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Kodasmomma
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Hello all!

Koda has transformed into a stellar walker these last two weeks and I am over the moon about it! After 8.5 months of fearing the walks we are on the right track.

We learned in our class how to properly train the heel position and to use it on walks when we want her back by our side. She does this willingly now.

The question is that my husband is adamant about training her to walk the entire walk by his side. This is more future based as we will want to take her on walks with strollers when we have kids and don't want to worry about her pulling and the stroller going with her.

My thought is that if she is on a walk she shouldn't be training the whole time and we should cut her some slack to have some freedom. Am I right here?

The only point that he makes is how will she know when she needs to stay back by us and when she can be a little ahead of us...?

Any help would be great!
 

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So glad that your training sessions are going well. I am by no means an expert on training, but I agree with your husband. If you teach Koda now how to walk beside you, it will not be an issue down the road when you have a family. I would train her now, since she is doing so well with it. I honestly don't think she will feel that she has lost any freedom by training her. This way she will always know what is expected of her on her walks.
 

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I agree with your husband. Dogs do not understand the difference in the two situations. Lack of consistency confuses them. It causes them to choose which alliterative they prefer or even worse some third alternative. Suddenly they think they are the leader and can make the choices. And dogs are bad leaders and make poor choices left to their own devices. Be a good owner and show you dog consistency. Everyone will be happier. And remember, you cannot do it one way and your husband another. The dog is once again only confused. Consistency is the key thing.
 

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Good job on the loose leash training!

Our trainer suggested not having Cookie heel all the time. It is too much to ask really. We have a "let's go" walk that means to walk on my left with a loose leash. If I give a "heel" command, then Cookie gets into the formal heel position. You have to also remember to release her from this, as you don't want her to start deciding when to end the heeling. Either way, the leash should not be tight. We still work on this a lot too. :)

I also let her sniff around on a couple of corners during our walk. During these times she is able to do whatever she wants.
 

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Tess and Liza
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I have always made a difference between walking on pavement, roads etc and walking in a state park. Whenever there are cars or people around, I want Tess to walk properly, on a short leash, without pulling. She is allowed to sniff, of course...But in the parks we have her on a very long leash and she can come and go as long as we have the other end of it. She knows the difference between the two leashes, so she adjusts accordingly. But I do think that dogs need to be able to sniff and climb and wander off a bit...just enjoying themselves and the smells that are around. Training is fine, but walks should also be fun...
 

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Good job on the loose leash training!

Our trainer suggested not having Cookie heel all the time. It is too much to ask really. We have a "let's go" walk that means to walk on my left with a loose leash. If I give a "heel" command, then Cookie gets into the formal heel position. You have to also remember to release her from this, as you don't want her to start deciding when to end the heeling. Either way, the leash should not be tight. We still work on this a lot too. :)

I also let her sniff around on a couple of corners during our walk. During these times she is able to do whatever she wants.
This is exactly what the trainer for one of our dogs recommended. That dog was the best walking dog of all. I wish I used this technique with the others. The sniffing and some loose leash at some point of the walk kept him motivated and kept him begging for walks until the week he died. Like you I gave the heel command to do the formal heel.
 

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Kate
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My thought is that if she is on a walk she shouldn't be training the whole time and we should cut her some slack to have some freedom. Am I right here?
I totally agree with you. ;)

My dog heels on command. For show. It's a specific position with specific focus and expectation. It would be sheer misery to enforce that for as long as I walk with my dog.

If I'm shopping at a store and pushing a cart or carrying a 15# bag of food around, I expect him to "walk nice" at my side. This is possibly what your husband is looking for. Jacks doesn't necessarily have to be walking with his little eyeballs eyeballs GLUED to me. I do expect him to maintain a controlled position at my side. I say "walk nice" or "here" to keep him close.

If I'm walking around the block with Jacks and his collie bro, I'm fine with them moving ahead and walking side to side in front of me or to my side. Easier for me to admire them that way. ;) If I want the dogs to back off to a controlled loose position at my side, I usually give a little tug (fingers squeezing on the leash) and tell them to "walk nice".

Teaching controlled walking, especially when you are out with multiple dogs is a HUGE thing to train and maintain. I remember when Jacks was still a pup, he and Arth would break into random happy fits while we were out walking. Which if we were walking on ice... eek.
 

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Kodasmomma
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Discussion Starter #8
I do agree with the consistency and that is why we are clearing it up now. Up till now I have followed his opinoin and kept asking Koda for a heel when she got ahead but i dont feel like the walk is as enjoyable for her. I think we need to work on the releasing her so she knows to stay in the heel until we say okay.

Yes we are looking for her to "walk nice" when we are not able to pull her where we need her like if there is a big bag of dog food in my other arm. And the stroller situation.

We will continue to work on this but maybe end our walks with a release and some sniffing/freedom time...

Thank you all!!!
 

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I'm so glad to hear your pup is getting good on those walks. Isn't it fun when you've got good leash control? We really enjoy getting out with Tucker. Aside from a couple of crazy weird incidents (like eating the glove off of a stranger's hand a couple months back!) he's been good, too. We went through the biting/jumping at leash phase and I'm hoping that's behind us, too!

You may be rather surprised when the time comes that your pooch is better with the stroller than you would've guessed. One of the few things Tucker has always been reliable with is walking alongside my daughter's stroller. It's the strangest thing. Ever since he was about 8 weeks old, he keeps pace with it. I almost think it helped us teach him good walking early on without our even realizing it. Has anyone else experienced this who has young kids/babies with strollers? He gets so excited when that stroller comes out, because he knows what it means - walk time! :)

There are times that he still lunges when he's super excited about something he sees, but those times are less often now as he's getting older.

As for walking in a heel position constantly, I'd think your pup might get rather bored with that. Isn't part of the fun being able to explore a little bit? As long as Tucker gets back in line with me when I command it, I don't mind him sniffing and exploring a bit on leash.

Sorry for the long post! :)
 

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Wyatt Earp
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Hello all!

My thought is that if she is on a walk she shouldn't be training the whole time and we should cut her some slack to have some freedom. Am I right here?
Yes I agree with this also.

Good job on the loose leash training!

Our trainer suggested not having Cookie heel all the time. It is too much to ask really. We have a "let's go" walk that means to walk on my left with a loose leash. If I give a "heel" command, then Cookie gets into the formal heel position. You have to also remember to release her from this, as you don't want her to start deciding when to end the heeling. Either way, the leash should not be tight. We still work on this a lot too. :)

I also let her sniff around on a couple of corners during our walk. During these times she is able to do whatever she wants.
Our trainer taught us the same. We have to remember they are still doggies and they don't need to be working all the time. Which is what heeling really is. Let them be what they are also.......animals.
 

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I always end the walks with some free time. I want Jige to beable to explore and have fun too. I have my release word for him. I say "heel" when I want him to heel and then I say " you can go" when I it is alright for him to look around. He knows the differance.
 

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I think it is good for a dog to know all three. Heeling, polite walking and free time.

There is something call the Premack Principle. People use it all the time.
example:
Child likes to play a particular video game. Mom or dad says you can play your game if you eat all your dinner. :)

We can do this with our dogs also.

We can have them do heeling or polite walking and then release them for a short session of grass sniffing. Call them back to us and give a high value treat. Do some more heeling or polite walking and do it again.

Use high value enviromental rewards and associate them with coming back to you and doing something you want by using a high value treat or a very short game of tug. :)

Over repetiton and time you are creating a good association and habit of the dog knowing if I do what you want I get what I want. :) In the mean time the dog figures out you are so much fun that what the dog wants is more of what you want.
 

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Dakota Katie River's Mom
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I use walking for training. I have two commands, one of course is heeling, one is for loose lead. Loose lead does not mean or allow pulling, it mean walking near me, but relaxed walking. Every so often I do heeling and then release to relaxed walking. Walking should be fun and relaxing for the dog, the sights and smells, etc.. Heeling means your attention is on me, totally on me, it's fun, but it's work time.
 
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