July 28, 2014

How do I leash train an adult dog?

Question by Silo: How to leash train an adult dog.?
I *really* want to leash train my dog, but the issue is, I don’t know what method works for me and my dog. I live in a neighborhood where no one is allowed to have a fence, so when it’s time to potty, he has to be on a leash. Though I work and go to school, I still have time to play with my dog and walk him between 2-3 miles a day – normally broken up into 1 mile routes that occur 3 times a day.

I tried the stop and turn back method. My dog is just as happy going backward as he is forward, so this doesn’t make any difference to him. I’ve tried the start and stop method, but somehow all I’ve taught him is that if he keeps pulling, we won’t go anywhere. So he’ll stop and let the leash go slack – sometimes he’ll even sit down and wait – but when we start walking again he’s right back to it.

I try to time the walks so that he doesn’t have to hold his bladder more than 9 hours (which is about the amount of time it takes me to sleep or finish a shift). Unfortunately, that means I don’t have much time to work with him, and even if I work with him in my spare time, I can’t always be consistent on days when I’m running late and have to walk him fast.

So what would be a better method for someone who can’t be consistent when training requires waiting on the dog to stop pulling?

Answers and Views:

Answer by August
When my dog decides to pull I either do the stop and wait method-but lets face it that takes time and could take hrs to walk around the block. So if I dont feel like waiting I tell her she’s going on short leash, I wrap the leash around my hand a bunch so she has to walk right by me and if i step on her because she is trying to get in front of me or pull then oops to bad I just keep on walking (as her leader i try not to apologize when disciplining her) and she eventually gets it. If your having trouble keeping your arm by your side you can bring your other arm behind your back and hold onto it for more support. She still walks in front of me but she doesn’t pull anymore (unless she sees a small animal but she’s only 40 lbs.)

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Comments

  1. eharri3 says:

    If you were to pick up a prong collar and learn to use it properly this problem would probably start to fix itself within a day or so. Unfurtunately most people don't understand how they work and go based purely on a gut reaction to how they look, so they will tell you they are horrible things.

    My wife is anti-prong so I am going through the very painstaking process of teaching my Pittmix to walk properly on the leash using simple leashwalk exercises with a flat buckle and training treats. She started out being highly berzerk and freakishly obsessed with sniffing every single inch of ground she could put her nose to. When she'd get on the scent of another dog who recently passed through the area it would get worse, to the point where she was completely consumed with sniffing ground and totally oblivious to me, the leash, etc…She would turn and lunge in any random direction at any time, to the side, behind us, pull forward, sometimes veer sharply and dart under my legs almost tripping me up while walking. She had laser-focus on sniffing this tiny bit of ground here, then darting over there and sniffing that one, then darting back behind us and sniffing the other, pretty much only breaking it up to try to play with strangers and other dogs.

    We're still working on it all and it's getting better day by day. But here's what I have found:

    1) Many dogs slip into a mindset where they think a tight leash means everything is OK and a loose leash is a problem. It's unknowingly caused by the way most owners use the leash. The dog's first experiences with it can shape how they percieve it for much of their adult life. If the dog is introduced to the leash walk incorrectly it creates bad habits that can be hard to fix, as you see. If they start out pulling, and the handler allows the tension to stay there by just restraining the dog without doing something to get back to a loose leash condition, a loose leash becomes the norm for the dog and they learn how to live with it. So lesson number one is the correction, whatever it may be, whether it's changing direction, making the dog stop and sit, or simply giving a quick pop of the leash, must come THE SECOND there is tension in the leash. It must be firm and decisive and there must be a reaction of some sort on your part EVERY SINGLE TIME the slack goes out of the leash without exception. Once the dog has acknowledged the correction, THE REWARD for no longer pulling must be to get back to a loose leash condition so that they feel more comfortable. And then to stay there as often as possible. Our goal is to create a situation where the leash is loose way more often than it's tight, then build on that.

    2) Be CONSISTENT and PERSISTENT. Some dogs take longer to pick up on this than others and not using a prong can make teaching proper leash walk skills a long, protracted work in progress. But it's still doable with any dog. What will often happen is you will slack off in your training, give up, and start letting the dog pull again when you don't see quick results that everybody tells you you will when they suggest the technique. DO NOT GIVE UP. You can try stopping and starting, changing direction, or any number of different walking exercises. Mix them together. You might look wierd, but zig zag down a quiet street some time. Down one way, cross, back in the opposite direction. Stop, turn around, backtrack, etc…The important thing is forward motion stops EVERY SINGLE TIME the dog puts tension in the leash, and then you re-set in a good heel position with a loose leash before going again.

    I throw in 'look-at-me' drills too, often while doing all these other things. We started by teaching the dog to make eye contact every time I said it and rewarding her with a treat while in the quiet of the living room. Then we moved outside, and she has to respond when humans and other dogs pass. If she doesn't respond the first time, she gets a sharp leash correction then gets the treat and tons of praise AS SOON AS she responds to the correction and gives me the eye contact she knows I wanted. But I only introduced the correction after I knew she understood what I was saying every time I said 'Look at me." Then I may also have a toy, and we may stop and play for a minute or two before moving on. This helps because there are also attention issues in this situation: The dog has not found it sufficiently rewarding to focus on you during the walk. A dog that won't focus its attention on the handler can't properly follow, and a dog that can't follow can't maintain a slack leash. A good part of this is making yourself more interesting to your dog than anything else going on during the walk and making it a conditioned reflex for her to redirect her attention to you when you ask for it. I find it's way easier than simply playing tug-of-war with her for the whole hour.

  2. Bailey Adams says:

    You'll want to start off slow. Attach his collar and leash to him and let it hang loosely. Reward him for not panicking with the leash on.
    Following this grab his leash and practice walking him back and forth across the room, giving him a treat each time he isn't pulling. Then move outside to your yard. Once again practice walking around the yard, rewarding him for good behavior. If he does well take him to the street. If he does well reward him and continue walking. However, if he begins pulling give him a slight tug and stop. As soon as he waits patiently for you reward him.
    The trick to teaching a dog any command is persistence (and treats!). Rather than punish for bad behavior, reward for good behavior.

    Alternatively, you can bring him to obedience training and over the course of a few classes your dog will learn the command heel. You'll be taught how to keep him in check.
    Good luck, hopefully you'll have him walking on a leash soon!

  3. Like everything in life, he needs to be paid for being good. Buy yourself a bum bag and fill it full of yummy treats like cheese, sausage, apple anything he likes. Now,with the dog on the left, hold your lead in your right hand and have a treat in your left hand. Let him sniff at the treat, lift it up to waist level and step off. Go a few steps and give him food. If he surges ahead, change direction, rapidly. Allow him to feel the lead go tight and encourage him to come to you. When he catches up, stop and give him another treat.

    You are not going to get a quick fix on this. You need to practice, practice, practice.

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