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Advice on lead training?

Discussion in 'General Dog Forum' started by Elle T, May 17, 2018.

  1. Elle T

    Elle T New Member Registered

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    My little mix breed pup Rosie is having trouble walking on a lead. We live in private housing so I've been trying to walk her down the security of our driveway to try and get her used to walking (she can't go on actual walks yet) but she hates the lead. She will sit down and refuse to move, I try and encourage her with treats but this hasn't worked. Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Thank you
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    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2018
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  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Most puppies are like this at first so don't worry.

    First thing is I would say is that I don't really like leads attached to collars. If a dog gets a tug at the neck, it can cause damage to their trachea, so I prefer a harness. And definitely a harness if using a flexi lead or long line, because when the dog is running out, they don't know when they will reach the end of the flexi so the sudden jerk can do damage.

    You can get her accustomed to a lead by having something light like a ribbon or piece of light rope attached to her collar or harness while she potters around the house and garden by herself, just to get used to the feel of it. Just make sure it can't catch on anything.

    Then just more of what you have been doing - encouraging her to keep walking. You can try walking backwards and getting her to come towards you for lovely praise and rewards, and progress from that to you walking sideways then forwards while encouraging forward steps towards you.

    Remember the world outside is scary for a little puppy so it is understandable that she is wary. If you haven't already done so, I strongly recommend taking her out now in a carrier or in your arms or tucked into your jacket so she can start to see the outside world from a safe place to help build her confidence. As long as she doesn't touch the ground she will be perfectly safe. Even on the ground, the risk to puppies is from unvaccinated dogs and the urine and faeces of rats so the risk is very low anyway.
     
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  3. Elle T

    Elle T New Member Registered

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    She has a nice comfortable harness so no risk of choking. We have been carrying her around our village everyday to socialise. We will try attaching a piece of lace to her harness around the house for her to get used to. Thank you
     
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  4. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    .

    put the lead on the floor - near her food-bowl, but not TOO close; the leash can be on the far side of the bowl, with the pup on the near side, to begin the exercise. / Drop individual tidbits [kibble, a lean bit of beef, a kibble, a tiny piece of cheese, a kibble, a niblet of canned tuna...] into the bowl - she needs to retreat to let U put another bit in, & as she gets braver, move the leash closer ===> to the bowl.
    If she doesn't eat dog kibble, use a single piece of meat-based dry cat food as the 'kibble', & choose a well-made cat-food with a meat that she already eats in her usual diet as the primary protein. // Dry cat-food in sample-sized bags can often be had at a pet-supply shop. // If the cat-food is X shaped, U can even break it into 4 pieces, & give them individually.
    Each tidbit, whether fresh, freeze-dried, or canned / dry, is no larger than a pea, & half-pea sized is fine - it's quality, not quantity, & repeated exposures which ask HER to approach the leash, voluntarily, & reward her for each approach.

    Now, she's pretty comfy - it's within 6-inches of the bowl... it's lying BENEATH the bowl... it's laid ACROSS the bowl.
    Each time U up the ante, be sure she's OK with the new arrangement, & do each "intensity" at least 3 or 4X before advancing to the next level.

    finally, pick up the leash, & let her come to U as U hold the leash-clip in the other hand - DO NOT call her, simply offer a tidbit with one open hand, whilst holding the leash immobile in the other. This is not a mean trick! - U aren't to snag her & put it on, this is getting her confident around the leash.
    Bring the clip & leash closer as she gets comfy; praise her quietly, warmly, & sincerely, in a low-pitched tone, each time she comes over, as she eats her tidbit [associating the praise with food, making 'praise' a Good Thing].

    Last phase, hold the clip up with the leash trailing - hold a tidbit in the other hand, visible. The tidbit hand is closer to the pup; she approaches, touch her with the clip lightly IN A SAFE PLACE where she can see U coming & will not be startled - immediately give the tidbit, praise her warmly & quietly. // Repeat, moving the clip to different places on her body, each time touching with the clip in one hand & immediately offering the tidbit with the other.
    Start touching places she can't see yer hand / the clip - give a JACKPOT for the 1st time she's touched in a spot where she cannot see the clip / hand approaching, & take a break for at least 10-minutes, or even let her nap B4 resuming, or wait overnite & start again next morning.
    [see 'latent learning' for the reason that sleep between sessions of new skills is so helpful]

    Next time, she should react with joy when she sees the leash - ooh, tidbits!... :D
    Now, reward her only if she stands to let U touch her TWICE in quick succession, lightly - & now, finally, U clip the leash onto her collar, & have her wear it. Do not pick it up; don't guide her, don't touch it. She wears it as long as U are at home to supervise & be sure she's safe. // Ignore fussing, reward any happy or oblivious activity - she takes a single step? Praise / click! / treat. She drags it down the hall? Praise / click! / treat. Etc.
    When U leave the house, or if U go to a different floor than where she is & leave her behind, take it off, just in case she might get caught.

    Within a day or 2, she will be ignoring the leash that follows her. // NOW, pick it up & let HER take U where she'd like to go, within the house - toss a treat or toy ahead of her, & have her pursue it as U follow.
    U can see where this is going, i'm sure - next step will be opening the door & tossing something out for her to pursue...

    And so on. :)

    - terry

    PS - I'd read Dr Anderson's open letter to his veterinary colleagues [& to owners] about the need to get pups out on leash earlier, socializing & habituating them B4 12-WO. // 3-MO is the end of the primary socialization period, & by delaying, U miss the time when pups learn fastest & easiest.
    His letter is posted elsewhere on the Forum. :)

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  5. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    Welcome,

    Rosie is so cute. I will run through some strategies on lead training.

    It takes time! Lots of time and patience is needed for lead training puppies and dogs. It is not fair to correct a puppy for something they don’t know.

    Start by buying a light weight collar. You can buy a light weight lead too, so then you can get Rosie used to wearing it indoors then venturing outside.

    To introducing the collar/harness make it very positive. So put on the collar straight on after a treat. Then try building up time with the harness/collar being on.

    First of all, clip on the lead and give her a treat while you put it on if need be. The minute the lead is on, just use the treats to lure him beside you so that he gets used to walking with the lead and with the collar attached. As well as using treats you can also make good use of toys - especially if your dog has a favorite one - to do exactly the same thing: walk around the house with the lead on and lure him with the toy.

    The most important thing is to never pull on the lead. If it is ever tight just lure him beside you with a treat or a toy while walking. All you're doing is getting him to moving around beside you with the lead and collar on. Remember to keep your hand down (the one holding the treat or toy) so your puppy doesn't get the habit of jumping up at you. That helps your puppy learn that he can move around with a collar and lead on and that the lead is never something that he's going to pull on.

    If you feel that your puppy is getting stressed when walking with a lead outside try putting treats along the route you'll be taking to turn this into a rewarding game: good times are ahead. That way he learns to focus on what's ahead of him with curiosity and not fear.

    For more information and advice, you can find a puppy foundation course with the Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme.

    EDIT:Collar & Lead Training Your Puppy: Tips & Techniques
    Sorry @JudyN i always forget.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  6. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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  7. Nanny71

    Nanny71 Well-Known Member Registered

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    I don't understand the whole thing about collars. Dudley has had harnesses but they rub under his front legs, I even had a soft one made to measure. He also gets them off by stopping and backing up. He walks well with a collar, he is not a puller although I have to be alert to stop him chasing after cats so he doesn't jerk the collar himself.
    He wears a safety harness to secure him in the car
     
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  8. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    @Nanny71 Olive also can get out of harnesses but we taught her by if she escapes she doesn't get a treat.
     
  9. Nanny71

    Nanny71 Well-Known Member Registered

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    He can also get out of collars but he rarely does that. When he removes whatever he is wearing he never runs off. Just looks at me and seems pleased with himself.
     
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  10. Caro Perry

    Caro Perry Well-Known Member Registered

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    We started Harri practising with his lead up and down the sitting room. Having a tasty treat in my hand helped a lot too ( even if my back complained at the angle I had to walk at to keep the treat at his nose level!).
     
  11. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    QUOTE, Nanny71:

    I don't understand the whole thing about collars.
    Dudley has had harnesses, but they rub under his front legs, I even had a soft one made to measure.
    He also gets them off by stopping and backing up.
    He walks well with a collar, he's not a puller -- although I [must stay] alert to stop him chasing after cats, so he doesn't [stop with a self-imposed] jerk [on his] collar.
    He wears a safety harness to secure him in the car.

    ______________________________________-
    .

    If the harness rubs behind Dudley's elbow, in the delicate "armpit" area where there's little hair & skin is thin, then IME either the design puts the girth too-close to his upper-arm / elbow, or the girth itself is too loosely adjusted.
    I'd move the girth strap back as far as the design allows, then I'd fit it snug & smooth all the way around - no "finger under the strap" hooey, i do mean SNUG, as U would wear a watchband, or a properly-buckled belt on a pair of tailored pants.
    The girth should fit snugly-enuf so that when U put 2 hands on the near side of the harness, 1 on the girth & the other on the shoulder strap, & TUG toward U, the harness barely moves - an inch or so, no more; it doesn't slither around so that the shoulder strap slips completely over the shoulder & down to the elbow!!

    If he escapes from his custom-made harness [U didn't specify that one] & he was accurately measured for said harness, there are only 2 possibilities:
    - it's not adjusted properly, & it's too loose, or
    - he's part cat, & can wriggle his shoulders in ways that normal dogs cannot. ;)
    I doubt #2 - he appears to be a normal dog, anatomically.

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    QUOTE, Nanny71:

    Dudley can also get out of collars, but he rarely does that.
    When he removes whatever he [was] wearing, he never runs off. Just looks at me, & seems pleased with himself.

    __________________________________
    .

    If he escapes from collars, most-likely by using the same "back-up & slide out" method as he does with harnesses, again, the odds are good that the collars are too loosely-fitted; dogs other than sighthounds have backskulls that are significantly wider than the junction of neck & skull, & a properly-adjusted collar won't go past the backskull to let the dog reverse out.

    I know that U say he doesn't run off once he escapes, but the odds are overwhelming that ONE of these times, he will take off - when he's startled, or dreading an anticipated event, or unexpectedly unwilling to go along - & bad things can happen to free-roaming dogs. :( Cars are a real hazard, as are nasty ppl, kids who chase dogs [with a misplaced sense of 'fun', or with malicious intentions], hunger, overheating / thirst, poisons [antifreeze invisible in a puddle; a rat killed by warfarin who classically dies in the open, searching for water...]

    If he was mine, for my peace of mind i'd get a sighthound-style martingale collar, & adjust it so that it sits high & flat - no loop of slack in the smaller running-loop, but lying flat to his neck, without a leash attached.
    I'd also choose a width that is slightly wider than his own cervical vertebrae, so that the collar cannot possibly pinch or constrict over his spine, but the pressure is spread over a broad area, on the muscular surface of the neck, not on the deeper structures.
    It's hard to tell from the small avatar-pic, i'm guessing Dudley weighs under 30#?... if so, a 1.25-inch wide martingale is fine, & an inch-&-a-half is also excellent. // I've used those widths to control wildly-pulling or even sailfish-leaping untrained teenaged dogs, during B-Mod, & they were very comfortable wearing them. :)

    - terry

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