Sabers adventuresTraining tips

Teaching Loose-Leash Walking


Teaching Loose-Leash Walking
Saber relaxed on lead.

Teaching Loose-Leash Walking: It takes time

Teaching Loose-Leash Walking is something I have struggled with, Saber bless him will walk to heel in town and on the pavements but loose leash walking is something he struggles with. Saber is improving as he settles down from puppy boistrosness  and this loose leash walking thing is beginning to work in the less urban areas like the park or on country walks where he needs to be on lead.

Teaching Loose-Leash Walking :Ways To Do It

Get your dog to walk without pulling! But how? We are masters at allowing our dogs to drag us down the street.  “how can I get my dog not to pull on his leash?”

As far as dogs and leashes are concerned, we want to arrange things so that loose leashes results in rewards and tight leashes don’t.

Most trainers encourage people to act like a tree the moment their dog began to pull on the leash. This way never worked for me.

The following method requires first, that all or most re-enforcement  will come from behind you and second, that you will throw the food to the ground not too far though so the dog hasn’t to look for it.

Teaching Loose-Leash Walking: Make It Play

Loose-leash walking is going to start as a game. Here are a few simple steps you will train before you set off walking with your dog. Put your dog’s leash on and just stand still. When your dog releases the tension on the leash, if you use a clicker click or mark the behaviour with a yes and show him the treat in your hand.

Let him see you place the treat on the ground by the outside of your left foot. Once he’s eaten the treat, move to the end of the range of the leash so it is tight and stand quietly.

When he moves to release the tension, clicker mark show him the treat and place it by your left foot.

Eye Contact

You don’t care about eye contact. What you are teaching is that releasing the leash tension gets rewarded. Repeat this a few times. Continue to stand now that your dog is not pulling. Now you will mark for eye contact.

After the mark, place the treat  by your left foot. Remember after he has finished eating the treat to move to the end of the leash.

Mark and treat many times for looking at you while on a loose leash.

Again, just standing with your dog on a loose leash, looking at you, toss your treats right past your dog’s nose to about three feet away.

When dog eats the treats and comes back to you looking for more. Mark and then treat by placing the food by the outside of your left foot.

Teaching Loose-Leash Walking
Saber loose leash

Move and repeat.

Again throw the treat right past your dog’s nose. When your dog finishes eating it and turns around to come back to you, you turn your back and start walking. (Just take a few steps in the beginning.) When you dog catches up to you, but before he gets past your pant leg, mark and treat. Repeat.

Make sure when you toss the food it goes right past the dog’s nose. This is the warm-up. Now that you have the dog following you for a few steps it is time to start walking and reinforcing behind or next to you.

With your dog is on his lead.  Turn away from him and start walking. Your dog follows. As the dog catches up to you and is coming up next to you—maybe even makes eye contact mark “Yes” or use a clicker and drop the treat next to your left foot. Don’t keep moving and be sure the first few times that you let the dog know that you have food in your hand. Once he’s finished his treat, start again. Show him the treat and then turn and take a few steps away from him, walk till he catches up, drop the treat next to you or a bit behind.

Helpfull Tips.

Note: Dropping food next to your side or a little behind helps the dog to stay close to you. It prevents the dog from anticipating and driving ahead. So drop the food behind you or you can even let the dog take it out of your hand behind your back. Don’t drop the food so far away that the dog has to drag you to get it.

Start walking in such a way that the dog is at an angle beside you or is behind you. As the dog catches up, drop the food behind you (or next to your pant leg). Once the dog has eaten the food and is coming back toward you, start walking away from him again. Try for more steps before dropping. Timing  is everything!  Don’t let the dog get in front of you. If he does, pivot away, wait till he catches up and is next to you or slightly behind you (or his nose is at your trouser seam), and drop the food.

Now it’s your job to increase the number of steps before dropping the food behind you. Never drop food if your dog has gotten in front of you. Work towards walking more steps before rewarding. You can vary this and reinforce while he is next to you if you wish, or toss the treat way behind you so the dog has to hunt for it and then reinforce him for catching back up to you.

Keep it up

Teaching loose leash walking can take a lot of time so keep at it

As your dog gets better and you can now walk quite a distance without forging and pulling, don’t fail to reward intermittently. For your dog to walk without pulling he has to believe (because you rewarded him) that there is a better chance of good things near you than in the wide world. Use the long line if you have to control your dog and are not taking a walk. Remember, if you never let the leash get tight, your dog won’t learn that he can pull you. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him or you!

This is a summary of how it is done but remember it can take time and effort, try not to show frustration. The rewards of walking a dog that doesn’t pull or cross over from side to side in front of you when out walking are worth the effort.

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