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Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by fowl farm, Oct 15, 2012.
Hey, I need some tips on leash training two 12 week old Border Collie mixes!
There are different ways to do it. One is to just ignore the poor things and drag them along until they get it, but that isn't very nice. It's just how my parents did it when I was a kid and all our dogs did eventually learn how to walk on a leash.
But the basic philosophy is that the leash is a secondary form of control. You want the dog to walk calmly at your side and for the leash to really just be there in case an irresistable t-bone steak goes flying by or something.
We start by hooking the leash on and letting them drag it while we walk around with tasty treats or favorite toys or whatever it is that motivates them. We use that to keep them inside that leash zone even though they're just dragging the leash. After we're able to walk around and keep their attention, we pick up the leash and just keep doing it. Over time, the rewards lessen. I've heard of trainers getting those little fanny pack things full of dog treats and they just periodically drop one while walking so the dog learns that right by your side is the best place to be.
*Disclaimer: We live out in the country and about the only time our dogs need to be on a leash is to go to the vet. One is trained very well, one thinks he's a sled dog because I haven't worked with him enough yet and one has never had a leash put on him because he has an issue with his neck so I always just carry him into the vet.
This will be a handy thread. I have a Dachshund who will not walk on a leash at all. Not for treats, not for toys, not for anyone or anything! Lol. We tried just dragging him around on the leash, but it is not efficient.
I'm actually not great with leash training but, I've learned two things:
1) The correction with the leash is kind of like quick, mildly intense, cracking of a whip. It's just meant to get the dogs attention. Yanking or pulling the dog doesn't teach them much.
2) When the dog pulls, you stop dead in your tracks. You then wait for the dog to look back at you as if asking why are we stopping. When he does this, you praise and treat him.
OK a couple of other things that I remembered.
3) If you have one of those retractable leashes ... throw it away. They are a sure way to end up with a bad walker.
4) In order to not be pulled down the street by the dog, here's a tip. Don't try to control the dog with just your arms. You need to use your entire body and move with your center of gravity. Sorry for the Aikido analogy but, it’s true. As the dog starts to lunge at something, keep your arms a short distance from you, bend your knees a little to sink and "center" yourself. If you concentrate on your center, the dog will hit the end of the leash as if he hit a brick wall (your center of mass).
5) Treats, treats, treats and praise. As with all training, praise the dog and slip him treats whenever he's walk with a slacked leash. I use a small treat, actually their dog food kibble, to not disturb the forward motion too much.
One other thing we did with a dog that was young and just all over the place: We would walk and just abruptly change direction, letting her snap at the end and get pulled back. A few times of that and she started keeping one eye on us at least.
I trained my Border collie to walk well on the lead by stopping as soon as the lead went tight, not only did i stop but I made her come back to loosen the lead, that way she was having to loosen the lead not me! In training like this I can also use it in conjunction with any length of lead, we use a flexi on holidays and she does not pull, so in effect I have not trained her to heal I have trained her to walk on a loose lead regardless of it's length, it worked for us
Here are some of my own personal things I found helped me.
If the dog will not walk at all with the leash on here is what to do:
Attach the leash to the dog in your house and leave it on a few hours. Eventually the dog will start walking around dragging the leash behind it.
Then you can pick up the end and follow the dog about.
Get someone to call it to them and you just follow it holding the lead. Get the person to give the dog a treat when it comes.
Eventually after a few days of this kind of stuff you will be about to gently lead the dog about without it freezing to the spot as it will be used to the feeling of the leash.
Then you can go outside to practice.
If the dog is pulling the best thing to do is you be the one in control. That means you should do the following:
Ignore the dog and keep walking. Keep changing directions suddenly and walking off, keep changing directions and also just push you dog quickly out of the way when you want to turn the way it is. Go around things, through things, under things!
During this time you might push the dog with you knee when you turn, or nearly step on a paw. The dog will soon learn to keep an eye on you and follow you rather than thinking its the one leading you.
The best thing I did was tie my dog leash to my bike. Then cycle about with it. The dog got more exorcise that way. Also I did run over its paw by accident) once when it tried to get in front of the bike. After that I learned to follow nicely at the bikes side.
I would always train a dog in a positive manner wherever possible, in my experience if you start pulling and pushing and hurting all you will end up with is a nervous dog that spends it's time worrying about whats going to happen next rather than walking calmly and relaxed on the end of the lead, there is nothing wrong with changing direction suddenly to make the dog concentrate but otherwise it should be reward based so the dog wants to please you, it is worth the effort
We all have our different methods, and different things work with different dogs.
My first dog (a terrier) was a very resistant to any training and was not interested in any treats, he just wanted to run and hunt. I tried the reward, but he was not food orientated at all. So I tried a harness, but he just walked on his 2 back legs. I did the direction changing thing, but he just pulled any direction I went.
Then I tried a choke chain, but he just would pull so hard his tongue would turn blue. Finally I got a head harness, and that worked for a few days, until he realised if he made his neck really straight and looked straight ahead he could still pull!!!!!
Finally one day he suddenly pulled me and I fell over. I got up and started walking again and he was lurching all over the place.....I had just been shopping and had a magazine in my coat pocket and I gave him one sudden whack with it. You know what?, after that day he never pulled again and walked perfect to heal.
My new dog is a different breed (poodle cross) and she has never pulled on the lead and I did not even have to train her at all. She is very food orientated and very easy to train - totally different from my first dog.
I got both dogs as puppies from good breeders and the difference in personalities is amazing. I had so many problems with training my first dog, I had to get a professional dog trainer to work with him. He would bolt as soon as let off the lead and run off into the distance. He would never come home, I just would get a call from someone saying they found my dog. Even the trainer could not stop him after extensive training using rewards, long lines, training every day at home in the garden and house.
I'm glad you saw for yourself that a choke chain is not a solution... It does what it says on the tin CHOKES Yes, I agree there are so many different characters in the dog breeds and rewards do not always work but patience and understanding often do, terriers are probably one of the most tricky dogs to work with, I think if you take on a terrier you definately have to have a sense of humour, although they are not all little monsters