My way, you keep moving and the dog learns to stay close to you because it can't predict which way you are going to move. It helps to throw in random turns all through the walk, some 90 degree, some 180 degree, some to the left, some to the right, and so on. The more unpredictable you make it, the better the dog will respond, usually. When you turn to the left (presuming you walk your dog to the left) your leg will bump into the dog's face. The dog soon realises that he needs to hang back a little to avoid it.

    I would strongly suggest though that you don't use the "heel" word. Heeling and loose-leash walking are two entirely different things. I prefer to just use "come" the second before I turn. That way, I also reinforce the come command several times during the walk, and I know that the dog will be coming towards me. :)
  9. Jean Cote Administrator

    Unless you have acclimated your dog to training outside, then she will be extremely distracted by the overwhelming smells, sounds and new things to see. You have the right idea to get her used to the new environment by training easier commands like sit, etc. Just make sure that your dog is focusing on you and not the surroundings. You can even start in your own backyard at first, and then move to a park.

    Little tricks like CollieMan pointed out (going in the opposite direction when she passes you) are very useful to keep your dog's attention on you. :)
  10. bocephus Experienced Member

    I am sorry for being a dummy,maybe not fully understanding but If the pup is pulling out front or off to the side and you just turn the other way are you not then having to pull even harder to get your pup to your side?

    I have 4 pups and they all seem to learn a little different than the other.
    The best way I have gotten them to learn a loose lead was by the
    "You pull we stop method". When the lead gets tight I would simply stop say "Back" then pat the side of my leg to let him know that's where he is supposed to be. Not letting the walk continue till the requested action is done. Having the pup simply sit or lay down during this has never been a problem (or happened)with us (my pups are real high strung). If your pup just wanted to lay or sit when you stopped the walk it would conflict with this method as you both would be resting more than walking:dogwink:
    A "pulling" dog usually is much more interested in continueing the walk rather than sitting or laying. They "pull" mostly out of instinct to get to that next smell or seem to want to "Beat you to the spot". If they have the drive and want to walk they learn real quick that the walk ends when the pull begins. and the pulling(for us anyway) stopped altogether. I now (this took some time)can walk all 4 on lead at once without much of a problem. The biggest problem being with the newest puppy Loki either thinking it is a race other than a walk or that every insect needs to be investigated:dogtongue2:.

    Please understand I am not a proffesional trainer by no means. My pups are all rescues except for the puppy Loki. I have managed to train them real well. We are very proud therapy doggies and have some real neat games we play at the Shriners Hosp. and convelesant hospitals. I get frequently get asked "How do you train your dogs to do that?" My only response has been "They are still training me".
    We also love to jump into the water so my pups and I started NW AirDogs. We hold dog jumping compititions where we get to play and at the same time earn money for an organisation in need.
    Though I do help people train their pups in motovation and different Jumping techniques I only do it to help people realise that these amazing pups are our greatest gift.
    Sorry if this went off track a little:msnblushing:
  11. bocephus Experienced Member

    OH I forgot the most important part!!
    Praise!! Praise!! and More Praise!!
    Many times I have looked like a pretty wierd person by the high praises given to the pups. But for my pups a very extreme praise is better than a treat.
    If you have had the priviliage of parenthood and remember your babies first steps or first words. Give that kind of praise to each thing your pup does that you approve of!!!
  12. CollieMan Experienced Member

    No. Though I can see why you might think that. What actually happens is two things:

    1. The pup instantly realises, the second it pulls, that it is behind me. The exact opposite of what it presumably wanted to achieve by steaming ahead.

    2. The pup trots to my side. The only pulling is at the split second when I turn. The pup might repeat this a few times, but soon gets the idea. "Hang on, whenever I steam ahead, I end up behind him. I may as well walk here, and stay equal with him."

    All I can tell you is that it works a charm. I'll see if I can get a video together of her walking, both on loose-leash, and to a strict competitive-obedience style heel.

    I have tried the stopping method in the past, and to be frank, I wasted my time and the dog's time, by taking three times longer than we needed to. My preferred method means that the walk remains natural, and at a natural pace. Bear in mind too that I don't like to stop at all with my dog when walking. We walk at a brisk pace, and she never once gets to stop and sniff while on leash. The only stop she makes is at road crossing, and only when given a "stop" instruction. So, using your method, I would be sending mixed signals.

    Yes, it might seem like a harsh regime, but then we're aiming at competitive obedience titles in the future, and so it's all good groundwork for her.
  13. bocephus Experienced Member

    Okay now it's more understood. Thanks for clearing my head a bit.
  14. Jean Cote Administrator

    It is my experience that if a dog is pulling on the leash and you suddenly stop, the dog will start sniffing on the ground and look around. This might be considered reinforcing for the dog and should be avoided.

    By immediately going in the opposite direction, you avoid those distractions and no time is wasted.

    Just a small observation. :)
  15. bocephus Experienced Member

    I took the pup Loki out and tried your method.
    Well about all I can say is Thanks a bunch!!:dogwink:
    Worked well! Just didn't quit understand till you explained it a bit.

    Thanks for enlightening me a little on it! It Is Working well!!
  16. CollieMan Experienced Member

    Glad to hear it's working for you. I've never had it fail me yet. The key is doing it every single time. It's really very rare now that I have to make an about turn. Though I do it from time to time to keep her on her toes, and keep the walk random.
  17. dakotamom421 New Member

    if your puppy does this every time you put the leash on you may want to let him drag his leash around ONLY when you are at home to supervise because he could get stuck on something, and give him lots of praise and make it fun when he has it on. i hade a dog that did the same thing and for about a week when i would get home i would put the leash on him and let him drag it for a little while and every now and then i would pick it up as he was walking and take a few steps with him then i would drop it if he didnt stop and praise him in about a week he was walking a lot better he didnt hate the leash and we could even go for short walks around the neighborhood. he now walks perfectly on the leash.

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