Heel!!

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by milo, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. milo

    milo Labrador lover!!!!!

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    HI all!!
    I was taking Luc,y for a walk today but everytime i walked luckyt kept on pulling me!!I stopped and said No but he got the idea in the endbut then he started pulling again!!
    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to stop a teenage act alike 6 month old puppy from doing this!! :) lol
    Thanks!!
     
  2. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    walk one direction, as soon as he starts to pull, reverse and walk another way, don't yank, just about face, again and again and again until he is looking to you to see where you are going next. Do it every time and he will wait to be cued by you as to what to do. It really worked for me. Everybody brings there labs in for obidience when they are grown and strong. The muscles under my shoulder blades can tell you stories!!!!!! This was the easiest method I found for breaking the bad habit of pulling.I learned it from a friend.
     
  3. CreatureTeacher

    CreatureTeacher New Member

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    That's a great suggestion. Something else I find works well is this: Make sure you have plenty of time and a long leash. Set yourself a short trip goal, around the block is a good distance. Before you clip the leash on the dog, put it around your waist and put the clippy end through the loop and pull it tight. That should secure the leash around your waist and then you can clip it on Lucky's collar. Make sure the leash is long enough that, when it's wrapped around your waist and clipped to Lucky, it will have a little slack in it if Lucky is standing right beside you.
    The reason for the leash around the waist is this: when a dog pulls on a leash you're holding in your hand, he has a TON of slack to work with before you even become conscious of the pulling; he's got the whole leash and your whole arm to work with, which makes it harder for you to communicate to him how close you want him to be. With the leash around your waist, you notice immediately when Lucky's pulling, and he has less slack to work with.
    Now you're set up to go for a very educational--if goofy-looking--walk. The rules are simple: if you feel the slack go out of the leash (meaning Lucky is pulling), you stop. Make like a tree. You don't budge an inch until Lucky turns around and comes back to you. The moment he gives you the lead again, start moving.
    There are a few reasons dogs pull on the lead. First, up until about 150 years ago, dogs were beasts of burden. If you've ever watched a dog sled team, you know that pressure on a lead is not something that bothers a dog. They're bred to have strong necks and shoulders and to pull on a load (in this case, YOU!). Second, mammals have an instinct called the opposition reflex, which is simply that they will apply force to anything that's applying force to them. You can test this by walking up to someone and pushing on their should; long before you knock them off balance, they'll push back just to stay on their feet. So your pulling backward on the lead makes Lucky pull back. Third, from Lucky's standpoint, choking himself is a small price to pay to sniff this bush...oh, and that tree...oh, and that person.... He gets a reward when he pulls, namely the chance to explore.
    This practice takes away Lucky's reward. When he pulls, he gets nowhere. When the leash is loose, he gets to explore. As long as he's walking nicely, then he gets what he wants and you get what you want.
    At first, you won't feel like you're getting anywhere. One step, stop. One step, stop. But by the time you're halfway around the block, his mental wheels will be turning. I've had a one-block walk take an hour with a particularly persistent dog, but it WORKS!! You just have to be patient. Bring along some yummy treats and pop one to Lucky occasionally when he's walking the way you want him to. He'll get it!
    Let us know how he's doing!
     
  4. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    Hey Milo..how is it going? CReature teacher..tips for healing off leash? Vic and I got the first part down.He is a joy to walk...has that pretty high step that pointers do naturally. .I had a lab in my teens that I never needed one for and don't remember how we got there. Bronki was an exception...I didn't teach him..he taught me! I would like to despense with the leash for Vic. If I can get a high geared pointer to heel of leash I would feel like we had accomplished something wonderful.
     
  5. CreatureTeacher

    CreatureTeacher New Member

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    I don't know that I would take my pointer off-leash, personally. Labs are very different animals. If Vic spots a rabbit, he'll probably be gone before you can say anything about it. I don't ever take my dogs off leash in unprotected places.

    That said, the best way to take that step is to make yourself more interesting to be around than the great outdoors. That can be hard to do. You have to find your dog's biggest motivator. For example, my Border Collie used to care less what was going on with me if I didn't have a tennis ball. Once I discovered that she would step over her own grandmother for a ball, I had her attention and I could teach her. Find Vic's motivator and offer it to him as a reward for sticking with you.

    The key to obedience off leash is give-and-take. As a hunting dog, Vic is probably fascinated by smells and moving things. As long as he's still listening, allow him to go sniff (which is actually a command for my dogs; "go sniff" is sometimes their reward for being good) or watch birds and small animals. He'll be a lot more willing to stick by you if he knows he's allowed to still do doggy things. It will be a lot more fun for him to go exploring with you than it would be to run off by himself!

    Start out easy. In the front yard, maybe? A place that won't overstimulate him to the point that he'll run off. Do some obedience practice, give lots of treats, and keep his attention on you while remembering to give-and-take. When he's stuck to you like glue, go somewhere a little less familiar (and therefore more exciting). Do the same thing there, and on until you are positive you can trust him off-leash. Constantly reinforce him to stay with you, and make sure he "comes" reliably every time.

    Of course you need to start out with a solid heel on-leash. But you can do it if you try!
     
  6. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    When we go to the off leash, there are 5o acres, lots of dogs, and he always comes when I whistle (i carry a hunter's whistle on my key chain) he minds that just great. He knows that there it is ok to run like the wind, just don't get out of sight. When we walk, we have a slow pace that he seems to really enjoy, his head is even with my knee and the leash is slack. If I see a squirrell or something else interesting I will tell him mark and we enjoy it together. Most the time he goes into a point so that makes it easier, his first response is to freeze, not to chase. I will raise his tail a little so that it makes a prettier point and he will learn to do it naturally..i make sure the leash is always slack.

    WE are taking the leash off at the car in my mom's driveway (there is little or no traffic and i know he isn't going to run away) and I say IN meaning in the yard It is fenced but there is no gate, and he runs very happy with Mary and has a good round about before he skids to the porch and waits at the door. I am praising this big time. He did take a look at the open gate yesterday but when I said NO he spun on a dime and went around the yard again. I think this is a good sign.I don't think this would work at home yet. I am able to drop the leash at the mail box while I have him in Sit and he stays nicely.. he doen'st dodge off the minute he doesn't feel restrained. I praise it big there too. IF i thought he was the kind of pointer that i have had before i wouldn't even dream of trying this..ol Daddy bin snorted the ground up through his nose and blew it out..well you know what I mean. The very very few times Vic did get loose when we first moved in he circled around. I always jumped in the car, circled the block once to find him on the front porch when I got back.I never ever punish for coming, if I went to get him it was praise to come to the car. He was never out of my sight more than span of about 5 minutes. That doesn't happen anymore I am more careful than ever.
    I think there is no better joy then to have a dog that is so well trained (no leash necessary) to live your life with. My second lab was like that.We were a team. I taught him , where with Bronki it just came naturally. Vic really listens to me...I think he is high geared, but has that underlying potential. He has learned sit,stay,heel, down,speak,sit pretty,give,in,up,fetch, and to hike when I take him out. He is now a year old, I would like to do nursing home visitations with him because he is so gentle in his personality and Men, especially old men appriciate his fine looks bird dogs perk them up and u sometimes get a great dog story to go home with.. All we have left to learn for that test is to sit/stay off leash while I leave the room, and not be bothered by yelling or dropping trays.I don't have to worry about him not taking food off the floor or from anyone cause he doens't like anything in the first place.
    I have had him for 6 months now. When we lived at the other house he was staying in the yard with Mary. It took busting him (with a command, never a hit I just mean the slang term) everytime he stepped out of the yard. He did so well that the dog next door woudl come over and play. They would race around both of your adjecent yards without going into the street or the woods. Here that space at the end of my property just calls to his soul. That little stretch of green is a big temptation. He does not step off at any other place. I am going to plant pampass grass, maybe something like bamboo that would spread fast and grow large enough to make passing through to big a pain to bother. I want to teach him that when i say no, you stop and don't go back that way, that your place is with Mary and me. I don't know if that is just when the bond becomes so entwined as with Bronki or if it is something that is taught, or parts of both. Thank you for your advice. I am always learning from everyone, my ol boss said he learned some of the best tips from beginners that had experimented and come up with insightful stuff. With what you wrote I think we are on the right track. We will start go sniff tomorrow. I think that is a great idea.
     
  7. gaddylovesdogs

    gaddylovesdogs no touchy

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    Hey Milo :)

    I do the exact same thing you do. It's going to take a while for it to work--you just have to be firm and consistent. Good luck!
     
  8. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    haha I tried Vic outside in the yard without a leash 5 times tonight.. considering it is 21 degrees I figured he wouldn't go to far..one circle or two around the yard in that cold stuff with Mary, yahoo, but oh it's cold..Mom let's go in NOW! Doesn't hurt to start when the weather is on my side!
     

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