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Discussion Starter #1
The turbo-charged butt-muscles and extreme ValleyGirl distractability of teenagerhood has Grimm in it's grip. He TRIES to control himself on walks. Many times he does good, but, it is a constant struggle for him, for us. It can be like walking a baby rhino who's just chugged 7 expressos. (and yep.. I do excersise him to the best of my ability, and he isn't restless indoors)

Anyway, when a dog pulls onlead, the relationship could use some work. What reationship/control/focus-building excersises help with creating a good foundation that will transfer to walking nicely on lead? I can't do anything about Grimm beingan adolesent youngster.. that's OK, but I would like to create a habit of focus and awareness of me, even on walks.

Our limits are that he needs to be in a Halti when we walk out the door. I hate Haltis. But, they help in preventing Mr Party-Starter from initiating hoop-de-doos with other dogs and dragging me into traffic. I have clicker and treats (kibble, he has a sensitive tummy), and he works super for chest-scritches and treats. Working against us is that there is NO chance to gradually increase levels of distractions. Step outside the door here, and you are surrounded by metropolitan chaos.. no quiet parks to be away from bikes, joggers, dogs, kids with balls, etc. Think: Downtown Manhattan at rush-hour.. all the time.

What has helped you build a foundation of focus and mutual awareness, improving your relationship in general-- to foster better attentiveness for loose-lead walking in your experience?
 

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Talking a lot. I am not a guru with the leash at all, so this is my only suggestion-but to pass the CGC you need to do loose lead walking. Bruno is a Schipperke mix and has ants in his pants as well. Plus he loves to showboat. And often finds things on the ground that I cannot see-that are really VERY important to run to and sniff.

So when we practiced I found that keeping a running commentary really helped, marking with just the right level of enthusiasm (too much and he hops up) when he was placed nicely and attending to me and lowering my voice when he started to go off on his own. I would have thought that it would have become part of the background noise, but apparently me telling him about work and my to do list was quite fascinating.


All I needed was the tinfoil on my head to complete the look, having my conversations with Bruno. So that's my one suggestion!
 

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I would agree with talking a lot, and also intermittent exciting surprises. It seems to be about being more exciting than the environment.

What I did (and I'm not sure that this would work for you) was bring his favorite toy along (tennis ball) and hide it in a pocket, and when I'd get to a good grassy median or lawn or sidewalk space where he would be safe, I'd toss out his ball. Food didn't work for us, it wasn't as motivating because he could eat it and go right back to whatver he was doing. I might toss his ball 3 or 4 times in a 15 minute walk, and pretty soon, he was walking right alongside waiting to see when I was going to pop out that ball!

I assigned the word "walk" to the behavior, and now that he's older I made it a "you must" command and disobeying now earns a correction on his prong collar, which seems to have proofed the command.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you Jean and JKlatsky! Jan, did you have a bullhorn in hand at the time?
I could try that with Grimm, but I am worried a running commentary might cause him to tune me out, in time.. maybe varying the tone might help? I bring his Cuz on walks. It hides in my pocket, and sometimes squeaks at Grimm. Sometimes he gets to carry it, sometimes not. We DO use food though.. one treat, and he is eager to see if another is a-comin'. Will that be good for us, or detrimental, as I should intersperse it maybe more with praise and at some point phase out the oinkfests?
 

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Changing directions works for me. Luca still has days when he's on a mission to get somewhere and decides to lead the parade.

When he gets to the end of the leash, I turn and go the other way, without warning and without saying anything.

In this ridiculous manner, we have many times covered the same half block of sidewalk up and back, up and back, until I'm sure people thought we were picketing.

It works even better when we are in an open area, such as at the park. Then I can turn and go in any random direction. After a few minutes of "follow the crazy unpredictable human" he decides that perhaps it would be easier just to pay attention and let me lead.
 

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We do the same thing! Bear is my *trouble walker* and always has to be a few steps ahead of the rest of us, so i will randomly change directions without notice making them have to pay attention to me. Although poor Mya is great on the leash, she too, endures the "crazy unpredictable human" when im working with Bear. He also wears a halti, this is my first time using one during training, but its working like MAGIC! lol He pulled right through the prong collar, and i was begininng to wonder if his constant pulling on it would injure his throat, so i switched to a halti and its made a world of difference. He threw a fit the first time we wore it on a walk, flailing around like a fish outta water, but quickly realized i wasnt going to stop moving so he had to quit being a doofus and follow the pack. Good Luck Patti!
 

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Tracy, I can just hear the neighbor ladies behind their curtains watching out windows:

"Oh, Ethel.. it's so sad. There he is again, that nice Tracy man. They say he's mostly functional, but.. *tsk*...just look at him. Can't make it down the street, even...."

"*tsk-tsk*...I had a cousin who was the same way....."

I think I will throw a few more curves Grimmi's way, changing directions when he gets distracted and bullheaded. (I wanna be the talk of the town, too..)
 

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There are tons of exercises that can be used to develop focus and actual eye contact, but one thing that really REALLY took me and Kenya from loose-leash walking to a good heel was me being unpredictable, as Ailyn said. For example, we'd start off walking and instead of turning right like we always do, I'd abruptly stop and do an about turn. Or, I'd suddenly slow waaaaaay down. I guess the success will depend on how important it is to Grimm to be "with" you. Kenya is very serious and intense and she is always concerned about doing everything right in my eyes. Doing these random stops, turns, and changes of pace were little checks on her attention. If I would stop and she wasn't paying attention, she'd hit the end of the leash, look surprised, and then give me a look like, "oh shoot! sorry!" and swing herself back to heel. Now I can stop, turn, and change pace without having to physically maneuver her or getting all tripped up over the leash. If she gets ahead of me and starts pulling, the walk simply stops. I don't correct or do anything, I just STOP walking and we start again when she moves back and the leash is slack again.
 

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Originally Posted By: BrightelfTracy, I can just hear the neighbor ladies behind their curtains watching out windows:

"Oh, Ethel.. it's so sad. There he is again, that nice Tracy man. They say he's mostly functional, but.. *tsk*...just look at him. Can't make it down the street, even...."

"*tsk-tsk*...I had a cousin who was the same way....."

I think I will throw a few more curves Grimmi's way, changing directions when he gets distracted and bullheaded. (I wanna be the talk of the town, too..)

You're too funny, Patti! Moving to Germany has brought out the comedian in you, huh?

Grimm needs a job that keeps him occupied. Do you have one of those little strollers to go grocery shopping with? I don't know what they're called. Maybe you can arrange that Grimm could pull it. I think he would do great with that. It would burn off energy, bc he needs to concentrate. And don't worry what the neighbors say- they always knew Americans were weird- ehm, different
 

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I think the way I've gotten my best loose leash walking focus, is to 1. do what tracy does, changing direction, 2. actually keeping my mouth "shut", but always praising for "good" positions and 3. walking like I am "on a mission"...:)) confident, leash in hand and GO.. if I even walked like I'm just "moseying" along, my dogs are like THIS IS NO FUN,, (of course now as they've matured, they don't mind moseying along:))) SHE is no fun, SHE isn't interesting, so I moved like I had a 'mission' LOL..
diane
 

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Mädchen LOL
I don't think we could manage a grocery cart, but you are apparently right about the job-to-do part. If I give Grimm his Cuz toy to carry, he gets happy but sober, serious, and while he occasionally still surges ahead, he seems to be concentrating a bit better. Wonder what folks thinks, seeing yellow shoes protruding from out of Grimm's muzzle? By the way, everyone here knows I'm an Ami before I even open my mouth. In a sea of dark, neutral-colored jackets and coats, I kinda stand out.. ya think?


(off-lead briefly by a school, clicking and treating for a recall.. the raised paw is a 'Grimmi specialty')




Diane, thanks for the advice. I have Grimm in a Halti (hate it, hate it, hate it.. but it helps with doggy-onlead-reactivity) for now. I will try changing directions etc-- am just careful not to hurt his face/neck with the Halti. (but WOW have I learned that dog reeeeally CAN pull with Haltis on!!)

Anyway, We need to be out there walking for a good 45 minutes each walk.. cos we live in a highrise, and this is what is fair to Grimm-- several LONG walks per day. I think I can devote the first 15 minutes to the zippy-direction-changes-walking rutine.. by then he hopefully will have it in his mind to walk with me. I don't expect perfect heeling, but surging ahead seems to be his main problem, even though he gets excersised as much as possible. He's just 17 months old, seems 7 months old though. I try to set him up for success as much as possible, trying not to work against nature.. we both do the best we can, but I am always looking to make it so we are more of a team.
 

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Patty,

I know I've given you this advice before but why not let him carry a toy? Rafi is also a job oriented dog and walks much better when he has his toy. He is also less reactive when he sees other dogs because he knows he has to take care of his toy.
I carry a toy with rope through it. Sometimes I hold one end of the rope while he holds the toy in his mouth. Then I end up walking him with the toy! He loves that. So why not try giving him something to be responsible for on his walks? Maybe you could teach him to carry his own leash! I knew a standard poodle like that!
 

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Ruth, the toy was YOUR idea for about a month ago, and I just remembered it this week! Thank you!!
 

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Glad it's working! Basu started this. He used to carry tiny stuffies and there would be a foot sticking out. It kind of freaked people out.
Then he would carry the tiny cuzes with feet sticking out. Rafi prefers larger toys that I inevitably end up carrying at some point because he gets too hot.
 

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By the way, not sure what collar we will be using after the send-away training. The trainer HATED my positive clicker training and Halti methods, and was pretty derogatory about those methods. I used to think they were useless too, until I tried them, and got a responsive, open dog. (note: I do give SOME corrections-- Grimm is the kind of dog who needs really clear borders and leadership to be settled.. he becomes unsettled without SOME corrections when needed) I have decided I will continue with the clicker training, toy luring, chest-scritching motivators and do mainly positive with Grimm. Commands are non-negotiable, but I tend to 'invite' Grimm to work WITH me. It gets to be more of a dance that way. But-- I do admit, again, Grimm relaxes visibly when he knows he has someone to follow. Am hoping to use a martingale or fursaver for my regular collar someday.
 

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Don't forget about the front clip harness collars! I keep pushing those because I think they might work well with your disabilities! They give good control and do not harm the dog in any way.
 

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I'm glad to see there are others who are walking their dogs while they're holding a toy.

Taedyn cannot calm down while outside or in foreign places if she's not holding something. She's erratic, looking everywhere and pulling in all directions. But, as soon as she has something to hold, she becomes calm and more manageable.

So... now I just make sure she has something safe to hold before we go out.
 

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I still struggle with Risa with this a bit. Partly because I let her walk at the end of her leash. Yep, I let her do it. I don't let her pull me (if she starts, I stop dead in my tracks) but I do let her range out a bit. Fortunately, we are able to walk on a sidewalk with a good-sized barrier of grass between it and the road. If we didn't, I would certainly step up our work on walking next to me at all times.

I've started carrying her tuggie with me on walks (to work with her reactivity) and I occasionally pull it out just to play with her. Not just because we saw another dog. Every once in a while, I notice she will turn and look at me. I instantly praise her for that. And sometimes I will whip out her tuggie and we'll have a rousing game all because she gave me eye contact. I always let her win the tug. Sometimes she will carry it for a while or drop it after a few steps. I've noticed she has started turning to give me eye contact when we walk past fences that almost always have dogs barking behind them (whether the dogs are out or not). Not all eye contact is rewarded with playtime but I try to reward it with something. Even if it's just verbal praise.

We've also spent time not on walks working on attention. Especially lately with our attempts to curb her reactivity. She's getting to the point where seeing/hearing a scary thing means 'turn to Mom to get a treat/good thing.' It doesn't work all the time but I've seen a lot of improvement. Just working with Ris and helping show her that the world isn't so scary has really helped us form a bond and made her realize that I am important enough to be paid attention to. All of this has helped her loose-lead walking and she's not so much on her own agenda on walks.
 
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