umbilical leash technique

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by alix, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. alix New Member

    I have been following a Canadian show on TV called At The End Of My Leash, in which Brad Pattison becomes the Bratty-Dog Whisperer. He uses the ubilical leash technique anyone tired it here? Although you can make your own umbilical leash, I will buy a ready one since I saw at the pet shop near me they sell it, and I can have 2 dogs on it at the same time. Although I will be using normal obedience techniques for most of the stuff, and I will start going through the sessions here on this forum, I was thinking of the umbilical mainly because my girl has a bad habit, that the minute I open the door, she runs out so fast that it is hard to catch her. I am lucky so far that she is not running towards the street, but towards the neighbour to visit her new found Golden regriever.

    If you have had sucess with this technique, how many hours a day did you do it? Brad normally recommends between 2-3 hours a day, but that might be a little too long ?

  2. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I'm presuming this is the technique that advocates attaching the leash between you and the dog whilst you go about your daily duties around the house and such like?
  3. bipa New Member

    I understand that he's quite a controversial figure, with several certified trainers in Calgary now campaigning to get him off the air because of his no-treat, no-toy, mainly aversive training techniques. He also likes to use a martingale collar, which if not fitted correctly can seriously choke a dog.

    The umbilical method is often suggested for owners of puppies during housebreaking. Other than crating or keeping a puppy enclosed in a single room, there's no other way to really ensure you won't end up discovering "presents" in a far corner if you get busy and lose sight of the pup for a while.

    As for adult dogs, I'm not sure what the point would be to have my dog tied to me while I'm working around the house or garden. Pretty boring when I'm sitting for an hour or two at my computer, or dusting my shelves. But trying to vacuum might be interesting.:dogblink:

    If your main cause of worry is running out of the door, then perhaps a few other things might be easier? For example, when a package comes that I have to sign for, then I close the hallway door so that my two dogs can't even get to the front door in the first place. I can have a little chat with the door open and not worry about them at all. Or someone on another thread mentioned getting a baby gate that would also block the dogs from getting out. And standard "sitz und bleib" (sit and stay) training will hopefully kick in eventually (though I still don't fully trust my two).
  4. alix New Member

    Yes Collieman, you guessed right about the technique.

    Bipa, I didn't know about the contreversy of Brad, but I can agree with it. I cannot ever do as he suggests, Not to talk or touch your dog for 2 weeks, IMPOSSIBLE. twice a day I have special play time with them, also, these are my babies, how can I not touch them.

    My problem is that I do not have a second door, and the hallway is so large that there is no Baby door that would fit. I have 2 baby doors that I block the stairs to go up or down, since my stairways are wooden horizontal lines and vertical side is a hole, I don't know if I explain it correctly, but it is unsafe so I have blocked it.

    Queeny's problem started when the DHL, GLS and the normal postman gave her treats when they visited, so now she loves it when the door bell rings, and since I have a business at home, some days it rings too often. so, she started running after the delivery people, hoping to get more treats, and the poor men had to bring them home. It was cute at the beginning, but now it is a problem, she trys to run away also if I open the door for any reason, to run to the neighbour, not too pleasant :msnsad: So far the only thing that works is if I put her leash on before I open the door. She knows Sit-Stay commend, but she is not obeying in this case. any suggestions?
  5. CollieMan Experienced Member

    This used to be advocated by the likes of Ed Frawley, though perhaps to an extreme that you are not even thinking of in your mention of the technique. (I don't know if he still does.) I've also seen it advocated by Jan Fennel, and a couple of others. I personally don't see the merit in it.

    I don't see the merit because it's a very unnatural action to encourage, and I can't really see how it accomplishes anything that constructive playtime with the dog won't encourage.

    I can see that it's supposed to, in some cases, encourage the dog to stay at your side. However, play and training will do that too. The difference is, of course, with the latter, you can be confident that your dog is with you because it's learned that it's fun to be there, not because it had no choice. I think that you can tell the difference, at least in competing dogs.

    In your particular case, the first thing that popped into my head was that you need to decide EXACTLY what you do want the dog to do when the doorbell rings. Have you given that any thought? Once we know that, we might be able to offer some suggestions.
  6. bipa New Member

    I can see how putting Queeny on a leash each time the doorbell rings would be a bit of a nuisance, yet the umbilical approach would have her on a leash a lot of the time anyway. Six of one, half a dozen of the other, eh? Your hallway is really that wide? I've seen extendible baby gates to block off a double door, but that was in Canada and not in Germany. Guess you've asked at the local baumarkt? (hardware and building supply store)

    A long-term approach would be to re-train your dogs to go running to their crates or dog beds when the doorbell rings. You'd need a partner to help you train, and would slowly condition them to change their response to the bell. Won't help you right now, though.

    If your place isn't an open plan and has rooms that can be closed off, then perhaps just shutting them into a room before going to the front door might be an easier option. Then you can let them out again once the front door is closed.
  7. alix New Member

    Thanks CollieMan. What I would like is that Queeny does like her brother. Sunny approaches towards the door, but stays 1 meter behind, and sits and waits. if it is the postman etc., he doesn't even react, he might bark once or twice if there is a very large package. If it is my friend or my husband then he start to jump from happiness. He is reserved, so were my dogs in the past, but Queeny is too friendly with everyone. I guess the problem is not only the door, she is eager for any passer by to love her, too friendly. Do you think both is related?
  8. CollieMan Experienced Member

    Sorry, Alix, how old is Queeny right now?
  9. alix New Member

    Queeny and Sunny both will be 7 months old next week :)
  10. alix New Member

    The baby doors I bought are resizable, but won't cover the hallway. I do have a glass door at the office where I sit, that closing them there would work, except my dsl line gets cought off everytime. Don't even ask how this thing works, basically the landlord didn't want us to make a hole to pass the wire to the office, and this is now causing me problems.
  11. bipa New Member

    Yeah, German landlords can be picky. Have you tried a wireless? It might or might not be able to get through your walls, though. We had trouble with that in our last apartment before buying the house.

    CollieMan is our computer expert. I believe there's a special very flat cable available that won't get pinched. That way you could just shut the dogs into the office while working on the long term training solution.
  12. alix New Member

    hmm, I am going to OBI tonight, I will ask for such cables. Next month we will start building our own house, and of course it will be dog friendly, will have proper safer stairs, all wiring will be in the walls, and my office door will close properly. I am most exited of the doggie corner that I will make in the garden, with small pebbles hidden with toys etc, since these terriers do have the tendency of digging. but building a house specially in Europe takes long, so I don't expect to enjoy the luxuries before June-July.:dogwacko:
  13. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I think at seven months, you're doing well to have one dog behaving well when fresh faces come to the door. :)

    Ellie is now eight months of age and she still wants to rush everyone and anyone, thinking she's going to get attention. The problem is, of course, she usually gets it. The problem in these cases, I find, is rarely the training of the dog, but more the training of the visitors. It seems that no matter how many times you tell visitors not to acknowledge the dog, all it takes is a wag of a tail, and they immediately forget it.

    If I were you, I would try to borrow a friend that the dog is relatively unfamiliar with for a few hours and practise having him/her knock on the door or ring the doorbell. First thing is first, when the bell rings, attach the leash to the dog. (You have to know that you can control the dog and limit it escaping.)

    You might also consider a sign outside on the door. I know, but bear with me. Something along the lines of "Dog in Training: Please be patient while puppy is secured." I say "puppy is secured" because then people won't assume that you have an aggressive adult dog that needs securing. Everyone will wait for a puppy, right? This will take the pressure off you to answer the door before your deliveries drive off, AND secure the dog at the same time.

    Before the door is open, place the dog where you want her to be, and in the position you want her to be. (Sit, for example, though I prefer them to lay down.) Issue a "stay" and give a high-value reward (preferably something that will keep them sniffing, licking, chewing or anything else that doesn't involve moving). You might even keep a bone in the vicinity for this very purpose.

    If the dog moves, just ask the person at the door to excuse you, issue your global "No" marker, (I use ah-ah) and just reposition the dog exactly as you need it to be. Keep repeating.

    Sadly, it is one of those things that does need regular (and really, sometimes quite excessive) practise. It's hard for a dog of that age to control that pent up energy when it thinks it's going to get a fuss. With many dogs, it tends to die down on its own as they get a little older and a little less trusting of strangers.

    Having a friend who will let you practise with will really speed things up.
  14. alix New Member

    Sounds reasonable, on Saturday I will test it with my friend that I have not seen for few months and see how it goes. For the rest, it is a good idea, but I will have to discuss it with my husband, since a lot of times he is the one dealing with the deliveries, so we have to agree and do the same thing. at the moment, my regular delivery men know the problem, so I am only opening a crack, and they just put their arm in for me to sign, but that is not a solution. sounds good, and I know persistent is the key. Guess this will be Tonight's dinner discussion with my husband :)
    Thanks CollieMan and Bipa for being there for me
  15. bipa New Member

    You're welcome, Alix. See you around TT! And do let us know how it goes.

    One additional thing neither of us really mentioned was practicing the long stay. That will also help. Just slowly start extending the amount of time that the dogs have to sit or lie in a stay, until they can manage at least 15 minutes. Lots of folks keep at it until they have a solid 30 minute stay. I let my dogs readjust their position a bit, as long as they remain glued to that particular spot. But it is a long-term training project and won't help with tomorrow's deliveries.

  16. yoyopoodle Well-Known Member

    Umbilical cording is great! I never heard of the show you are referring to, but I certainly condone giving attention to the dog.

    Like mentioned, it's awesome for getting rid of any bad habits or housebreaking a puppy. It's also used to form a solid bond between a dog and a single person.

    This is a really good technique for people getting a service dog :)
    From the moment the trainer decides which dog will likely be best for which person, the umbilical cording starts. At first there are no commands given, just snuggling, petting, talking, and saying the dog's name. The only times the leash doesn't need to be physically attached to person (or wheelchair) are in the car (for safety reasons, the dog needs to stay close anyways), in the shower (leash is attached to something next to shower - not door knob 5' away), and in bed (if it's too hard to keep the leash on it can be tied to the head of the bed).
    As the dog learns to look to the person for everything, they will want to work for them... it's over that week that the person learns what skills their dog has and how to 'use' them. No food is involved because food is a 'replacement' of a bond - the dog will work, but be reliant on food, and the person learns that they should always have treats to make the task go faster... then all sorts of issues arrise with dogs getting fat, not wanting to work, person running out of food, etc. It's easier to just start by having them form a solid bond.

    Umbilical cording teaches a dog to pay attention to you at all times (not heavy concentration, just an awareness). They learn not to steal food, or interupt you for a session of play... just go about your routine and let the dog know when it's time for a walk, or food etc. The dog learns to synchronize, especially if you don't give them any commands (when you sit down and ignore them, they will lie down and rest within a couple of minutes, no matter how much they wanted to play). It's a great way for teaching puppies to rest too.
  17. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Zeke was terrible with this, and Mud was bad about it when I got her too. I taught her wait. DTA has a lesson on this. I actually taught it to her right in front of the door, so right from the start she knew what was expected of her. Once she knew that wait meant to sit and stay, I progressed to taking a step towards the door, with her in the wait position. If she broke it, I gave a firm, "Ah-ah!" and returned her to the position. She quickly learned to wait at the end of the carpet(my entryway is tile). I took baby steps, going from taking a step towards the door, going to the door, touching the doorknob, opening the door a few centimeters, a few more, to opening it all the way. Once she would sit quietly while I opened the door, I asked a friend to come over. I did the same stuff with the friend outside by the door, then eventually asked them to walk one of my other dogs out front.
    Zeke was a little harder. He now knows the command wait, but I didn't initially use it for that. Instead I asked him to sit, and I merely leaned forward. If he broke it, I gave a firm, "Ah-ah!", spun around, and walked away from the door. From the leaning forward, I went to taking a step, more steps, touching the door, opening it a centimeter, a few more, opening it all the way. When he would finally sit while I opened the door, I still didn't progress to asking him to stay there with the door open. Instead, I walked in and out of the door over and over and over and OVER again until he was so bored with it that the door being open was no longer exciting. As with Mud, I asked someone to come over, and he stood outside the door while I repeated the process. Once Zeke had learned that the door was not so incredibly exciting, I then taught him to "wait" with the door wide-open. Zeke took quite a while to learn all of this, but it did work. Although it may be a pain to leash your dog everytime someone comes to the door, I'd say that it's worth it. It's either that or she runs out the door and gets run over.
    I would go through the steps explained, and once she's mastered waiting, then I'd go all the way back to step one and ask someone to ring the doorbell. She will probably break the proper position when it rings--say "Ah-ah!" if you wish to, and return her to the wait position, then reward her. Although it may be annoying, you could ask someone to ring the doorbell over and over and over and over again until she becomes bored with it and realizes that its sound doesn't necessarily mean that a visitor is coming.
  18. bipa New Member


    I can see how you'd want to use umbilical cording to get a service dog to get totally focused on his person, since that is his job. The dog is supposed to be there to help in daily tasks, to make life better for the disabled person. But would we really want an ordinary pet to have that sort of intense focus on a single person?

    The reason I'm wondering is that I've been working for over a year now to combat Joey's very real separation anxiety. So I've been trying to lessen his focus on me, rather than wanting to increase it. We're making quite good progress using various techniques, but it is still very slow and gradual. I guess in a way I'm trying to cut the umbilical cord between us.

  19. alix New Member

    Wow, 30 minutes stay? I will be lucky and satisfied with 3 minutes :msnblushing: I don't know, perhaps I underestimate my dogs' abilities, or I simply take the minimum as a big step forward, simply because Scotties have the reputation of being difficult to train and stubborn. My previous Scotty was trained quiet well actually, but only did her tricks when she felt like it, and I must admit also that I have the tendancy of spoiling my pooches rutton which doesn't help serious training :msnblushing: I guess first, I have to get trained :msngiggle:
  20. yoyopoodle Well-Known Member

    Going kind of off topic... let me know if this should be moved to it's own thread.

    That's a good point - pets often do need to be left alone while an owner works, or at least when there are errands, so the dog needs to be able to cope on their own.
    I'd guess that how 'strict' the process should be with a pet (if used at all) would really depend on the dog's background and personality. A fearful dog will benefit most from one sort of method, an obsessive dog another one, and destructive dog another etc.
    I don't really have any suggestions - it's not an area I'm confident dealing with, since much of my dog experience is based on service dogs. Here is what I went through with my dog:

    Charlie (mainly just obsessive about being with me) had seperation anxiety when he was young and he would howl mournfully at my apparent demise from about 5 minutes after I left until I got home, however many minutes or hours. I rarely ever put a leash on him since I was growing a show coat, but I let him know that the rules were to stay with me... he had so much focus it was easy.
    But when I moved away for college it took a few months to settle in and find an apartment (I started in the dorm), and he stayed with my parents. When I got him back his seperation anxiety had gone through the roof - he couldn't take his eyes off of me for a second unless we were in the apartment or he had his 'security leash' to keep track of me.
    He got over the anxiety after a few months of being next to me (usually off-leash, but within a few feet), and being in his crate when I wasn't around. He learned that crate time is fine because I *have* to come back for him... leaving him loose he would go back to crying all day.
    So in his case, keeping him with me helped a lot, but he had a lot of time in his crate (while I was in class). He was already crate-trained before I started the routine, though he howled for the first couple of weeks after he re-joined me at school.
    I think for Charlie, his mind could only accept me being gone if I had put him in a place (crate), rather than just walking out on him. To this day he will get himself wound-up if I leave him loose when I'm gone, which fortunately is pretty rare.

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