Lead walking difficulties - from the dog's point of view!

Discussion in 'Labrador Training' started by JulieT, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. Boogie

    Boogie Registered Users

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    Absolutely - if Tatze were ever on 'lead only' walks for whatever reason she'd be allowed to sniff - I don't think that would take any training ;)


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  2. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    So, if the dog is going to be allowed to sniff, and yet reducing the expectation/anticipation that they can access the environment is key to quickly training lead walking, what's the best way to do it?

    One problem I rapidly had with Betsy is because to sniff/access was the reinforcer she wanted the most, more than treats, was she would lunge forward on a click! Taking the click as the release! I would have to stop her, and give her a treat. Which just felt so counter productive!

    Although I have had more general problems with Betsy and responding to the click, so perhaps this isn't a normal problem. It didn't happen with Charlie.
     
  3. Boogie

    Boogie Registered Users

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    I think I would expect a few minutes non sniffing then have the sniffing time as the reward. But by 'expect' I mean short lead, lots of focus on me type walking, like I do with the pups, then a 'gooood girl, go sniff'.

    Would that help?
     
  4. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    I struggle with the short lead thing, to be honest. I think if a pup had always been walked on a short lead, and the expectation had been set that there is no sniffing, no access, I think it's better.

    With a dog that is trying to sniff or access, because they have the expectation they might be allowed to and 'go sniff' is not yet reliably on cue, the short lead can turn into a constantly very tight lead far too easily.
     
  5. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    And the short lead does remove choice completely.

    It's also impossible to prevent access to the environment if you use a back fastening harness - you can have the lead as short as you like, it won't prevent the pup from putting his/her head down. This might be a good thing though, in positive training terms. But it draws out the time it takes to train lead walking by a significant amount.
     
  6. FoxyLady

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    following with interest for all/any ideas !! - But I also really want off lead heelwork (so the lead becomes irrelevant) - Does having a short tight lead help with this? I did lots of clicker "choose to heel" off lead in boring places - which works nicely in boring places!! but in the real world - sigh. I'm doing "join the dots" - ie walking from one cone a few steps to another cone and then a few steps to another cone which is helping, although putting cones everywhere is a bit tedious. I'm doing a bit of letting her have some free run time and then calling her back and doing some heelwork over ground she has already had a sniff over. But progress is slow and "nose glue" takes over in exciting areas.
     
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  7. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    I had a lot of success using a steadiness fob today with Betsy. I don't want to use a short lead in areas where she can't cope - so I do not want to walk along with a puppy on a short lead, with the puppy choking itself to put its nose down.

    I know this isn't Mag's experience, by the way, and she won't be doing this - but my puppy has a different expectation from Mag's puppies. Betsy expects to be allowed to access the environment.

    The reason the steadiness fob helped me is because I picked it up, said 'close' and got 5 steps (or 10, 20, 30 whatever I thought she could do), then said 'go free' and just let the fob slide from my hand. This just stopped Betsy from breaking a heel because I'd asked for too much (obvs by mistake) and allowed me to get my release cue in. Plus, because it was so much easier than putting on a lead every time, I found I did it more often through the session.
     
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  8. FoxyLady

    FoxyLady Registered Users

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    had to quickly google what a steadiness fob was (and found one of your earlier posts - thanks!) - yes short bursts of heelwork and then a break with a kindof tag lead to grab justin case. I do want to make it fun - it is a big ask for young lively dogs
     
  9. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    It is, for sure!

    I got two fobs from Helen - I haven't used them before, because I was convinced my dogs would hate them flapping about, but they didn't at all.

    Edited to add: I'd tried with much lighter stuff, but Charlie broke it, or it killed my hand. The ones I have now are paracord. Strong, thick, but very light.
     
  10. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Can I ask what a steadiness fob is? Thanks :)
     
  11. JulieT

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    It's just a cord that attaches to the collar. The idea is that exercises that require steadiness are assisted by you holding the cord and giving a release cue without the dog being conscious you are holding the cord. The dog only feels the cord if it breaks before you say your cue.

    So, for example, if you ask a dog to sit and wait for a retrieve but put their lead on, they will often break when you take the lead off - you don't want this because the lead coming off becomes the cue for them to break. With a cord you can just hold it with no tension and say 'fetch' and just release your grip on the cord - the cord goes with the dog. So the dog doesn't really associate the cord or you holding something as the cue to be steady.

    I hadn't found a good thing to use. I'd tried with baling twine before - it was fab and light but if Charlie pulled forwards, it cut my hand. And it broke once. Probably means I hadn't really made enough progress to be relying on a steadiness fob.

    The ones I have now are paracord. They were a bit too long for Shortie Betsy so I had to tie a knot in it. :rolleyes:
     
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  12. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Thanks for explaining Julie, that's an interesting and successful way of training steadiness :)
     
  13. jessieboo

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    At puppy classes we were trained to stream feed treats to encourage a nice lead walk, so at least I guess the reward goes some way to make up for the slow boring walking!? Although to be honest, I have used a mix of treats AND stopping dead to encourage good loose lead walking. Now she's over a year old I tend to stop dead if she forgets herself on a familiar walk. Then go back to stream feeding treats when we are somewhere new.
     
  14. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    I watched a video of a Hungarian Vizsla pup on it's lead training, the pup was on a loose slip lead, he trotted slightly behind the owner on the pavement with lots of traffic, the pup never stopped or sniffed, or pulled on the lead, they kept up a brisk pace, there was also no interaction from the owner either. A short clip then of them on a footpath off lead, again the puppy was behind the owner, no stopping, sniffing or interaction apart from going through a clanky metal gate where the pup was praised, had an ear scratch and head rub but that was it. :)
     
  15. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    I think having a tight lead is absolutely counterproductive to teaching them to walk nicely on a loose lead - what you're reinforcing is the pressure on the lead, whereas you want to teach the dog to yield to pressure; that is, when they reach the end of the lead, they move away from it again to make the lead loose, rather than pulling against it.

    I found my off lead heelwork moved on far faster than my on-lead, because I find it easier to be more exciting with the rewards; it's easier to throw a ball (or even a treat) when the dog is off-lead. Throw the treat away, and then treat heavily when he comes back to your side - last treat gets thrown away again etc. It keeps the fun element far higher than I find it easy to do on lead. It's still no standard to speak of, don't get me wrong, and not proofed against any real distractions, but it's coming on :)
     
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  16. JulieT

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    Streaming treats is just a lure, I think. Which is fine, really fine. I think it's a good thing to do. It's better to call it what it is though, so you can fade it like you would a lure. And personally, I think you may as well just lure. It's less effort. :D
     
  17. Boogie

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    We are taught not to lure for walking as the dog may decide only to walk when the lure is there. Treats come during or after a good walk, but not predictably.


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  18. JulieT

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    It's just not true that you can't switch from luring to reinforcing - the lure becoming part of the cue would only happen if you didn't fade the lure fast enough.
     
  19. JulieT

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    So I've now settled on what I think is the best system - for Betsy. I do not think it would work for all young dogs, it would not have worked with Charlie.

    Betsy has two leads - her normal Halti training lead, and a short cord (a so called steadiness fob). If she can't walk and keep her head up and I'm not in a position to walk over the same ground until she can, I pick up the cord. She has rapidly learned that she can't put her head down when I do this, so she doesn't - but I'm not kidding myself that this was trained in any other way than just stopping her with the cord and I'm not all that thrilled with this, but it has been very fast, which was one of my objectives and it massively reduces pulling because the dog is not engrossed in the ground. Then I quietly drop the cord to leave her walking on her 1m halti.

    Then, I'm stopping for a go-sniff, and using the 'click for sniff', moving to click for turning away from the sniff, etc.

    When we get to an off lead area, I pick up her cord and keep walking on lead, but take off her Halti lead. Then she is walking on her fob, then I drop that. And pick it up before I think she will leave, and make sure I get my release in. Then I continue to do several short sessions on the fob around smells. At the end, she goes back on both leads and (this is where I can't walk over the same ground because I need to get back to the car or house!) and I do as for the first bit.

    I still lure her a lot when she is just not going to cope, and I click for the right position with no tension at all on the fob, and the same position if I've dropped the fob.
     
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  20. Joy

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    I'm interested to know why you chose the halti training lead and how you use it as I know you wouldn't use a headcollar. How is the halti lead better than any ordinary lead? (I don't need it for Molly but want to build up a repertoire of methods to suggest to the people I'm going to be training in the new year).
     

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