I wrote a reply, tried to drag a link and lost the page and entire post so if it shows up twice, mea culpa.
One of my pet peeves, even before I injured my rotator cuff about 17 yrs ago, was dogs pulling. Keep in mind I don't just have little basenji, but a life of Rotties and Chows. So be it my own or rescues, even pretty much feral rescues, loose leash walking is something I put work into. I have never had a dog who didn't get it fast (once they were basically leash trained)… the longest taking about 2 wks. Sayblee occasionally needs refreshers because the dear daughter doesn't make her behave and she forgets she can't pull on me.
Basically, all I do is the SECOND there is any pressure on the leash I stop and back up and/or change directions. They learn very quickly that pulling means they do NOT get to go where they wanted. Understand this is NOT every pop/jerk action. Also, btw, someone else wrote about not the same requirement out of class I think... ditto here but I never allow pulling be it on long line or leash.
The first link has a lot of lessons, loose leash being one. The dog is most her pics are from my Rottie lines. In 6 generations, we have had 2 coated pups and while the other was just fairly fuzzy, Sugar Bear is quite impressive! So if you ever wanted to see a long-haired Rottie, there she is. Her half-brother was at Westminster this year, btw. We lucked out that Mary, who has an obedience school in MD, had owned a GSD/Rottie mix who looked JUST LIKE a long haired rottie. She fell in love with SugarBear on site so it was a match made in heave for a pup with a DQ that needed a perfect home.
The 2nd is author Kathy Diamond Davis who is a friend who is simply able to write things so clearly. I am putting her whole article here because it is a long link and might be easier than having people copy/paste it all if links don't show up. (yeah i am very new here, will see when I hit send if they work). Kathy's dogs are both therapy/service dogs, so for her, like me, not pulling is a biggie
It took me 10 years and a terribly wild dog to really "get it" about loose-lead walking, so hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and avoid a lot of hassles for yourself and the dog. Teaching dogs to walk on a loose leash at all times has almost been a dog-trainer's secret, because it's somewhat difficult to adequately teach in an obedience class situation. But it's really not so hard, and your slip collar should give plenty of control after you've done this program for just one to two weeks. I know you don't believe that–I didn't, either!
Okay, here's the secret.
Start for a walk with your dog, but forget about getting anywhere this time, and for the next week or so. Instead, keep your attention on whether or not the leash is tight. Do not wait for the dog to pull on the leash, because then both you and the dog will be confused by when lead tension turns into pulling--the distinction is just too hard to consistently recognize. Instead, make your criteria a loose leash.
Check the position of your arm that is holding the leash. Good control means your arm is bent, your elbow is in toward your body. A handler with the arm holding the leash stretched out as he or she walks along has far less control. With your arm bent, you also have the ability to briefly stretch out your arm as you make the maneuver I'm about to describe, giving you a moment of slack in the leash.
Okay, you step out the door and whoops, the leash goes tight. Our natural reactions are to pull or jerk back on the dog, to hold on uncomfortably as we go toward our destination, or even to go faster, letting the dog set the pace. Do not allow yourself to do of these things! Instead, choose one of three things to do. You can stop, abruptly change direction, or back up.
For puppies and soft dogs, stopping may be enough. For a large dog with an established habit of pulling, changing direction will probably work best. Backing up is a nice touch later on, when you and the dog have a lot of training, just to keep it interesting. All of these maneuvers tell the dog, "Oops, if I pull, I get there slower, not faster!"
Remember, your arm's normal position when holding the leash is bent. The leash has now gone tight. Quick (you want this to be a surprise to your dog!), straighten your arm to create an instant's slack in the leash, as you turn and take off in another direction, usually either to your right or back in the direction you came. The dog may feel a quick pop on the leash, but at the same time will realize that "Whoops, I missed a turn, I better catch up!"
Within one to two weeks, your dog will expect the leash to remain loose, because you will have reacted every time it goes tight. You see, we are the ones who teach the dogs to walk on a tight leash and to pull us! Pulling back on the leash creates a natural response in the dog to pull forward. Letting the dog cause us to go faster makes the dog think "Oh, this is the way to get where I want to go! I should pull!" And just letting the leash remain tight as we walk along is constantly telling the dog we want a tight leash, that a tight leash is normal. Jerking back on the leash may work to stop some dogs from pulling, but it is not a clear message to the dog, and will be perceived by some dogs as unfair and upsetting, to the extent that those dogs will become terribly confused.
See, all you have to do is be unpredictable, so your dog has to keep an eye on you to keep pace! The loose leash also causes your dog to pay more attention to you at all times. It keeps you and the dog from becoming dependent on messages through the leash, which are definitely second-best to messages coming from your body and voice. A loose leash makes all training more effective and more humane. The slip collar will give plenty of control with a dog and handler trained to a loose leash. Some dogs will do fine on a buckle collar, but a slip collar can be a good precaution against a buckle collar sliding over the dog's head in an emergency such as another dog attacking it. When kept loose, a slip collar is not obstructing the dog's breathing or causing other problems.
Though a well-trained dog becomes very sophisticated about keeping the leash loose, you will always need to remember to react to a tight leash with your changes of direction, lifelong. Anyone who just walks along with even a well-trained dog keeping the leash tight is telling the dog a tight leash is wanted, and it is important never to give this message. The reason dogs can learn to work on a loose leash in one to two weeks is that it really wasn't a dog problem in the first place. Once we learn how to handle the leash correctly, the dog is happy--and more comfortable!--to cooperate. Puppies can learn this skill right after they learn to walk on a leash. But it takes us humans longer--took me 10 years!
So now you know the secret! I wish you many miles of happy walks--with occasional right turns, about-turns and other surprises to keep both you and the dog having a great time.
Date Published: 6/11/2002 12:05:00 PM<<