Training to heel

Discussion in 'Dog Training: Principle and Practice' started by Darben1976, May 31, 2016.

  1. Darben1976

    Darben1976 Registered Users

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    hi all

    Lottie my parents yellow lab is 17mths and has been with my parents for 2 months now and has settled in well. I asked for advice here about her barking at other dogs on walks and many very helpfully suggested clicker training which has worked really well. She's off the lead too now and coming back soon as she hears clicker and she's not barking anywhere near as much.

    Only problem now is seems with old owner she just went in a car to field let off and driven back so she's not good walking on lead, pulls a lot meaning my mum can't take her as she's not very strong. Can anyone offer tips for getting her to heal? They have bought a gentle leader but yet to try it

    Thanks
     
  2. edzbird

    edzbird Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    The solution to this is simple. Ha ha! "Simply" do not let the dog move forward while it is pulling. Stop, and wait for a slack lead (or alternatively turn 180 degrees and walk back the way you came - for a change). And the key to training this is to NOT BE GOING ANYWHERE. And be consistent. Never allow a taught lead to move forward. Coco was a terrific puller when we got him at 16 months. He is much, much better now. But I spent ages walking up and down the road in front of our house. In new places- we have to start again from scratch.

    We use a harness - Coco had a halti head collar when in rescue and he HATED it. Some like the Happy at Heel harness - we tried this - it's effective, but again you still have to be consistent when the lead goes taught.

    You may get more advice from the more experienced members soon.
     
  3. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I do agree with Sue - by far the best technique is rewards for walking nicely, and not one step forward while the lead is tight. Ever. If you are very consistent with this, then it is very quick. My best tip is to always have the same length of lead, and just work on one single criteria - a loose lead. Don't worry about position, not sniffing etc. for now you can polish it up later once the dog stops pulling. Put your hand in the same position, loosely held against your body, and stop your feet when your hand moves. Just this one thing - your hand moves with tension on the lead, you stop your feet. This keeps you very consistent, and the dog gets the idea in no time - she only moves forward when there is no tension on the lead. But you've got to always do it, without fail.

    I personally do not like devices which mechanically (or by applying an aversive) stop a dog pulling. I think they remove choice from a dog, and basically make the dog submit, and some change the gait of of the dog which I think is harmful for their health. I think this is why so many dogs seem to look absolutely miserable in them, so best avoided in my view. Much better to bite the bullet, and do the training.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
  4. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Me, yes. Hubby...umm..... :facepalm:
     
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  5. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Tip number #2. Don't let your husband train the dog. :)
     
  6. Pilatelover

    Pilatelover Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I don't have anything to add as you have been offered excellent advice. I had exactly the same problem with my girl and followed the advice given a while back, we still have to proof walking on a loose in brand new locations but now sometimes the lead is so loose I have to check she is on the other end. Remain consistent, persevere and you'll get there :)
     
  7. edzbird

    edzbird Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Luckily, Coco is able to differentiate between me and OH - he allows pulling most of the time, I do NOT. I must admit though, we still haven't nailed it, we still have lots of stop/start - down to OH's inconsistency I would think, but we can get to a destination now.
     
  8. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    You're so right, Sue, and I'm very glad that my two see me as part of the overall cue! I've worked really hard on walking to heel with them both using the tips above, and they walk beautifully with me now. They started off walking nicely with J, too, but they've learnt that his criteria are different to mine, so they walk out ahead a lot more in their own little worlds, will pull a short distance towards good smells etc. I'm sure if he had reinforced the same things as me, it would have sped up the process, but we all know that training dogs is a lot easier than training our humans :)
     
  9. Darben1976

    Darben1976 Registered Users

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    Thanks ve

    Thanks very much all - I'll pass this info on and hopefully some consistency will stop her pulling so much
     
  10. Xena Dog Princess

    Xena Dog Princess Registered Users

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    This is fabulous advice! My question is, say the pup stops pulling and sits when it realises you're not going anywhere. Is this what you reward? Pippa says to reward once the dog returns to your side, but are you saying to reward once the lead is slack, even if the pup is 1 metre in front of you? Do you c/t the slack?
     
  11. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I don't use a clicker and treats for loose lead. I use a clicker and treats for heel (or walk by my side) because I can reward something quite precise - a position at my side. But when I'm just working on the single criteria of loose lead, and not position, I just stop if the lead has tension in it and that's it. Once my dog got that, I upped the criteria to at my side.
     
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  12. Xena Dog Princess

    Xena Dog Princess Registered Users

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    Is that what you call "shaping", gradually increasing your expectations? Stopping my feet when my hand moves away from my body is such a helpful approach, and it's such an easy event for me to mark. I've put so much pressure on myself and it's completely unrealistic, so going in with the attitude of "it doesn't have to be perfect immediately, it just has to be loose" is a great place to start. I've already taken her for a spin in the garden, but I think I'd make faster progress on an empty carpark or tennis court. My garden is just full of birds and chicken poo and smells.
     
  13. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    It's not really shaping as I describe it above, but I did shape walk alongside me - off lead, and put that on cue, then added a lead. I hold the lead very differently when I expect a dog to walk alongside me, and that became part of my cue. I actually hold the lead in my right hand when I want Charlie to walk 'properly' with the lead loose across the front of my legs. If he is on a loose lead (which still means do whatever you want but don't pull) I hold just the end in my left hand.
     

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