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Discussion Starter #1
I've been trying to take advantage of Penny's months on the leash to work on heeling and not pulling. I had given up years ago because I just couldn't figure out a way to overcome her excitement. She would heel well as long as I had a hot dog and nothing 'important' was going on. But as soon as she got excited, it was/is always pulling HARD: screw the hotdog, I'm going THERE.

I gave up a long time ago and either let her go off leash (no pulling) or on the flexi lead...really avoided the problem.

I practiced a little yesterday with some horse treats I had in my pocket. She did pretty good: heeled (sniffed the ground a bit but she's spoiled, it will take time) and then lost it when Penny's Dad came home. She walks pretty good, kind of a 1/2 pull and 1/2 cooperate until something better comes along

How long does it take with dogs like this? We put almost 2 years into it with excellent instruction and never made a dent in the pulling. And is 10 years old too late?
 

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10 years old is definitely NOT to late to learn. I think an older dog is easier because they are less distracted (usually) and more focused (going by Scully as opposed to Darby as a pup).

Keep your training to short sessions and quiet areas, work on "look" and "leave it" both very useful commands on a walk. I never use the command "heel" when we walk. I say "walk" which means by my side and "free" which means its ok to sniff and walk in front of me but always on a loose lead. I don't want them to ever think that "heel" is anything but working, for us a walk is for fun.

With Darby I use a martingale collar and his 6' leather lead. I attached his lead to his collar and loop the lead around the front of his (like a no-pull harness). I hold the lead loop handle and the part of the lead that is wrapping around the dog (keep the part of the lead to the collar very loose). This shortens the lead to keep him by my side and stops him gentling for surging forward. Using this method the collar is always relaxed and you have good control. You can use both hands if necessary. Darby learned to walk on a loose lead by my side with in a few tries. He passed his CGC with flying colors with this method. The key is to stop when you begin to get frustrated.

Now Kirby.... :doh: Still haven't figured out how to walk a bouncing excited dog, but we keep trying. She never calms down!!!
 

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When you wrap the lead around the dog, it's behind the front legs, yes?

And do you use high value treats? I remember getting my frozen finger nipped at in January, rewarding got so completely out of hand that I went to physical/verbal rewards most of the time.

Also, I like your words of 'walk' and 'free'. I usually say 'walk', then 'heel' to tell her what we're doing and where she's supposed to be. I'll leave out the 'heel' part.

Another question. I want her to sit whenever I stop walking or at least on command. Most of the time she refuses and SHE KNOWS SHE'S REFUSING. She won't even sit for a hotdog or cheese. She like 'ya, ya, we're at the corner, big deal'. When she does sit, she sits at an angle and a lot of time she comes around to front sit...part of her recall days. I would love to teach her to front, come around behind me and sit on my left. Is that called finish? I was taught to lure her around behind me with a treat until she was on my left and then give her the treat. She preferred to wait in front and eventually go do something else.

I quit working with her because she had her basic manners and was so reliable off leash that I began to think she had made a trade off with us: I will be exceptional off leash if you will stop with all the rules about being ON leash!
 

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It's been two years of trying for me too Penny's Mom. This is the third time I've tried to retire the halti and my arms are killing me. He's pretty good on the way home but hard to walk in the morning and on our way to the parkette.

The other day a man with two labs had both dogs off leash and they walked next to him like they were on parade - my jaw hit the floor. I used to think that because I'm a slower walker that this may be why I had such a hard time but this guy was walking slower than me and those dogs were matching his pace.
 

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LOL - you are so lucky that she is good off-lead, Darby will be gone so he is NEVER off lead out of the fenced yard. To your questions:

When you wrap the lead around the dog, it's behind the front legs, yes?

No, in front of the front legs, so it hang loose unless they surge forward, it then acts like a no pull. I will try and get a picture to post it's hard to explain.

And do you use high value treats?

I don't use treats with Darby, he is not food oriented and won't take them. Just praise is all he really needs.

A wonderful trainer I took attention classes was really clear on not confusing "heel" with a "walk", so "walk" means relaxed not in strict heel position and not working.

I want her to sit whenever I stop walking or at least on command.

I do this too, for walks when we come to a corner we stop and they sit. I don't care if it's crooked on a walk since we are not working and he doesn't need to be in heel position he just needs to sit. Darby does this well and if he is distracted all I say is look and when he looks up at me he usually sits. Sometimes I have to tell him sit - he always gets a pat and a "good boy or good sit". At first I would stop and tell him sit immediately, now he just does it.

For a formal "heel" position sit I do a count and working, one, two, sit. Or "sit (one), right (two), here (three). Again it was part of the foot work we learned in the attention class for heeling. Practice on your own first, left foot (sit), right foot (right), then plant your left foot (here) and bring your right foot even with your left foot. I really suggest practicing without the dog first, once you have it then add the dog. Use treats and speak it as you do it "sit, right, here". Speak to the dog and soon you both will be doing it automatically.

For call fronts I heel then start to move backwards calling Darby to me, when he begins to turn I say "front", "sit", then reward the sit only when he is in the correct position, if he is to far away or crooked, take another step back to straight and then reward. Once he got the idea I dropped the word "sit" and just say "front". Now if he is not straight I make "him" fix it, I don't move. He only gets a reward when he does it right and only in position, a clicker works well for this. For a finish use a treat in both hands, lure the dog behind you with your right hand, then use your left hand (with a treat) to lure her around and into heel position and then ask her to sit, only reward in the correct position. Use a reward marker like the word "yes" (your hands are both full so a clicker won't work). I would work this in quiet areas for short duration at first, you can practice anywhere in the house. Just keep it short and positive. I make a game out of it, and trade it up with left finishes, they both love this game and don't realize that they are working!! For a right finish I use the word "finish" and sweep my right hand to the right. For a left finish I say "get close" and pull my left hand and arm directly back the then forward & up (bend at the elbow) for the sit. It's a lot of fun when there doing it together too.

Sorry this got so long winded, I will try and get that picture posted.
 

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With Ben, if we're in familiar territory (our daily neighborhood walks) he is usually relaxed and won't pull. We walk two or three miles and I barely need to hold the leash. However, if we're somewhere new, he goes mindless, deaf and dumb. If we know we'll be someplace with high distraction, we use the prong collar, which helps get his attention. Otherwise he ignores us completely, especially if it's an area with a lot of interesting scents. He is very food motivated, but what he'll do is walk nicely for the treat and as soon as he gets it he'll surge ahead to make up for lost time. OTOH, a year ago, we couldn't walk him up the block without being dragged, so I have hope that we'll get his attention in other places too. One thing we do when we have him out on the long leash (parks and woods) is we call him back frequently and give him a treat. It teaches him to pay a little attention to us, which helps with the pulling. It's mindless mode that becomes difficult.

We practice frequent sits, but mostly whenever cars go by. (We have no sidewalks.) If he hears a car, he's willing to comply. If the car turns off before it gets to us, he's much slower to obey, but always does, though sometimes it takes a gentle nudge on his backside.
 

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When training your dog anything new or brushing up on something you taught your dog a long time ago and haven't worked on in a while - give your dog every chance to succeed. The key is never give a command when you are in doubt of the dog following through and doing what you want. Practice where it's easy for the dog to pay attention (in the house or up and down the aisles at your barn.

The rest is taking advantage of those times when your dog offers a behavior that you REALLY want to encourage, give it a name + praise and most importantly release your dog.

Sometimes - especially with goldens - they offer those good behaviors all the time, even when we don't have treats on hand. That's when you really want to praise and play with your dog. And that was usually what I used for walks. I rarely to never carried food with us for walks. :)

Automatic sits or sits on command - this is where I simply reinforce the command and make the dog sit. Right hand holding the treat and tugging the leash upwards, left hand gently pushing the dog's butt down into a sit.

Right finish - you have two treats, one in your right hand and one in your left. When you give the command (I use "by me"), you lure her back with the treat in the right hand, reward her back behind you, guide her up to heel position with the treat in your left hand. Over time you wean off the right right hand treat and only use that hand to signal the dog to go back behind you.

Ideally - practice seperate from front/recalls/comes. It's a seperate exercise. Otherwise dogs sometimes get confused about whether they are supposed to sit in front of you at the end of the recall, or skip that front sitn and automatically go into the finish.

The only other thing is I think it's AWESOME that you have a ten year old who needs to be taught not to pull you around on walks. That means she's healthy and happy. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for so much help. Yes, my 10 year old is more like a 2 year old. I hope that means a long, healthy life!

I've been working on the driveway and I think I've been lax for so long, it would be easier for her to understand 'going back to work' in the house instead.

I'm not picturing the wrap with the leash. Once, in Texas, a guy told me to clip the leash to her collar, wrap it behind her front legs and put a kind of 1/2 single knot in it. When she pulled, it tightened on her rib cage. It surprised her at first but didn't have a lot of effect in a permanent way of teaching her not to pull. The prong collar resulted in "meh, don't care" and pulled just as hard. I quit using it because I didn't want to desensitize her neck.

Like with the horses, I'd rather train to accomplish the goal than use an appliance that controls but doesn't teach, if that makes sense.

I wonder if I talk too much. She's very responsive to voice and hand signals so I talk to her a lot to tell her what I want her to do. Maybe I'm her biggest distraction. Although when we're practicing, I tend to be quiet and just give commands or praise, at the appropriate time.
 

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Thanks for all the good instructions. We worked on fronts and finish in the house. With cheddar cheese. I think she would jump thru flaming hoops for that. ;)

We did about 4-5 really nice ones, then she got over excited about the cheese and started jumping up and grabbing it so we quit for today. She can be so food focused that the grabbing gets to be a problem.
 

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I use a wrapped leash in a different way. I wrap it around the waist. Starting on top, wrap it going in the direction of the side of the dog opposite of you, then under the dog, then bring it up on the same side as you. As you bring it up on the side nearest you you should pull it through the loop that usually acts as a handle. You hold onto the end that is usually hooked up to the dog. It works similar to a choke collar, but around the waist instead of the throat.
 

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no, just looped around the waist
 

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Hi again Penny's mom!

I don't have much advice about the pulling/excitement thing because as you saw I have problems with my Penny's excitement when it comes to the doorbell ringing.

As far as the sitting when you stop walking, I have no idea if it is too late to train "no street" or not, but for my Penny she learned this very quickly and still does it at every single corner. We learned it at obedience class with her, so perhaps you are familiar with it. Essentially, it is used as a command to get them to stop in their tracks immediately in case there is a car driving by as opposed to "sit" or "come" which they may ignore if too excited. If I say "no street" when we approach any sort of sidewalk, street, etc. she immediately sits down and won't move until I give her the okay. I also practice it with her on every corner still, just to really cement in the fact that she needs to stop and sit at every corner unless I give the "let's go" command.

Anyway, when I originally trained her to do "no street" I was using a prong collar because at that point she was completely unmanageable, although I'm sure you can do it with any collar as long as your dog listens to you. Here is the approach we used:
Walk towards the street/corner and as soon as you get to the edge where the curb is come to an abrupt full stop while saying (loudly, so they get it is serious) "NO STREET" and make them sit and give them a treat. Repeat until they know to sit at the curb.
Then, repeat the walking to the curb but when you say "no street" and they sit you keep walking one or two steps without them. Make sure they stay sitting, that is crucial. Turn around and give them a treat and praise. This is to teach them that regardless of what you do they need to stop and sit. Repeat this until you can walk out the full length of the leash into the street and they will stay sitting on the curb. One important point: when you want to release them from the "no street" position, you HAVE TO walk back to the curb to your original position and then say "let's go" at the same time you take a big step with your left foot (if thats the side the dog is on). Eventually, they will learn to recognize that they must sit at all streets and are only released if/when you say lets go and they see your left foot move out.

Hope this helps! It has been very successful with my dog for sitting and keeping her attention on me during walks. Plus, if they are ever (God forbid) about to run in front of a car you can yell this and they will stop in their tracks... which is what the command is intended for.
 

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Thanks, Penson. I'll work on that. I like that it is different from all the other 'sits' in her life.

She used to do it very well. I'd take her down to the local high school on a busy street...lots of driveways, parking lots, etc. and she did beautifully. Her lack of interest in exact obedience started right after I decided we had learned enough.

Our instructor's next classes emphasized footwork for competing in obedience and how to prepared for a competition. I quit taking classes because I wasn't going to compete...already showing horses and only so much time. :( I probably should have kept going just to keep her working.

We're like an old couple together. She knows the basics of what I want without me tellling her but then when I ask for something like sit when I stop, she looks at me like "where's THIS coming from?"

I just figured that these months on the leash should be put to good use. I think SHE'S just bidding her time until she's off leash again!
 
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