Teaching dogs to walk nicely together

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Sweet72947, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    Separately or together, Daisy walks fine. Benji walks fine separately, and is well-behaved, but with Daisy he pulls and he gets reactive to other dogs and people. Today I tried training him to walk loose leash with Daisy by the turning around thing. He did NOT understand. Daisy was getting annoyed by it and threw out some yawns. I have also tried the "standing like a tree". He does not understand that either.

    How can I teach Benji to behave when he's being walked with Daisy? He's so willful and it takes many many many repetitions to teach him anything. It took three months to teach him to lay down. (With Daisy it took maybe three minutes when she was 10 weeks old). Another thing with Benji, you can work with him on something, but if you forget and give him a CENTIMETER, that undoes all your work and you have to start all over again. Its so aggravating.

    TIA for suggestions.
     
  2. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    Do you have someone who can walk with you? They can hold Daisy's leash while you walk Benji. That way you don't have to stress Daisy out. You can also have them start across the street waling parallel to each other and see if at that distance Benji will behave. If he does you can slowly move closer together so long as he remains well behaved.
     
  3. Domestika

    Domestika New Member

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    Yeah, I was going to say having someone walk the other dog might be a good first step. That way the good walker doesn't have to go through all the same antics. And maybe the poorer walker would even take a cue from the other dogs better behaviour? Without being all worked up about it. Just observe it from a distance, sort of.
    I wonder if walking them parallel but distance would work... I know my dog just pulls like crazy to be around other dogs. The distance would make her walking a lot worse. I wonder why Benji gets reactive to dogs and people, though. Is it like...a protection thing? Or is it more like "Wow, I'm out with my dog friend and my people and I'm excited about everything!!"?
     
  4. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    The reactivity is a "holy crap strange person/dog get away from me" thing.

    But he doesn't typically do it when Daisy isn't there. Although he did react to a guy who wanted to pet Sizzle's Rumor when we were in Alexandria for that meetup. We were standing in the parking lot and the guy walked up and asked to pet Rumor and Benji started barking, and I walked him away while the guy petted Rumor.

    Today when we went on a walk, my neighbor was out riding her bike with her GSD off leash, and we were at least several yards away, and Benji barked and barked. It was interesting because we were such a distance away.

    One thing that needs to be done with Benji is work on his socialization. I've been working with Daisy but not so much with Benji in that area.
     
  5. TheGoldenRetriever

    TheGoldenRetriever New Member

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    Sounds like it may not specifically be a leash-walking problem .... but rather that he's protective and "guardy" toward Daisy.
     
  6. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    TGR you may be partially correct. I think another factor may be that he has Daisy there to back up his big mouth. Daisy has proved that she will protect him if the situation arises. I think sometimes Benji acts up because he knows Daisy has his back, so to speak.
     
  7. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    How do you walk them - one on each side of you, in "heel" position, both on the same side in heel position, both out in front of you, etc.??

    And how do you walk them when they are separate?
     
  8. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    I was going to ask the same as Lizzybeth...

    I would walk them on two seperate leashes, together, and be very strict about the "be a tree" method. The instant there is tension, you have to stop and wait. Once the dog loosens up the tension on their own and looks to you, continue. When I first started using the method, I would call them back to my left side and praise/treat as well. After a while, they not only pay attention to how tight the leash is, they also keep an eye on me and linger at my side frequently because they know they get rewarded for those behaviors.

    It's pretty tricky to handle two dogs at once, when one is being reactive toward other dogs/people. To work on the loose leash walking, I would try to walk them together either early in the morning or late at night, when there aren't going to be lots of distractions. I would also work a lot on heeling with both of them together, so that you can draw Benji's focus to that before he gets into reactive mode.
     
  9. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    They walk out in front of me, Daisy loose lead, Benji notsomuch. I have tried the tree method with Benji and we stand there. And stand there. And stand there. And stand there.

    On his own, the turning around worked pretty good. As for heeling, I am having trouble with that. Daisy will heel next to me but look all around and after a minute she'll try to sniff stuff, I have trouble keeping her attention.

    Benji and heeling? HA! He has never grasped the concept.
     
  10. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Yeah, I think you'll have to teach them that you control the situation, before they can learn not to react to other dogs. ESPECIALLY Benji. I think you'll have to go back to basics with teaching him to walk with a loose leash - notice, he doesn't have to "heel," as long as he's in the general vicinity of your side with no tension on the leash. The tension is very important, because if a dog sees another dog leaning into the leash, they often misinterpret the body language and think that the pulling dog is being reactive/aggressive simply from the body posture. Then the other dog starts posturing, and then the pulling dog starts reacting. That's why IMO the first thing to do if your dog starts reacting to another dog is to do whatever it takes to get your leash loose - turn around and get his attention off the other dog, move out of sight, distract him if you can, etc.

    IMO, the "be a tree" method only works with about 5% of dogs. I think it's a great way to start training, and I do recommend it, but if it hasn't worked by now it's not the method for you. Instead, when your dog starts pulling ahead, you can try taking a few steps backward.... how many steps and how quickly you go back depends on the dog and on the intensity of the pulling, so you'll need to feel that out for yourself. I put "back" on cue, so that the dog learns to walk straight back (not a natural behavior) instead of turning around.

    You can also try pivoting - if he starts pulling, before he gets out in front of you too far (like his ribs or waistline is in line with your leg), do a quick turn into your dog. You can turn 180 degrees or 360, depending on the dog and level of distraction (sometimes I do several turns in a row if I'm working with a more advanced dog and/or with so many distractions that he's still fixated after one turn). This is a good method because it not only stops the dog from pulling (incompatable behavior - he can't pull while he's spinning in a circle), but it gets his attention on you.

    Of course, practice in the house first, or an area with VERY VERY little distractions (inside). Once it's good there, practice outside with VERY VERY little distractions (maybe the yard where he's used to being every day), THEN try it on a walk down the street (still avoiding other dogs or any other major distractions until he's a bit more reliable).
     

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