Dog Leash Training – Working it in the Real World

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,898
    Pet Expert Leigh Siefried discusses working it in the real world.

    Leigh Siegfried: Hi, I am Leigh Siegfried with Opportunities Barks Behavior and Training. Today we are talking about how to teach your dog to walk politely on a loose leash. Now we are going to take a look at working all those skills that we had just discussed and take those out to the real world. One to being to get outside to there real world, you may feel like everything we just worked on completely falls apart. Well, here's the deal, you have all sorts of distractions that you are completing with, birds, may be cars going by, lots of smell and lots of things they sniff on the sidewalk or in the grass, it's okay. What I would recommend is first just anchor your dog and do a little bit of work. By anchoring I mean, step on your leash, hold your leash, and work a little bit of eye contact, or work a little bit on name recognition. Get your dog tuned into you. In fact you can do this in your home before you even venture out for a walk as I find, it makes a big difference to just have the dog understand that they are actually working with you not just pulling you around. Like the rules have definitely changed. Remember, use really, really, really good food, bits of cheese, little bits of hot dogs.

    Practice teaching your dog to walk on loose leash in really short sessions. So, you may want to let them sniff when you get out there, then get them into working position. And remember, when you begin to work your dog in a heal position or just in a position where they are beside, you were not pulling as much. Feel free to begin to call it something, you can call it heal, you can call it with me, or walk with me, what ever feels most natural to you. You can begin to name this and reward as you are walking. To keep it really simple, you can just call it, here, which is what we were calling at, we were calling at when our dogs are touching your hands. Here generally means, comeback to me and touch my hand, which should be greatest or out forging ahead of anyway you anyway. If you feel you have got a lot of distraction and your dog is completely not focussed on you, just back it up a little bit, begin to work on eye contact before you worry about taking your dog for a long walk.

    The other thing we are just going to take a look at in terms of setting yourself up for success is your own setup. I would recommend, if you want your dog on your left side, that what you actually do is to have your leash in your right hand and your treat pouch or your empty hands or the dispense food should be on your left side as well. So, what I am trying to say is that, if you want your dog on your right hand side, your right hand should be free to just dispense food and your left hand should be holding the leash. If you want your dog on the left side, your right hand should be holding the leash. The leash will actually cross your body and then the dog will be on your left side and the left hand is free to either teach the dog to touch and target or to treat the dog when the dog is in the correct position.

    Remember to praise and reward your dog when they are doing the right thing and if you feel like you are off to a bad start or just the dog is not working with you at all, give the dog a break, give yourself a break. If you are working with your hand and you are anxiously frustrated and the dog is out of control, you are not going to be any of, better off. Just go for a walk, let the dog sniff. If you have got end type pulling equipment, you will probably be significantly reduce pulling and then you would comeback and work with dog when you have better circumstances.

    Remember that walking your dog on leash doesn't have to be a battle of wills. if you are frustrated, the dog will undoubtedly be frustrated. If you are pulling a lot on the leash, if you are yelling at your dog, nothing is going to change or alter in your relationship. Take a step back, take a deep breath. Remember, your dogs do not come programmed, knowing how to walk beside you. It's really quite a myth that it's just a natural and normal behavior for them. Remember it's a trick as much anything else and it takes time to train your dog to do this. And a lot of it really is dependent upon having a pretty good relationship with your animal. I mean, if they can look to you to trust that you are making good decisions for them, they will more or likely be willing to sort of tune into you and walk with you.

    Remember to practice in short sessions. I don't expect any dog out for a 20 minute walk to be healing for twenty straight minutes when they are first learning these skills. Remember the pulling is a normal response to be on leash, tension around the collar creates opposition reflex so your dog will pull. If you have sled dog run in the a dowel rod, they have a harness and clips on their back, they lower the center of gravity and they are pulling quite a bit away. Remember, the right equipment can make a big difference. Work in short sessions and equip while you are ahead and then you may want to just punch away your working sessions with a play in between. If you dog likes a tug, if your dog likes loves play a fetch, if your dog likes belly scratches or whatever, give your dog a break, relax, take a breath or you want to make training as fun as possible for them. Have both of you have a good time. It will ideally enrich your relationship all around.

    So, I really hope that this video has been helpful and giving as in tips to teach your dog walk politely on a leash and have fun training in the real world.