When to use leash pressure vs. leash pops - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2017, 03:24 AM Thread Starter
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When to use leash pressure vs. leash pops

I have confusion on when it's best to use leash pressure (neg reinforcement) vs. leash pops (positive punishment) to change behavior. For example, when loose leash walking and my dog stops to sniff something and is taking too long and not responding to my "Leave It" command, is it best to use leash pressure to get him to start walking again or a couple pops on the leash or a single hard pop?

I can't really find a good source that really explains when to use specific types of aversives to manipulate behavior and why to use certain types over others in different circumstances.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2017, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Wolfhund View Post
I have confusion on when it's best to use leash pressure (neg reinforcement) vs. leash pops (positive punishment) to change behavior. For example, when loose leash walking and my dog stops to sniff something and is taking too long and not responding to my "Leave It" command, is it best to use leash pressure to get him to start walking again or a couple pops on the leash or a single hard pop?

I can't really find a good source that really explains when to use specific types of aversives to manipulate behavior and why to use certain types over others in different circumstances.
Have you checked Tyler Mutos leash pressure techniques. It might help you out. I guess he uses the neg reinforcement way with a prong, in that the dog corrects himself by not paying attention to the handler, rather than being corrected for a behavior.

Simply stamping on the ground loudly towards the dog can get his attention or the leash pop may get the dogs attention and then move you move on. The stamping towards the dog is seen as social pressure by the author of the site i'm posting below. More info on Operant condition there too which might help you..

You have an interesting perspective on the situation any ways. .

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2017, 08:33 AM
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For not leaving a sniffing spot I usually don't use either. My big boy can be stubborn and a pop won't do it. I use leash pressure if I am in a hurry. Usually I go over to my dog and walk into his head /shoulder area and gently but firmly move his head with my shins until he gets his head back up. Once his head is up he moves along. I repeat the move along command once his head is up because when his head is in the smell he might not have even heard me.

I suspect it is the scent of some "sweet young thing" that gets him so stuck.
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Last edited by car2ner; 08-19-2017 at 08:36 AM.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2017, 08:52 AM
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Usually I just say leave it and the dog leaves it. On the rare occasions where they don't, I just say come on and start walking. The dog will either walk with me or get drug along. So I guess that would be leash pressure.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2017, 09:02 AM
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Usually I just say leave it and the dog leaves it. On the rare occasions where they don't, I just say come on and start walking. The dog will either walk with me or get drug along. So I guess that would be leash pressure.

LOL, yes, I think sometimes we really do over think things. Yes, there are times when it boils down to "I'm moving and you're coming..end of story.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2017, 11:41 AM
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If I've taught a dog what leave means and they don't respond, a leash pop backs up my request and gets their attention. Using the same scenario, if I'm teaching a dog the command and the dog pulls or lays hard into a scent, they've created the pressure themselves, so I hold my ground (fixed pressure)... they learn that they can control the release and I'm there to reward any moment of yeilding to the pressure - a reward can be good, praise, toy, physical, or merely continuing to walk.

Another way to utilize collar pressure is when you're trying to get a response out of your dog but it's not necessarily something that you want your dog to leave alone. For example a dog that doesn't want to get in a crate - obviously the best way is to encourage or lure them in but once you're in the middle of "the fight", encouragement can be seen as rewarding the resistance, as well as releasing the pressure and allowing the dog to flee. Calm fixed pressure only gives them one choice... the objective then being to at least release the pressure, you can revisit the idea of getting all the way in the crate later with a revised strategy.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2017, 12:38 PM
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I use leash pressure as a training tool, to show the dog what I want. When the dog yields to pressure I mark and reward.

A collar pop would be more of a correction for not doing what I want.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2017, 09:50 PM
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As others have said, teach a 'leave it' command. I often ask my students who is walking who if they stop and keep telling the dog to leave it or just stand there waiting for the dog. 'Leave it' and keep walking and the dog will learn to do what you ask. An enthusiastic 'Yes!' and verbal praise as soon as the dog starts walking again. And there are some days when it is just pretty out and I'm walking the dog so it can be just a dog and I'll let it sniff as long as it wants.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-20-2017, 02:24 AM Thread Starter
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I suspect it is the scent of some "sweet young thing" that gets him so stuck.
My male is intact and I intend to keep him this way. He knows the leave it command, but there are some scents (which I highly suspect are female orientated) where he literally drools over and he will completely disregard the Leave It command unless I use leash pressure or a pop. Both are effective, but leash pops seem to be snap him out of it faster.


I am curious if enough leash pops will eventually teach him to override the overwhelming competing motivator so he will learn LEAVE IT MEANS LEAVE It or will have to indefinitely use leash pops to redirect his attention. If it is the latter, it would seem leash pressure over the long run would be a wiser aversive as the continuous corrections would maybe desensitize him to corrections for other behaviors where the corrections would actually work to eliminate the behavior.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-20-2017, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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in that the dog corrects himself by not paying attention to the handler, rather than being corrected for a behavior.
I could see the self-correcting on a prong working for sensitive dogs, but my dog is a puller and not too soft. It would seem that allowing a dog to rehearse pulling with a prong would just desensitize the dog to the prong just like pulling into a flat collar. So this obviously needs to be corrected. I am wondering if maximizing the leash pressure by using a strong steady pull back is more effective to stop the pulling (with the immediate release of pressure) or whether backward pop corrections are more effective.

Also, I have watched some of Tyler Muto's leash pressure video and it seems to contradict Michael Ellis's methods. Muto states that pulling straight back in line with the spine is bad for the dog's spine, but Ellis believes pulling back straight along the spine is the proper way to get a dog to back up with leash pressure (at least with regards to focused heeling work). Is there any scientific evidence that back's up Muto's claims that pulling straight back along the spine is harmful to the dog's back?
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