Hello - I have a 6 month old, Ruby, that is leash-walked. I'm not doing a formal "heel", so she's free to range around a little for sniffing and whatnot. For most other things I try to do the "no free lunch" or indirect access approach, where I wait for her to offer a sit (or equivalent polite behavior) when she would like something. I would also like to apply this to leash walking, so she doesn't suddenly lunge off and refuse to move when she's located something particularly smelly. But what kind of behaviour should I wait for before I let her sniff? Or to put it another way, in what way can she ask permission as we're walking down the street to go check something out?
On a related note, when there's something really interesting, or if there's another dog near her, I have to drag her away when I decide it's time to leave. Usually I'll give her some time to check it out, however I don't want to let her dictate the whole walk. Any advice on this as well?
On your first question, I think NILIF training works very well for commands like Come, Heel, Sit, etc., which require specific voluntary muscles movements to accomplish them. But when it's a permission such as "you're now free to explore and sniff" there are no definite specific muscle movements involved.
You could try using a leash and commanding "Heel" to get your dog into that position and then use a "command" or instruction such as "okay" to mean the "Heel" is no longer in effect and at the same time use a slack leash.
On your second question, it just takes time and repetitions. She's young and excited. It may help if you have a favorite toy along to throw that she can retrieve. Something to use to substitute one distraction for another.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
I don't know if there is a way to do what you want to do.
When I walk my dogs, it's usually for fun and potty, so as long as they behave, they are free to stop and sniff where they want, but when I am ready to move on, they either listen to me or get a correction. Sometimes to throw change in, I make them heel, but when I am ready to let them sniff again, I use an "OK" command to trigger that they are allowed to move ahead of me and sniff. We have to stop at every street, sit and wait for "OK" to cross. Sometimes we stop and do "comes" and "heels" just as a change of pace to test them.
What you're describing can work if you tend to walk the same route a lot and can anticipate your dog's favorite spots. If you know that there is one particular bush that just *has* to be sniffed or peed on, then before you get there, you can ask for eye contact, maybe a sit, and then release them ("go play" or "take a break" or whatever your release command is). Otherwise you have to be very attentive in order to catch them when they get interested but before they break. "Leave it" ---> "watch" ---> "Yes! Go play!"
P.S. Another useful tip from an old trainer of mine--if you know your dog is going to break and there is nothing you can do about it, release them! Better than weakening the cue when you know they won't listen to you.
Umm to stop Buck from lunging at something to check it out I have trained him to sit and ask for it.
Basically in the beginning when he'd try to lunge at something I'd hold the leash back. He'd pull and such and I wouldn't budge. Eventually he'd give up and sit. As soon as he'd sit and put slack on the leash and look at me I'd praise him and walk up next to him and then say OK go visit and he'd be allowed to check out whatever. There were times when he just wouldn't give up and keep pulling those were the times when I'd remind him of what he has to do if he wants to go visit. I'd just ask him to sit and then make him wait a bit and then release him. Now everytime he wants to go off and sniff something he just plops his butt down and looks at the thing and depending on if I give him permission he gets to go visit or keep walking.
Now getting him to stop sniffing and checking out something on command was a challenge for me. Well it's still a work in progress. For this I had to call in the treats! I take some treats with me on walks. When I want him to stop dinking around and keep walking I say "ENOUGH" and tug the leash towards me and show him the treat. This makes him come to me and sits and he gets rewarded for it. And we continue on our walk. Sometimes whatever he is sniffing is just tooooo interesting for him the hear me say "ENOUGH" and it takes a little bit of coaxing. But we are getting there.
He also sits and waits for permission to go visit another dog or person. BUT! if the dog or person is within 5-10 ft. and is doing something to get him riled up he just has a hard time playing by the rules...something we are working VERY hard to fix. Buck is 8 months old now.
I hope this answers your question...
<3 01/01/2006-03/18/2017 <3
When I walk Oona she is in a heel. There are a few choice areas that she loves to stop and smell the bushes because lots of dogs have walked past that spot during the day. As we are approaching I give her the command, "your free" and she knows its ok to break the heel. But I don't let her stop and smell or mark wherever she wants. A walk would take forever.