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Advanced Dog Leash Training

Updated on December 12, 2013

Training Your Dog to Behave While on the Leash

Owning a pet is a big responsibility. It is often more work than most people realize but it is also very rewarding. As an owner it is up to you to make sure that you have a well behaved, well socialized animal.

Proper dog leash training is key to making sure that your pet is able to go out in public and not be a danger to other people or himself. If properly trained, your dog may just become your best friend.

Every Pet Owner Should Use a Leash

In many places you are legally responsible for all of your dog's actions. If your dog is not on a leash and he knocks your neighbours' child off his bike, or scares your elderly neighbour, you could find yourself being sued. And heaven forbid if he should get frightened, or scared he just might bite, he is after all an animal. Proper dog leash training is an extremely important part of owning a pet.

You might own a very friendly dog. He might get a long with every other dog in the world, but what about the other dog? If your dog is not leashed and a fight breaks out between your dog and another animal you might be paying some very large vet bills. Not only for your dog, but for the other dog as well.

Dogs use their mouths to explore. A dog that is not on a leash can get in to all kinds of trouble. He might decide to devour, some of the neighbour's trash, which contains not only bones but cleaning chemicals. Or he might decide to investigate a dead bird. From poisons to parasites the list is endless. Your animal might only get very sick, but he could potentially die.

If your dog is not leashed, you are not going to know where and when he is doing his business. And if he is using your neighbours yard as his personal bathroom , you are certainly not going to be very popular. Another thing to consider is that in many cases failure to clean-up after your dog can result in a hefty fine.

If for no other reason, then put your dog on a leash because in most places it is the law. Owner's who do not have their pets leashed may find that they facing big fines. Or they may find discover that their dog is staying at the local animal shelter.

Choose a leash and collar that is suited to your dog. Be sure that it is the right size and strength for your pet. You may also want to investigate specialty leashes that are available.

If you love your pet use a leash.

Why Try Clicker Training?

Is Clicker Training a Viable Option for Training Your Dog?

Many people who have owned and trained dogs are reluctant to try something new. They know what works and they stick with it. They are unwilling to reach out and explore new and different training techniques. If it's not broken why fix it is their attitude but, if you can improve it and make it better, faster and easier why not?

Clicker training has been around for a lot longer than most people realise. It began in the fifties and has really taken off in popularity. Why? Because it works! It has been proven to work not only with dogs but with birds, whales dolphins, and the list goes on.

It is also a system that does not use discipline or punishment in the training process. The whole method is based on the positive reinforcement concept. Rather than trying to control and correct your pet you are encouraging him to learn what is good and expected. Animals that receive a reward for good behaviours are inclined to repeat them. If they do not receive attention (either positive or negative) or rewards they will tend to stop or alter their behaviour.

Dogs who are trained using a clicker also tend to retain their training longer and are usually very eager to learn. Clicker training also allows you as the owner to not only teach basic commands but to teach more difficult and complex tricks. You can clicker train down, sit or teach your pet to run an agility course. This is because the clicker process works by using a building block process. Where each command is broken down into small steps.

Many people who do not fully understand how clicker training works are under the misconception that they will always need a clicker with them to get their pet to respond to them . This is not true. The clicker is only a training tool the same as a leash or collar. Ultimately you do not want it use it at all.

If you have not tried clicker training or are unsure if it will work. Go to a local training class and see how well it actually works. You will be surprised at exactly how fast and easy it is to teach an animal using this method of training.

Training Tip

To stop your dog from biting his leash, try coating the leash in something that your dog hates.

Does Your Dog Bite his Leash?

Stop Dog Leash Biting Once and For All!

Many dogs like to grab and bite the leash. When you are out for your daily walk this can get really annoying. It can also become dangerous and expensive if your pet starts chewing right through the leash.

There are some very easy solutions to correct this bad habit.

The easiest thing to try is to coat the leash in something that your dog hates. Many owners find success using bitter lemon but if this isn't working apply the hottest sauce you can find to the leash. It may smell bad and is a bit messy but it doesn't take long for your pet to realize that the leash is not something that he wants in his mouth.

You can also try using the 'stop' method. This is the same technique you use when your dog is leash pulling. 'Stop', don't move don't go anywhere. You might even slowly back-up so that he notices he is going nowhere and getting no reaction. Once he settles down continue the walk. In order for this method to be effective it requires practice and consistency form all the people who walk the dog.

Another technique is the 'toy or alternative'. The moment your dog goes for the leash, tell him 'to leave', and then give him the alternative. Praise and reward. You might even give him a favourite toy at the start of his walk. If he drops the toy and goes for the leash use the 'leave it' command. This is the same basic trick you can use to get your dog to stop chewing in the house.

Try making your walks more challenging. Dogs often grab the leash because they are bored. As you walk along change directions and practice different commands. Practice sit, stay, down etc . the idea is to keep the dog focused on you. You might take the dog somewhere new for his walk. A dog who has lots of different sights and sounds to explore is not going to attack the leash.

Use a very short leash. Gather up all the excess leash into your hand, if he is behaving well, let a bit out. If he starts to bite remove the excess and keep walking quickly. If he behaves let a bit out and praise him for walking nicely. This method does work well if you use it consistently. Your dog will bet the idea that if he want a longer leash he has to behave.

When trying to correct any bad habit, patience and consistency are the key. Be sure to give your pet lots of prise and encouragement when he is doing the right thing. It won't take long before he is no longer interested in his leash.

A Leash Biter in Action

Lacey Doodle, goldendoodle dog misbehaves in front of the Park theater in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

Advanced Leash Training

Some Advanced leash Training Tips.

You have seen those really nice off leash parks where you can take your dog. They look like a lot of fun. But is your dog ready? Only you as the handler can answer that question, and answer it honestly. Does your dog come every time he is called? The first time not the second or third. Does he walk well on the leash? No pulling? Does he perform a proper stay? Can he do a down command? How does he do with other animals? Good with most?

If you have answered no to any of these questions then your dog is not ready for a dog park. You are going to have to go back and work on these skills. You and the dog need to start practicing. Remember that training is an on going process. That old saying you can't teach an old dog new tricks is just a myth. Go back to basics.

Start with the sit command. See how quickly your pet responds. Do you have to repeat the command? Is is a good sit or is it sloppy?

If you and members of your household have been really lenient with practice you might want to go back to using the leash in the house. Tie the leash to your waist and have the dog follow you around. Make sure he is following and you remember nobody gets to pull. If he starts to pull STOP. Call him to you. Praise when he responds.

Also start working on the stay command. Once again put him on the leash and use it in the house as often as you can. If he moves before you have given the release grab the leash and take him back to start. If he does stay, reward and praise. Get other members of the house to work with the dog as well. The more practice the better but keep sessions short and happy.

As you work together indoors his confidence will grow. Once he is responding well to all his commands indoors, move to working outside. Make sure that you are following all the same rules when he goes for walks. Be sure to practice your heel command as often as possible.

When your dog has got his basics down, take him an off leash park. Do not let him off the leash. But let him explore and meet new animals. Keep him close to you and work on different commands. See how well he responds with other animals around. You may need to practice this for quite a while before your animal realises that you are still in control.

If he shows any aggression towards other dogs, back up your training. Take socialization seriously. Aggressive dogs are not welcome in off leash parks. Some dogs just do not get along well with others. Try going for walks where you may only encounter one or two dogs. Get your dog accustomed to being around other animals. Try walking with a neighbour and his dog.

Remember your goal is to be able to allow your pet the freedom of working off leash. But to reach that goal you are going to need to work on all his leash training first. Off leash parks still have rules and regulations that you have to follow and the first one is to be in control of your animal. With time, patience and love you can train your dog to work well both on and off his leash.

Dogs or Cats? - Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Which one are you?

Off Leash Training

Trust Your Dog to Behave While Off the Leash.

Having a dog be able to work off leash is very rewarding and fun for the dog. But you as the owner have to be certain that your dog is well trained and mature enough to be off a leash. You also never want to endanger anyone else, their dog or yours. You have to be certain that your dog is very good with his basic commands.When you train your dog to come every time, when he knows how to do a long stay and a down then you can begin training him to work off leash. To begin off leash training the tools you are going to need are a retractable leash and a drag line.

Put your dog on a retractable leash. Give your dog a stay command and then walk away from him. Only walk a few feet. If he stays, go back to him give a reward and praise. If he does try to move, return him to the original spot. As he gets better at staying at a longer distance, increase the number of steps that you take and change the direction that you move away from him. Walk to the side of your dog or behind him but make sure that he does move from his stay position.

Also practice getting him to come from a distance. Give him the stay command, walk the full length of the leash wait a few seconds and then call him to you. Keep working at this until he does it the first time you call. Try it, using distractions, have children nearby, or a toy. Make sure that the dog stays focused on you.

Practice your dog heeling technique with the leash in your pocket. You do not want to have to touch the leash. You can use your retractable leash to practice heeling. As you walk allow him to explore then call him back into to your side. If he comes back to position reward and praise. If he does not respond change direction. Bring his attention back to you.

Once your dog is doing these things really well move to a drag line. Use a light line that is about 30 feet long. Do the same basic commands but leave the leash on the ground. Allow the dog to drag the line. The lighter the line the better, but remember it must be strong enough to hold your dog should you need to make an immediate correction.

Once he is doing these exercises well add more distractions. You want to see how well he can maintain his focus. Take him to an off leash park but keep him on a drag line. At this point you still want to have absolute control. Make the walk challenging, change the direction that you walk, make sharp turns. Issue different commands while you are walking, Get him to sit or stay at different intervals. Watch how he responds. If you are not keeping his attention, back up your training a bit.

Once you decide that your dog is ready to try being off leash be sure that you are in a safe environment. Do not assume that things are going to go perfectly. Make sure that you do not endanger other people or your animal. Work in a fenced yard. An off leash park is not the best place to have your first trial, you want as few distractions as possible. Practice all his basic commands until you are certain that he is responding every time you issue a command. Then get ready for the plunge of taking him to an off leash park.

Remember that training, never ends. You have to keep working at it. If at any time your dog starts to ignore you or does not respond immediately go back a few steps. As a responsible owner you have to be in control of your dog at all times, even in a leash free park. Safety always comes first, only have your dog off the leash in areas where it is allowed and is free of any potential dangers.

Training Tip

Remember that training, never ends. You have to keep working at it.

Teach Your Dog Jump

Teach Your Dog to Jump on Command

This a fairly easy and fun trick to teach your dog. To start you are going to need a leash, some treats and a long pole.

Suspended the pole about two or three inches off the ground. Then put your pet on his leash. Get him to sit beside you facing the pole. Start walking slowly, when you reach the pole give the command 'jump; and both of you go over. Be sure to praise and give him a reward. Try this a few times.

Once he is comfortable get him to sit and stay. Take the end of the leash and go to the other side of the pole. Call your dog to you. Every time he goes over the pole give the command 'jump'. Be sure he gets lots of praise every time he goes over. It will not take long for him to grasp the concept. Raise the bar a little higher as your dog gains confidence. But be careful, never raise the bar higher than the dog's shoulders you do not want to cause the dog injury.

A cute variation on this trick is to use a hoop.

Hoop Jumping - Pepper showing off, jumping through a hoop

Training Talk - Share your thoughts, stories and comments

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