I’m going to walk you through a simple, practical example. Let’s say you’re trying to train a dog.
You’ve got a dog and you want it to behave like a dog. If the dog will only do what you tell it, how would you go about doing that?
…or maybe this is not your dog (this is mine). He’s a very excited puppy in training. He wants to play so I have him on his leash and he jumps up on the couch and then runs away in the other direction.
I am walking him back but he doesn’t want me there at all. Is this all just some kind of mistake or am I doing something wrong?
…or maybe this is not my dog (this is my friend’s). He just loves playing with his ball, so I let him chase it around the floor until it rolls under the sofa where he lays down, panting contentedly for a couple of minutes!
I am walking him back but he doesn’t want me there at all. Is this all just some kind of mistake or am I doing something wrong?
If you are trying to train your own dog, one thing which stands out as really obvious is that there is one obvious thing that works every time: use leashes.
If you are walking your dog using your hand or even using a leash, then things will work out much better for both of you than if you were just trying to obey commands and use words instead.
That said, there are many other ways to help your pet learn what they need and what they don’t need; we cover them here as well (also in Part 2 ).
Why Does My Dog Pull Me When I Go For a Walk?
Dogs are pack creatures like wolfs are. They have a hierarchy in their pack. The fact that your dog is pulling it is believed that it is an attempt to be a leader of his pack.
If your canine is well behaved and obedient at your home that means he is not the alpha dog and he will not pull as soon as you go out of the house.
Your dog pulls and you have no control. He is getting where he wants to go. So he will keep pulling since there is no one to stop him.
Even when you unleash your dog either because your hands are in pain or you might be afraid that he is hurt then this is the best reward for him.
Your dog learns that pulling pays off and he can go whenever directions he wants to go.
Dog Training Basics
Every dog knows that when you stand in front of it, it has to follow you. Every dog knows that when you turn your head, it has to turn too. Every dog knows that if you ask it to sit, it has to sit. It is a basic part of every dog’s life.
It’s also part of ours. In the last couple of decades, there have been a lot of developments in canine training and behavior modification techniques — some good, some bad — but we’ve reached a point where the most successful techniques are still based on behaviors ingrained in our dogs decades ago (principally Sit and Down).
So, I thought I would write up a handy guide for anyone who is interested in making their own training program but doesn’t have a lot of money or time on their hands. It boils down to this:
- Become familiar with the dog and its natural tendencies
- Understand what motivates the dog and how to reach that motivation
- Know what behaviors are effective with your pet
- Figure out what behavior you want your pet to show (and why)
- Identify which exercises will work best for your pet (and why).
- How to Leash Train a Puppy
If we understand how a dog learns, we can use this knowledge to train dogs for specific jobs.
First, you have to teach your dog what he is supposed to do. Once he knows that, you have to reinforce the behavior with food or treats. Doing this often enough will keep his mind on what he is supposed to do – which makes it much easier for him to learn new behaviors (like walking on a leash).
The next step is more difficult. You want to train your puppy so that she will perform well in every situation, but she might not think of every situation as an opportunity for performance.
It’s important not to let her feel like she has done something wrong if she misses an opportunity for performance: if she does something wrong, don’t punish her; instead, reward her for doing the right thing.
Why You Should Leash Train Your Dog
From the dog’s point of view, a dog is a machine. It is also, most importantly, its owner. Every day — every motion it makes — it has to make decisions about whether to go here or there or do what its owner wants it to do. It must also decide about how long before it will look for its next meal and how much the journey will cost.
This is why we advocate leash training as the best way to teach your dog (or any other pet) to be a good, well-behaved member of society.
Leash training isn’t just for dogs anymore: I would argue that almost all species should be trained in this way too by somebody with a bit of basic training experience (more on that in a later post). And pets are no exception; even kids need to be taught some basic rules and manners from time to time.
To do this you need to get your best friend (in our case, my dog Scooby) used to you first so that he knows you are there for him whenever he needs it (aka when your phone rings or when someone knocks at the door).
You need him used to you also being able to leave him alone even if he’s not fully awake yet because otherwise, he will start trying hard not to show signs of worry or something like that while he’s still in pain or maybe just tired from being up all night with me (which of course can happen at any time too since we live in Canada;)).
But if the only thing that matters is “me” then there really is no point in having a furry friend at all (if other people who love him are going away on vacation and they won’t be able to spend much time with him without worry).
Tips for Successful Leash Training
It’s not easy to leash train a dog, and it is even harder to keep it from escaping. The first step is to find the right person for the job. That’s why we put ourselves through a rigorous selection process, including thorough testing at our canine-friendly test facility. Our tests include:
Normally, dogs will leave their owners’ side when they’re hungry or thirsty, and that’s an attractive prospect for new owners—but if only one condition is met, then your dog likely won’t follow you anywhere else. To trick your dog into following you from place to place, you need to satisfy two key conditions:
We’ve found that the most effective method for making sure your dog follows you anywhere is to convince him that he needs to be somewhere else first. Dogs aren’t stupid; they use all of their senses—sight, hearing, and smell—to determine where they are in relation to other objects in the environment, including people and other pets.
So when your dog sees you coming or hears a familiar voice calling his name or commanding him forward (such as “come here now”), he’ll probably follow. But what if your dog doesn’t come running when someone calls his name? That’s where we come in: We teach our dogs that walking ahead of us requires them to be somewhere else first.
Learn How To Walk On a Loose Leash
This training step is straightforward. Whenever your dog pulls then you stop moving. The next step is to call him to come to you and have him sit next to you. Give praise and reward with a treat. Then start to walk again and when he walks nicely continue rewarding him with more treats.
Stop when he pulls again. Repeat until your dog understands that pulling does not get him anywhere. Very soon your dog will realize that he gets treats when he is walking nicely next to you.
During training naturally, your dog wants to sniff. As soon as he is going for a specific object stop and call him to come and give him the sit command. This time don’t reward the dog just walk with him towards the object and let him sniff. The object is the reward.
2. Magic Treats
There is an alternative way to teach your dog to walk on a loose leash. Take with you a lot of treats. If you have a treat bag that can be attached to your belt then use it.
Grab some treats in your hand and keep your hand closed in front of your dog’s nose. Let him sniff the treats. Every some second give a treat. Naturally, he will follow your hand.
But if he starts to pull, stop walking. As aforementioned call your dog to come and ask him to sit. When sited praise and continue to walk by holding the treats in front of him.
When you see some improvement then try the same exercise with offering fewer treats until your dog can walk without reward. Normally the dog will stop pulling. Each dog can have a different progressive time.
3. Turn back method
This method can be related to negative reinforcement. However, this ‘punishment’ is small and most importantly is not severe.
Attention! Don’t use this training technique if your dog is wearing a head halter or slip lead. Whenever he is reaching the end of the leash make a warning cue or say a command as ‘hey’ or ‘wait’.
If the cue or command is successful, then praise and treat. Otherwise, turn around and walk in the opposite direction. Use your hand and tug slightly on your dog’s collar or harness. When the dog catches up rewarded with praise and a treat. Repeat.
The result should be that your dog understands that pulling the leash leads in another direction and at the same time he feels an unpleasant sensation.
Use this method only if the positive reinforcement training is not effective and try something else in case your dog shows any signs of fear or pain, yelping e.t.c.
4. Tug The Collar
- Attention: This method also uses a kind of negative reinforcement.
As aforementioned don’t use this method in case your dog is wearing a slip lead or head halter. And lastly use only if positive reinforcement does not work for your dog.
Like previously when the dog is getting closer to the end of the leash tug quickly toward you, but not pull. The force you are using depends mostly on the dog’s size.
The dog will feel unpleasant and hopefully should correct your dog’s behavior in a short period of time.
- Caution: Tugging hard can cause injuries to your dog’s neck. Especially with smaller breeds be extra careful.
5. Choose the Right Collar
There are many kinds of collars to choose from. Making the best choice can contribute positively as you teach your dog to walk nicely.
Most dog owners choose this kind of collar since you can leave it on your dog all the time. It’s a good choice and it’s also comfortable for your canine.
If you have a difficult time walking your dog with a collar then a harness could be a better choice for you. Choosing Head haltes and no-pull harnesses can be very helpful during the training period.
You have more control over the dog plus the dog is discouraged from pulling. It is better to use a nonpull harness when you are not in training with your dog. Like going to the dog park.
If you want your dog to walk with a loose leash next to you then use a normal collar during training sessions.
6. Leash choice
Not based on color but on quality. Big breeds can snap the leash and run away. Chose a sturdy one around 5-6 inches long so that your dog has enough length to move freely and at the same short enough so that you can reach him for treats and praises.
Things you should avoid is negative reinforcement because it can be effective only if is used carefully and in an infrequent manner.
Using choke and prong collars can hurt your dog since it is hard to control the amount of force delivered to the neck. So please avoid them.
Four types of training are typically undertaken with this technique:
We call these four types of training “weathering” because they’re applied equally across all weather conditions—whether it’s rain or snow on a sunny day; windy weather on a calm day; foggy weather on a clear day; or sleet (or snow) on a cold night.
Once we’ve taught our dogs that if they don’t come running when called by another person or animal (usually us), then something needs to be done about it before the weather turns bad again… We need them out in front so we can see what they’re doing!
For example: If I call my dog over from behind me so I can lead him into camp for dinner, he has no idea I’m teaching him how not-to-run! He’ll still run pretty much every time I call his name…
But once he understands that he needs to be somewhere else before I call his name again, then he’ll happily follow me wherever I go… So long as we keep reinforcing this behavior so he believes that something needs to happen before he runs off again like last time!
This is one of the best post-promotion tips I have ever read. It’s something that many startups say next to nothing about:
In order to really make money, you need to “Leash” your dog.
What does this mean? How are you supposed to do it? (Try a leash on the beach and see what happens.) And how do you do it?
The answer is simple: You just need to be able to talk directly to your customers. You need to understand what they want and how they see their needs meeting up with yours.
Then, you need to tell them why they should buy from you instead of some other vendor or competitor. You need a great story that makes them laugh and feel delighted with the prospect of getting a great deal on their next purchase.