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Discussion Starter #1
I am having a bit of difficulty understanding the correct terminology to describe the styles of walking a dog. It seems that some of the terms can be used interchangeably.
So far we have worked on:
A. Wanding around freely within the radius of the lead. I have been calling this 'go play.' Pup has the freedom to run and play as long he does not pull the leash. Pup is free to interact with the world unless I tell him to 'leave it.' It is what I say when I take pup out to go potty or exploring.
B. Sticking loosely to my left side. This is something new this week. I don't intend it to be a formal heel. (We will probably add that later) More of an increased level of control. As we approach distractions, I call pup into this position by stopping and saying, "Ready." Pup sits at my left side. When I step off, I say 'let's go.' My goal is that pup can still look at distractions as they move by, but he should not interact with them unless freed with a 'go play.'

I am curious about how others handle these situations.
 

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We’ve been working on 3 styles:

1. Long lead explore similar to yours, free to interact but no pulling. I use his 20 foot long leash for this. I don’t have a command for this style and sometimes I hold the lead, sometimes it drags.

2. ‘With me’: on my left side close, free to sniff lightly but must remain close

3. ‘Fuss’: competition heel with attention on me
 

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I use "with me" to mean move within a 6 ft radius of me, as if on an invisible leash. The pups quickly learn that a with me is generally issued when there is a distraction. At this point a couple of things can happen. If they wander beyond their invisible 6 ft leash while the distraction is still present, a repeated with me brings them back in. If they stay in the radius for the distraction, and I want them to move closer, another with me is given and they move in another couple of feet. I can repeat this again to bring them a bit closer.

I use "here" to get them to get within touching distance of me and for them to stay that close to me until released. No position in particular is expected.

I no longer teach a formal heel as it is a command that I found to be nonfunctional for me.

I don't leash them up until after they are a year and I find they make the transition quite easily without any pulling. Even then, I only use a leash if necessary.
 

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I don't leash them up until after they are a year
I am jealous. Where I live, a leash is required for every trip outside. Pup has to adjust early.

We did find a nice apple orchard about 4 miles from our house. It is several hundred acres with an 8-foot fence all the way around. The owners were happy to let us wander around, chase varmints, and leave some dog smells around the trees.
 

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B just sounds like a loose leash walk, or LLW. You can assign any criteria to it that you want, and then consistently reinforce that criteria, whatever it is. For me, that's at my left side, within a foot or two of me (not too picky about this), and any part of the dog's body from head to hindquarters next to me. No pulling. Ideally the dog is no further ahead than about mid rib cage next to my leg, but I'm not a stickler for that. If she wants to check something out, I make her sit and "watch", and then release her - "okay, go sniff". I also use "let's go" as my LLW cue.
 

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I am jealous. Where I live, a leash is required for every trip outside. Pup has to adjust early.

We did find a nice apple orchard about 4 miles from our house. It is several hundred acres with an 8-foot fence all the way around. The owners were happy to let us wander around, chase varmints, and leave some dog smells around the trees.
It is nice that the owners of the orchard let you use it for your dog.

My entire state is under one big leash law. If you aren't on private property or at a dog park, your dog must be leashed. People here accept the calculated risk of running their dogs off leash. The trade off is invaluable.
 

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i used to walk Keystone in a heel. best and worst thing that could have happened to me is becoming a Guide Dog trainer. i'm used to getting pulled around by dogs 8hrs a day. Keystone had no problem adjusting :p
 

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"Loose leash walking" is what most pet owners want and rarely get. It just means the dog doesn't apply pressure to the leash that we feel in our shoulder joints.

If you think about it, though, it's more of a partnership than simply a dog behavior.

If the dog sniffs and you keep walking, you get pressure. If you stop and let him sniff, there's no pressure.

I've tried several different methods, but the one I'm using right now is almost pure positive reinforcement. I treat Jupiter for walking at my side or looking up at me from my side. The first day, I only got about half way down the block, because I reinforced (that is, gave him a treat), every single step. Yes, every single step. The next day, every three steps. The next day, every five steps. I'm currently up to every fifteen steps, and my walk is about a mile or so. The only time my shoulder feels pressure is if there's a particularly enticing smell. Given that dogs are basically walking noses and there's plenty of arguments that they should be allowed to sniff, at least sometimes, that seems pretty good to me.

Time will tell how far I can stretch it with this training method, but I wouldn't be surprised if I end up carrying treats with me for walks permanently. I think that's okay.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks,

It sounds like several people use the general categories of: explore, loose leash walk, and formal heel. We just use slightly different names and slightly different criteria base on our own needs and expectations.

Seeing as how it was below zero Fahrenheit at noon when we usually do our outside work, we went to Home Depot and worked in the lawn/garden fertilizer aisle. We didn't see another person :)
 
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