What's the best/easiest way to teach a puppy how to loose leash walk that you guys know of? I would like to get started with them now around the yard/house but not sure where to start or what to do.
I've only had my puppy for a week, and immediately started trying to get her to walk with a loose leash. When I take her out, if she runs ahead and the leash gets tight, I stop. Sometimes she'll come back to me, other times she'll try to keep walking, realize she's going nowhere, and sit where she's at. I've also tried turning the other way and walking to try to get her to realize I'm the one walking her and not the other way around. This generally leads to 20 or 30 minutes of walking back and forth a few steps. I feel a little mean sometimes causing her to stop in her tracks for about 1 to 2 hours per day, as she's still not understanding what I'm trying to teach her, but my thought is that it'll all be worth it in the long run.
We have accomplished good loose leash walking using kibble. I am a human pez dispenser - or kibble dispenser. My dog is five months old, she walks in on my left side, food is in my pocket on the left. It took a few walks to get this down but as she walks nicely without pulling I say "good girl" she looks at me and I dispense a piece of kibble with my left hand. We do this a lot - like every 10 feet. If she starts to get ahead I tell her to "walk like a good girl" and she comes back to my side for a treat. We have had a lot of snow this month and we live in a small densely populated town so we are walking past driveways and snow banks. She goes up the snow bank and is now walking on a waist high level so the dispensing is easier. I call this focused walking and I try to let her have some unfocused walking time as well as long as she is not pulling. I just think she needs an opportunity to stop and sniff and investigate her puppy world.
Try looking at the "Dogs Trust" Videos, which I found by chance on their website. We followed them and although it took a while our 7 month old girl walks really well to heel now.
I am trying the human pez dispenser method as well, for the most part it is going well, but I worry that Lucy is getting too many treats (even though they are super small pieces). The one thing we have problems with is her wanting to hold the leash in her mouth. My older lab has always had this problem, I blame myself for not correcting it when she was young. I am trying to stop walking anytime Lucy bites the leash. Any advice?
Tilly, Feb.11, 2003
Lucy, Oct. 24, 2010
Regarding "too many treats" - I measure out my Poppy's daily food allowance (dried food) and use about a third of that as treats for during the day. Occasionally I will use a "special" treat (a very tiny piece of smoked sausage) if I am trying to teach her something new but generally it is a biscuit from her daily allowance. This way I can make sure she doesn't have too much food. When I feed her evening meal I put it in a "Kong", it generally works out I have to fill the Kong up three times. This means that she doesn't bolt her food and she gets a lot more fun out of it as it lasts about half an hour.
When she used to bite on the lead I would say "NO" very firmly and take it out of her mouth. To begin with I would pop in a biscuit after taking out the lead and say "Good Girl". After a few weeks she would drop the lead when I said "Good Girl" and then had her biscuit. She doesn't ever chew the lead now but I still say "Good Girl" every so ofen, sometimes giving her a treat, sometimes not. (She is 7 months now)
Ok, this may not be easy or a fast fix, but something that I think really helps labs in general, is what I'm doing with mine. we just started rally obedience training. And part of the training involves loose leash walking. Dog is on leash the whole class/course and dog is taught to sit/down parallel in line with you. Some of the signs we learned this week were "Slow Pace", "Normal Pace" and "Fast Pace". This encourages doggie to be in tune with their owner and leash and learn how to not pull on leash. Treating when puppy is not pulling is key.
Anyways, since we started Rally O - I am proud to say the pulling has improved a little bit. We'll keep working at it...
We have gone to 2 puppy kindergarten classes, and of course, Lucy walks beautifully in class, never once grabbed the leash!! This morning on our own, she did great with her leash, but kept trying to grab Tilly's leash!
Tilly, Feb.11, 2003
Lucy, Oct. 24, 2010
One thing you could do is spray the leash with bitter yuk or bitter apple.
Right after I replied to this I decided to get the sensation harness which has the leash attach to the front of the chest. I think it is fabulous and so easy to put on. Very effective to stop pulling. We are still doing the kibble feed which is working but our sidewalks have gotten so narrow with all the snow that there is often not room for us to be side by side.
Thanks for the ideas, I'll try walking with kibble and see how that goes.