The Premise of the Magical Dog Leash

  • Pin It

  • Pin It

We Should all Look so Cool While Walking our Dogs!

There is no such thing as a magical leash, unfortunately.  You cannot simply hook your dog or your puppy up to a leash and expect miracles to happen.  My life would be a lot easier and more profitable if there were such an attachment.

I think when people get a dog they want to slap a leash on and go for a walk, but instead there begins a tug of war usually with the dog winning; and the person and the dog end up totally frustrated and truly unsatisfied with the whole experience.

The problem is that we, as dog owners, don’t take the time or don’t understand that we need to TEACH our dogs what we want and what our expectations are for them when they are on a leash.  Thus the need to practice some good leash training techniques.

As I read through comments to a recent article “Weaning Yourself and Your Dog from Compulsion Dog Training Collars”  and I kept finding myself responding by saying “TEACH your dog what you want” I realized maybe people just don’t understand what I mean or how to do it.

So these are going to be very much back to basics articles.

It is my opinion, from what I see, that we expect to have to teach our dogs to sit, lay down, stay and other various commands but what effort do we put into teaching them about their leashes and what our expectations of them are while they are on it? 

Often people take their dog out for a walk with a specific destination in mind, their dog pulls, then they slap on a training collar (choke chain, pinch collar etc.) and they see a brief improvement so they think they are “training” their dog; only to find out that in a few days or weeks that their dog hasn’t actually learned anything except possibly how to behave when the collar is strapped on and that is only if they are lucky.  Many dogs just grit through the pain or the choke of it all and plug along as if this was the way walking and being out on a leash was meant to be…  This pulling and choking can cause serious injury to the dog’s trachea and even more grim injury to their relationship with their owner.

I am here to tell you, this is not how this should or has to go if you want an obedient and reliable dog.

You wouldn’t toss a book into your child’s crib and expect him to learn how to read with no instruction would you?

Learning how to act and react on a leash is just as important to you and your dog’s life and development as learning how to read is for your child!  He will rely on this foundation for his whole lifetime, or he will be banished to the house and a life of seclusion and isolation because you can’t take him out.

The Problems

Teach Me What You Want

The first thing to do is to identify the problems with this type of training and the flaws in thinking when it comes to your dog and his ability to be successful.

You Pick up the Leash and have a Destination to Walk to.

You are not taking into account everything your dog needs to learn.

First, you will be unsatisfied if you don’t make it to your destination and chances are, if you have one in mind, you won’t make it there without severe pulling.

Training starts at home inside your home.

Once your dog has learned, inside, some basics you can take him outside you home in your yard when there are little to no distractions.

Again, your dog cannot learn to his maximum ability when there are lots of distractions around and dogs must learn in several environments to be victorious in all environments.

That means you may have to teach him the same thing in the kitchen, in the backyard, in the front yard and out on the street, etc. going back to square one and teaching him in all of these places first!

When I trained Service Dogs for adults and children with disabilities we taught them to retrieve at home first.  THEN we had to take them out in public and go back to square one to TEACH them that the command was the same everywhere.  Were they just being belligerent by not adhering to the same command out in public?  NO!  They had to understand that the command was the same no matter where we were or what was going on!

Think like a dog; you are expecting your dog to ignore all of the neighbors, new smells, neighborhood dogs, and other animals around him and still LEARN what you want.  Not to mention the sounds and everything else that is exciting that might be going on!

Would you take a new dog or a puppy to a dog park and expect to “teach” him to sit or lay down?

Dogs don’t “learn” around these types of distractions.  Teaching your dog to walk on a leash and having a destination in mind is setting your dog and you up for extreme failure and sometimes frustration and anger.

Learning starts at home!

 

OUCH!

You get Frustrated and Slap on a Dog Training Collar

These collars may seem to work at first.  Sure, your dog feels and hears the zip of the choke (or check) chain as it zips up the collar and towards his neck and he feels the discomfort of the choke so he may stop pulling.  Most dogs only stop for a short time but then continue choking themselves until they are almost out of air.

He feels the pinch of the prong collar and it hurts and is uncomfortable so he stops pulling, for a while.  Then when he is ignoring that you are instructed to yank on said pinch collar, YIKES and you are forced to use compulsion!

He feels the pull of the Gentle Leader from behind his head and he stops pulling forward, for a bit.  He might then learn to lower his head and pull with his whole body.

But what have you taught him?

You have taught him nothing, the collar has given him some information about consequences when the collar is on but chances are you haven’t praised him or rewarded him in heel position or given the appropriate information to him so that he knows what you want.  You yank, snap and pull and his neck slowly becomes desensitized to any type of stimulation.

Training collars become a crutch and who needs a crutch when good diligent dog training will give him the information he desires.  Dogs with desensitized necks are harder to work with because they have learned to physically and emotionally check out to pain and stimulation.

I once saw a police dog that had been severely shocked by an electric collar, but he had learned to simply fight through the pain.  No positive reinforcement was used and very little information given.  Eventually, the collar turned up as high as it could go did absolutely nothing to him and he was released from the police department.

His neck was totally physically desensitized and emotionally he turned off while training!  The only hope for him was to totally retrain him with positive reinforcement and slowly begin to teach him to trust emotionally and learn to feel things again physically.

You Must be More Rewarding

Bet this is More Exciting than a Squirrel for Some Dogs!

 

The biggest problem is that you have to be more rewarding and exciting than anything else going on around him.

Squirrel runs past, better hope you are more rewarding and he wants to please you more than he wants to chase that squirrel!

You need to build a strong foundation and often times that is not a quick fix!  A firm foundation in positive reinforcement and learning takes time.  You might have to work for several weeks or more before you can take your dog for a short walk.

Remember the parable about the house that is built upon the sand, and the one built upon the rock.

Think of it this way, if you are relying on training collars and little to no training, praise and fun your foundation will crumble at any given moment.

If, however, you teach your dog what you want at home, then take him outside and teach him more of the same, you have fun together, you are exciting and your dog is listening 95% of the time to all of your commands then your foundation is probably strong enough to weather the storms of a short walk and real life!

These are just a few of the reasons that people are unsuccessful and frustrated when it comes to teaching their dog to listen to them while they are on a leash.

Always try to look at it from your dog’s point of view and dare, if you will to understand how unrealistic your expectations of him have been!

So, now the question is how do you get your dog to listen to you, respect the leash, and enjoy walking together?

Well, that my friends will be in my next article!  Keep your eyes out and I will outline for you some ways to TEACH your dog what you want while he is on a leash!

There are 62 Comments

  1. Arthur Booth MD says:

    Makes perfect sense

    [Reply]

  2. Anita Clerke says:

    I’ll look out for the next instalment and hopefully learn soemthing. I am not a very exciting person. Should I give up my dog now?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    No giving up! Just practice being exciting!

    I had a friend in the Air Force who was head K9 trainer and whenever anyone wanted to work in K9 he made them carry around a stuffed dog and praise it and play with it using excitement and voice and they didn’t get a real dog until they were praising and talking and playing with their stuffed dog!

    If men in the Air Force can learn to be fun, positive, and praise a stuffed animal, you can learn to get a little animated and fun with your dog 😉

    [Reply]

    Dee Reply:

    Beautiful reply!

    [Reply]

  3. han says:

    wrong. harness, not collar rules. Dogs are just angels, they know the wrong causes hurt, throat probs. Man needs to think and act for these angels who are here to teach us love.

    [Reply]

  4. Chris says:

    I read and responded to the choker chain article by Minette, and had, at the time, been considering not using his ‘training collar’ when walking socially. I started and we haven’t looked back. I consider our walk as something for both of us. I like the exercise, as does Achilles. But I do think that he needs the opportunity to smell, sniff around , stop and look at all the animals we meet.
    I also consider that the more familiar he is to the town we live in that (God forbid) if he ever got out/lost he would be able to find his way home again. At home, Achilles is able to loose lead heel in the house and back yard, but is still easily distracted in the big outdoors. We have just successfully passed gr one obedience, and we are moving on to gr two in Feb, so on our walk, we frequently practice his heeling. On his collar I have his treat bag so we’re always prepared for rewards.
    When Achilles pulls (not often) I stop walking and say no pulling, and he stops and sits and then we start again. I will admit that from day one, Achilles, (Australian cattle dog) has had a mind of is own. As we walk, I speak his name, if he looks, he gets a reward. If he looks up at me during our walk any other time, he gets lots of verbal praise too.
    When I first got Achilles, walking was great, he hit adolescence and it became a nightmare, and now at nearly 8 months old, it’s back to being great again.

    [Reply]

    Paul Georgeades Reply:

    My Susie is a Jack Russel Terrier she has a hard time to train me, she has taught me that when we need the lease she gets on a chair so I don,t have to bend over. When I am in the computer room and my wife calls me for dinner she comes in and barks untill I go to dinner. She also barks when its time to go to the bathroom and to let her out. She cleans her plates so clean they hardly need washing.
    The trouble I have is when the door bell rings on the TV she answers by gong to the window and looking out. I would like to teach her how to anser the phone.

    Paul

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Macfarlane Wilson Reply:

    I have a Jack Russell/Wire Hire Terrier mix and I have the same TV door bell problem except Gus won’t stop barking until we actually open the door and let him see for himself that there is no one there. If there is one word for these little terriers it’s tenacious. It’s like,” this is my house and I am personally responsible for this and this and this. It’s just the nature of the breed.

    [Reply]

    Deborah Todd Reply:

    I have two rescue one year old Jack Russell Terrorists. I am a dog trainer and am just recovering from a 10 year illness which still limits my ability to walk. I am traditionally a large dog person..my last dogs were 3 Rotties, a black Lab, a Ridgeback and 1 angelic Golden Retriever. These little guys are giving me a run for my money but then the most difficult dogs have always been my best teachers. Bridging the gap from indoor distraction training to outdoor real life distractions is tough with the JR’s. Their attention span is minimal and once outdoos even Tiffany level food treats or favorite squeaky toys and balls hold no appeal in the presence of ANYTHING moving. I understand that this is prey drive but so far I have not been able to redirect it.

    Minette Reply:

    You need to have the “moving thing” put something squeaky and furry on a string and drag it along in front of them keeping it out of their reach…I bet this will keep them occupied! Use this game as your reinforcer and teach them to ignore the other stuff. YOU should be the most fun thing in their lives!

  5. stephen harman says:

    makes alot of sence to me

    [Reply]

  6. Virginia says:

    Thanks again for all the good information provided by you. I have never used a collar on my dog, but a vest type…harness that looks and feels better. It keeps my dog safe when we walk, usually traveling, for rest stops etc, otherwise she has 29 acres to roam on. We live with a Bostan/Rat terrier we call her a Brat:), We are greatful to find a trainer that shares our ‘ NO HURT’ policy regarding animals.

    [Reply]

  7. jean-pierre guillon says:

    i use a harness where the leash attaches at the front part of my dog chest and when she pulls, she is automatically pulled sideway and backward. Whithin days she stopped pulling and walk to my side as if she had been trained to do so.

    [Reply]

    Merle Ann Reply:

    I also have one of these and I Love it..He just seems to understand what it is meant for…Aren’t they wonderful…(our pets I mean)…:O) Hugs

    [Reply]

    Lori Reply:

    where can I get one? Would really appreciate knowing this as my dog pulls and tried all kinds of ways, going the other way, ect but nothing works. In the house she is fine, but when she knows that she is going to the park or a wooden area that she knows well it’s all over!!
    THanks

    [Reply]

    Brett Reply:

    Lori, Try this next time. Take the dog out of your property and command the dog to heal. As soon as the dog is pulling stop walking. Say bad dog to the dog and continue trying to heal the dog. If the dog fails three times to heal take the dog immediately back to your property and go on the walk you intended to go on without the dog. If the dog heals for a reasonalbe time give it a treat and tell it good dog.
    I have a similar problem and the look on my dogs face when I took it back home and went out for my walk without it was priceless.
    Brett

    [Reply]

    Bill Arnold Reply:

    Sounds too good good to be true. Where can I purchase such an item ?

    [Reply]

    Rachel R Reply:

    PetSmart has those kind of harnesses. It works great!

    [Reply]

  8. Sharon Henson says:

    Bella – 15 mos – a Labradoodle is a loving and wonderful dog. She has a “thing” about squirrels…hates them. She is usually pretty good on the leash and with a reminder of “Heel” and pulling on the leash, she keeps by my side. She loves to walk nose down, smelling all the exquisite smells on the trail which is used by other dog walkers (the Lab in her). However, she gets terribly excited with the squirrel and I have great difficulty in stopping her from pulling and chasing the enemy.
    She will sit and watch the “nice deer”…but squirrels are a challenge. Help! Also….she is a big dog…65 lbs.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Keep your eyes out for more on leash training, first you will teach her to find heel position, then to give you eye contact (to ignore the squirrels) and then leash manners so that she doesn’t pull you!

    [Reply]

  9. Shannon Welckle says:

    I have tried it all the gentle collars out there my dog is very well trained in home/dog classroom. She is a siberian husky and bred to pull good luck if you have one of these pups! My best chance is to work on commands when she starts taking her own direction to let her know I really am on the other end of the leash but to bring training treats on a walk when it is below zero is a pain. I also must walk or run this dog 7 miles per day there is not enough time to putts around with turning around and stopping her direction when you are walking the whole walk I found we just kept turning around she does not care if we change direction she just starts pulling the new directoin. I have had the gentle leader head collar she found a way to get it off and attempts it the entire time walking. The gentle leader harness did work until she got too big and can pull it until it is not tight anymore. The chock collar is a joke the slip collar leash kinda works the prong collar sort of works there is nothing out there that works with the Siberian husky and you must walk them!!!

    I do tons of positive praise when she is actually not pull she does not care about that if you have treats she will heal perfect when you run out she goes back to pulling. These guys really want to lead/pull I wish trainers could understand this and take it into consideration and yes they are very, very smart!!!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Yes! They are, but you have to be smarter! If you use treats all of the time they do get desensitized or know when the treats are gone, but if you only use them every once and a while they have to work for their treats and use their minds.

    Training takes effort and work and you have to teach them what your expectations are. If you give in and let her pull you without changing directions or getting her to care about you on the other end of the leash, she learns to ignore you and care only about her needs.

    I have very, very intelligent dogs as well, but I work them several times per day and they know what my expectations are, and I never give in and let them pull me so pulling is never successful for them!

    If she is pulling go back in your training and make your foundation with the leash stronger! We all have to do it, at times, there is no shame in backing up and working toward better basic training!

    [Reply]

    Brenda Reply:

    My Black Lab, was 80 lbs & she was pulling me down last year. I went to Pet Value & bought a harness that they said was used for huskies. This harness when they pull, tightens up behind their front legs & they stop. It then loosens & they start walking again. It is great, it cost $45.00 & it is the best investment I ever made. I can walk with the leash loose & if she sees something she wants to chase as soon as she pulls, it pulls behind her legs & she stops.

    [Reply]

  10. Sue maracle says:

    Hi have read you email about colars for dogs, personally, I spend alot of time training my dane on a leash, inside the house, in the yard and finally out on the street. I always carried a treat bag with me, and as another gentlemen stated, when I called her name and said look at me she was rewarded, I also rewarded her when she healed, but she still wanted to walk slighly in front of me. I guess this was either a protective stance or domination. but, I must say the most effective collar for me was the face harness. No when she pulls, her face is pulled downward and when this happens she stops pulling immediately. Now, if I put a regular choke collar on her to walk she will pull. With a 160lb dog this makes walking almost impossible. So, I swear by the face harness and find it to be the most effected. Beleive me when I say that I always praise her when she is not pulling. On the other hand I have a german shepherd female, and I find that when I walk both of them, I can put a regular leather collar on her and she will not pass the dane. I guess this is a domenance thing again, she must see the dane as higher up in the heirarchy of the family tree.
    anyway just wanted to give my thoughts on the process. In addition I find that you methods are good if you only have one dog (clicker) but are almost impossible if you have two dogs to train!!
    thanks

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I use to run with 5 weimaraners, train them separate so they can learn then put them together!

    [Reply]

  11. Eileen says:

    My dog, a black lab mix, gets skittish (?) during walks. So when she pulls, it is usually because she has to sniff and mark every spot. Sometimes she is hungry, as we take walks in the late afternoon. Our first walk is late morning. During that walk, after a half hour or so, skittishness sets in and then the sniff and marking ritual.

    If I walk on a familiar route, she heels nicely. I’m beginning to wonder if her leash pulling is related to her skittishness around big dogs (50 lbs or more) and her insistence on marking is due to the smells of other dogs. I tried walking on nature trails as opposed to sidewalks and it makes very little difference. In fact, sometimes she refuses to enter the nature trail and I think it is due to the presence of coyotes.

    Treats don’t work; she prefers to sniff. So, lately, I have been concentrating on the message I send to my dog during the walk. The vet mentioned in a conversation I had during last year’s annual exam that marking COULD be due to anxiety; after some research, I’m concluding that the problem is me. The Easy Walk harness only fails to work when she sees a cat; otherwise it does stop the pulling. The problem I have is not loose lead walking but stopping every few feet and doing the sniffing and marking ritual.

    [Reply]

    Pearl Reply:

    If it’s a sniffer you have, maybe you should encourage that. I was reading an article in the “whole Dog Journal” about Scentwork and how it helps dogs by stimulating them both physically and mentally. It has even helped dogs overcome fears because they were so focused on working that they learned to ignore strange people, animals, etc. as for anxiety, my vet recommends a turkey based food. Turkey contains Tryptophan, which is needed by the body to produce Serotonin and Melatonin, both of which promote a calm state of mind. hope this helps.

    [Reply]

  12. Sherry says:

    I live with my daughter, grandsons and CHARLIE (you guessed it..the dog) and I would love to be able to train him for walks and obedience. What are some of the commands you use in training dogs?

    [Reply]

  13. Michele says:

    Thanks Chet! Sometimes we need to be reminded of the obvious! We have an adorable labadoodle who has been easy to train. She will heel inside the home and yard without a leash but once the leash is on she forgets! I haven’t been brave enough to try heeling without a leash in public because of her safety. Any suggestions? We have a gentle leader and it’s somewhat effective. Your article clears up that mystery anyway .

    [Reply]

  14. Roberta says:

    Dear Chet ~

    Thank you for continuning to send me these wonder dog training tips.
    I have a 2 1/2 year old mix Shih Tzu, Maltesse and Tibetian Spaniel…more of the latter, “EJ” short for Edward Patrick McCormick.

    EJ loves his “walk” but I don’t because of his pulling. I will definitely try your advice with lots of treats, praises and patience, and anxiously anticipate the outcome.

    Thanks for all the training tips.

    Happy Holidays

    [Reply]

  15. The RIchman Family says:

    I have a standard labradoodle that is almost 5 months old and loves the outdoors but when it comes to being on a leash it is not fun for either one of us. She LOVES to sniff everything, try to eat stuff and gets distracted which leads to excitement(from another dog,person,squirrel) then she starts pulling like crazy we try to reinforce it but she is not understanding that it is not okay.

    [Reply]

  16. Luann Johnson says:

    To Chet,
    I adopted a Siberian Husky from the pound a few months and they are known to pull (ofcourse sled dogs). I tried almost every method of training her with all kinds of leashes, harnesses etc… The best one for me is the Premier Gentle Lead that goes over her head. She minds it a bit at first but can walk in the park for 2 hours now and doesn’t want to go home. I now use it for my CHI/terrier mix who is small but is all muscle and pulls hard. This helped him 100% and he stopped barking at other dogs on this. The article is excellent because my Husky is starting to pull alittle, so I have to stop, wait, then heel and keep doing this until she doesn’t pull anymore. I didn’t know they can get descentitized from the head halter and noticed that is what is happening. Thanks for the great article.
    Sincerely, Luann, Makita and Harley

    [Reply]

  17. Peter Silverman says:

    My five year old Sheltie bitch will not go ourside but insists on gooing in the house. Have you any suggestions. I walk her without a leash after each meal and she sticks closely to me or is a few yards behind me and comes when I call.

    [Reply]

  18. christine passman says:

    thank you very much for the advice and training tips i have a one year old american bulldog and he pulls his name is charlie i walk him with my other dogs king charles spanial chester and miniture wolf hound clyde (thats what my vet says he is )and i find when i use treats or praise for him to reafirm him for not pulling it works .

    [Reply]

  19. Léa says:

    thanks for this article, i trained my dog to walk to heel with a handful of cheese cubes which were more interesting than other dogs to a young pup. every few metres i wouldl attract her attention and reward her for listening. now she walks with or without a lead and always pays attention to me even though her only reward is constant talking and praising.
    i have a new pup who is really easy to train because he copies my older dog!

    [Reply]

  20. al gruen says:

    How do I train my pet not to bark?

    [Reply]

  21. mdt38 says:

    I bought the premiere easy walk harness as jean mentioned.noticed an immediate difference with my five month old lab,on the first walk.as she tried to pull ahead the lead gently turns her to the side,back my way.she quickly learned to stay by my side as I praised her.

    [Reply]

  22. Emil says:

    I had the exact same experience as noted above by jean-pierre:

    “i use a harness where the leash attaches at the front part of my dog chest and when she pulls, she is automatically pulled sideway and backward. Whithin days she stopped pulling and walk to my side as if she had been trained to do so.”

    If I hook to the top of the harness or use a regular collar, pulling again.

    Thanks for the exchanges and feedback.

    [Reply]

  23. Peter Gobel says:

    I recommend the “Walk-Your-Dog-With-Love” harness, available from their website and with wholesale pricing for trainers. I like this harness because the size range for each harness is large (the large fits dogs from 55-110 lbs)and it slips over the head and clips with a single buckle behind the shoulder. This is another management tool, I use it along with a regular collar and leash because I can reward the dog anytime it’s not pulling on the collar lead and can control the dog with the front attach lead when it pulls, not correct, just prevent forward motion.
    We do lots of training during meal times, instead of putting down a bowl of food, carry that bowl of food around the house and give your dog a piece of kibble every time he’s in the heel position. When he stops getting into position or you get bored, go to the dogs normal feeding place and after a polite sit, you can give him the remainder of his meal.

    [Reply]

  24. margie says:

    We have to put a collar in the am and when she goes out we have to put
    her on a high stool so that she’s afraid to fall to put on her leash.
    She doesn’t want to be touched and it’s difficult beckause she turns
    her head and wants to bite us.
    She is more coopeerative with my husband than me
    We now keep the collar on most of the time

    [Reply]

  25. Lilly says:

    I cant belive people invented prong/choke/”gentle leader”
    1: would YOU choke your kid if he/she wanted to run off and look at things (Id say smell but kids dont do that) would you put a thing on your kid to give it pain, well thats a prong collar. And would you pull your kid back if it wanted to look at the flowers or that pile of leaves or the pretty snow man, thatd be Illigle almost, thats kid cruelity, well your dog wants too investigate the bees and smell the yellow snow, but why hurt him, just give it something better, I agree with Chet, those “special” things dont train dogs anything

    [Reply]

  26. PRAVEEN says:

    My Rocky is an dashound and is 1yr old. we have tried taking him for a walk without a leash but the problem is he wanders away too fast and too far. the second problem is of the stray dogs. i live in india, mumbai, where there are plenty of stray dogs who are agrressive. feel insecured for my little one. also he loves to play with them and may wander off behind them. but would love if possible to take him without a leash. please advise.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    A leash is your lifeline! A leash keeps your dog under control and safe. I never take my dogs off leash if I cannot control them or if they are not confined in a fenced area.

    I start training off leash in the house but when I am outside I make sure my dog is on a leash, on a long line or will listen to me 99% of the time!

    I would use a leash if I were you!

    [Reply]

  27. Marie says:

    My 80 lb. boxer, Brody, has been on an easy walk harness since he was a young pup. Walking with him has been enjoyable for both of us and I am not much heavier than he…and believe me indoors all he wants to do is run and play!

    [Reply]

  28. peggy says:

    Amazing stories with great advice and suggestions. Here’s ours.

    We got our last lab from the spca when he was six weeks old. He seemed to instantly and intuitively know that we were his family and made it his mission in life to stay by our side, to not let us out of sight, and to please us at every turn. We have leash laws in our county and somehow he knew that. When I let him off leash, he took it as a privilege and whenever another person, dog, deer, squirrel, park ranger, etc. came within his sight or scent, he came back and put his head into his collar. As soon as they were out of sight, I released him. That was his reward. I doubt many dogs are that smart. He died from liver cancer at 12 years old and in all those years, he never dissappointed.

    We have just recently adopted a five year old lab from Lab Rescue who had been very badly neglected and possibly abused. He arrived with multiple bone fractures. He was housebroken but had no other social skills. But, he is a lab and is very smart wants nothing else in life but to please. He quickly learned “no jumping,” “sit,” “stay,” “come,” “no begging” and “go to your bed.” He’s 84 pounds and on a strict diet. His rewards are almost only just love and praise.

    In addition to nursing him back to physcial health, we are trying to empathize with whatever pyschological trauma he may have experienced. At first he didn’t bark. I had to teach him how and when to bark. I even, through example, got him take his bark down an octave. He still won’t do stairs. You should see me trying to demonstrate how to go up and down on all fours.

    Re walking on a leash, he’s just now, after four months, starting to get it. I walk him In the driveway on a leash. I stop when he starts to pull with the words, “no pulling.” When he seems relaxed and ready to go again, I give him a big hug and tell him he’s “such a good boy” and we start walking again. In the beginning we had to stop and settle every two or three steps. We can now do all 500 steps of our very long driveway at my pace, stopping occasionally to smell the roses and well, you know. I repeatedly remind Murphie that we’re having such a nice walk because he’s just, “the best black lab ever!!!” He wags his tail and prances proudly as if he knows it.. I think we might be ready for the park.

    Again, amazing how different we all are…..dogs and people alike. My advice, know yourself and your dog and then practice love and patience.

    [Reply]

  29. Barry says:

    I have a mixed hound 115 lbs. He listens very well on the collar and leash. Once off the leash he some times gets out of control.
    I’m looking forward to trying The Dog Training Secret.
    I’ve had dogs all of my life, most of my dogs were Pedigree German Sheppard’s. This is the first hound. With all the dog leash laws, living in the suburbs and the high traffic I fear for my dogs well-being.

    [Reply]

  30. Chetz Togom says:

    I agree.

    The problem with most dog owners (in my country at least) is that they don’t want to spend time teaching their dog. They want a quick fix. If after awhile they couldn’t get the dog to stop pulling, the stop walking the dog and the dog only stay at home, which let to more problems.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Unfortunately I agree! Great dogs take work!

    [Reply]

  31. Sherry says:

    You should never never let your dog off leash unless you are in a safe enclosed training pen or fenced in area.Dog parks are dangerous I have read several articles of dogs and their owners being attacked and dogs killed by aggressive dogs.

    Leash laws exist for a reason, they protect you and your dog. Dogs on leash feel threatened by dogs off leas. For good reason.
    You need a sturdy comfortable collar and a 6ft. leather leash.The Wonder walker harness is also good for training.With praise and rewards.Bye the way retractable leashes are dangerous,they are not strong enough to keep your dog close or in control.

    [Reply]

  32. Patricia says:

    How do I teach my one-year old Yellow Lab mix, Finian, notto grab things from table tops, counters, etc.? He is wonderful and intelligent, and VERY energetic. I want to, eventually, get rid of the crate and have him back sleeping and watching TV with me, but have not yet learned how to teach him notto grab things. Please help. Finian and I will be most grateful!

    [Reply]

  33. dana grace says:

    I have a beautiful Affenpinscher, 9 months, spade, papered and I must find a loving home for her. But! she has anxiety problems…I’m trying to deal with it, to make her feel loved and wanted, and I do love and want her. circumstances are making it too hard for all of us. She acts afraid of small children, skateboards and bikes. We walk our dogs on the beach- walk a couple of blocks from our house. She loves to get out and meet most dogs and anyone who will pet her. She will bark and snap at the above people. Worst of all, she will wake up, jump in the air or run in circles or lower her head and ears and charge my other dog and bite her. I have to separate them. Then she runs to the back of her crate and just looks pitifull…She will bark at any one close, untill I pick her up and hold her and talk softly to her. She has gotten better during the time she’s been with us, and I’m afraid she will fall back in her anxiety when she must go to another home. I have no options…and how do I explain my little devil dog is a sweet cuddly baby? Sometimes she acts paranoid. How can I help her? She can sit, lay down, come, and kinda lead/pull on her leash when we walk. She loves to play with toys, can swim, and chases water from the hose. She runs the length of the drive way to my sister, then back to me till shes worn out and we’re all laughing. She’s adorable, she gets better every day, I dont want to make her regress and the pounds out of the question. I’m not sure how you can help, but I hope you can. Thank you, Dana

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Contact Affenpinscher rescue, they will find someone to love her and train her.

    Do NOT LIE! Tell them EVERYTHING the good, the bad and the ugly or you are setting her up for failure and possible abuse.

    This way the home she goes into will know exactly what they are dealing with and there will be no surprises.

    And when you deal with a rescue they are familiar with common problems associated with the breed.

    [Reply]

  34. Ursula says:

    I have a rescue dog. A wonderful animal and very hyper. She is a border collie/lab mix with possible pit and maybe various hunting dogs mixed in.
    My mature problem with her is bycicles, joggers and anything rolling. I am sure other people have this problem as well. I walk her with a harness which mostly is not a problem unless there are the object mentioned above…and other dogs. This is the point I do not know what to do. How can I train her not to bark and charge bikes etc? As far as other dogs go she wants to great them so badly that, if she cannot, she gets frustrated which then also looks aggressive. if she can great the other dog then she is totally fine.
    I am happy for any advise. Thanks!!
    Ursula

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You need to get and keep her attention prior to her “caring” about the other object.

    Once she is staring it is too late.

    I would recommend a gentle leader so if you have to you can control what she is looking at.

    In this article series I describe getting your dog’s attention and teaching him to attention heel.

    I have a dog that wants to chase everything including cars. So I taught her when I say “watch me” she has to ignore cars or joggers or dogs and give me her focus. It keeps her from staring and working herself up.

    [Reply]

  35. Ruth says:

    We have a 10 mo old English springer spaniel, we use a harness when we walk her. why does she take the leash in her mouth,grabbing and trys to control it, she will do this as we leave our drive way, when we get to the corner, she will release it and walks very well, then we we return home, she knows where we are at, and then she will start controlling the leash, grabbing and bitting. any advice ???????

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    She wants to be in control, just like a kid wanting to rip something out of your hands.

    I would spray it with bitter apple right before you leave 😉 she will learn it tastes bad and will stop the behavior.

    [Reply]

  36. Alwyn Lee says:

    I just got a boxer two months ago….man did I have a shock. I never realised how strong and STUBBORN they are! I have been through three leads since I got her – all broken! She is three and I cannot walk her. :( I found the leash training article very interesting and I have tried several other methods too…my problem is that when we are outside, Ali just is not interested in treats. She gets lots of praise and encouragement but she wont touch the treats…she would sooner run off to chase that cat! How do I reinforce positively without treats…is verbal praise enough?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    first teach her inside without distractions. She can’t learn with distractions and a lot of leash training and manners can actually be done inside the home.

    Then find her motivator, I assume she is hungry at feeding time so skip her meal if you have to and make her work for it 😉

    Read this. Every dog has a motivator http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/finding-dogs-motivator/

    [Reply]

  37. debbie says:

    I bought a harness where you attach the leash on the front. My dog, a boxer mix, figured out how she can twist her body and slip out! I tightened it more each time until it looked uncomfortable but she still slipped out of it every time. I gave up on this kind of harness. She is an ecape artist who can climb chain link fences, pull apart any kind of adjustable collar or harness and undo screen door latches. Test this kind of harness out in an enclosed area first before you have to chase your dog around the neighborhood.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Im not found of these, I prefer a gentle leader if I have to use a device to help with training.

    [Reply]

  38. Jaymie Derden says:

    I’ve just started working on loose leash walking with my 18-month old labradoodle, using his ball (his MOST favorite thing in the world) and the “blind man creep” game. But here is my problem. I have taught him to sit whenever I stop as a default behavior. So now when I stop when he pulls, he sits. I’m not sure he’s getting the connection that his pulling is making me stop. Should I just continue and eventually he’ll get it? We just recently fenced in our yard, so just started this technique.

    [Reply]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *