Loose Leash Walking and Four on the Floor – TheDogTrainingLady
Welcome to Puppy Training Week 5 Loose Leash Walking and Four on the Floor – 2014-09-16 10:47:13-04
This week we will go over two commands – Loose Leash Walking and Four on the Floor. These two commands go hand and hand with each other. Have you ever noticed how excited your puppy gets when he or she sees that leash in your hand? That’s when the jumping begins, obviously their excited, going for a walk is a fun thing to do. Another fun reason for them to jump is on visitors at the door, of course they bring with them new smells and a new face for your puppy, and they are excited.
Four On The Floor
Puppy Jumping Four on The Floor
We’ll start with Four-On-The-Floor, as this will come in handy for both visitors at the door as well as getting your puppy to calm down enough to get that leash on them for their walk.
Nothing is more disturbing to having a huge dog jump on you and also almost knock you over. As a matter of fact, this practice is extremely unsafe when children or elderly people are concerned. Many dog owners leave this bad behavior alone as well as do not concern themselves with it until it’s late in the game, and the pooch resembles a complete grown bear attempting to tumble over everybody he or she welcomes.
Showing your puppy not to jump on people is essential. Despite the fact that your pup is little now, grows quickly. He’ll be capable of knocking folks over when he leaps up to greet them if he’s a big breed.
Little Dogs Do Not Get a Free Pass
Even lap dogs can be a problem when jumping up, just because you own a toy breed do not assume they should get away with jumping, as cute as it may seem, it is not a behavior that should be allowed. These small pets can tear pantyhose, scrape up legs, or even knock over kids.
As opposed to permitting your pup to jump on individuals, educate your pet to sit when he welcomes anyone including you, as well as the other family members. Initially, instruct him to sit.
Be sure that all members of the household follow these rules or your puppy will just become confused, and will not understand what is expected of him or her.
One other trick to use is to turn your back on your puppy, now this may not work with all dogs and puppies, but this will work with a majority of puppies and dogs. They see this as you are taking attention away from them, when what they want is attention from you. Once you notice your puppy beginning to jump, immediately turn your back on them. Ask them for a sit, once they have settled and they are in the sit position, treat, and praise them.
Have your puppy on a leash when going to greet someone at the door; this will allow you the control so that he or she is not able to jump on your visitor.
The two major times you will run into the jumping problem will be when you come home, or people come to visit. Utilize one of the above methods and enlist a household member or friend to practice this.
Have your friend come and knock on the door and try one of the methods above, this will help you determine the best method of training with your puppy and your situation.
Also note that when your friend comes to the door and knocks don’t react immediately; this will give your dog the feeling of non-reaction. If you are not reactive, then your puppy will tend to be non-reactive also.
Try to anticipate a situation where your puppy may be tempted to jump and be proactive, ask for a sit and treat and praise when you get the requested command. Also be sure to treat and praise if you puppy keeps four on the floor and does not jump, as this is ultimately what we are looking for.
Just a reminder, make sure you have your treats with you.
It is sometimes a good idea to have small containers of treats near areas that you will be training your puppy to do something.
Loose Leash Walking
Loose Leash Walking
As you know it is very important for your puppy to get plenty of exercise. It is good for their health as well as using up a lot of that puppy energy. Walking your puppy at least twice a day, and if possible 3 times a day will help to get the puppy to use up some of his energy, and this will help ward off other potential behavior problems. A tired puppy is a good puppy.
Some puppies may need a Head halter, but that is beyond the scope of this post. You can go to any reputable pet supply store and they can show you a variety of head halters and how to use them. Many come with complete instructions on how to use and, how to get your puppy use to it. These types of halters are used for puppies and dogs that a really strong on pulling consistently. Where wearing a regular collar can cause damage to their throats.
One of the first things is to understand why puppies and dogs like to pull. I have mentioned this before. A walk invites new sounds, sights, and most importantly smells. Your puppy wants to get close to that new smell, and he is going to pull until he gets to it. Loose leash walking is to help you to take control of the situation.
Loose leash mean always having slack in the leash. Never use one of those retractable leashes when teaching this commands. Use a standard 6 foot leash either nylon or leather. I have always used the leather leash as they are easier on your hand and if you invest in a well-made leather leash you will have it for years to come.
Be sure to have your treat pouch and always keep your puppy on leash when you are out and about. This is a matter of safety for everyone and in many counties and city it is a law.
If you notice that your puppy is jumping up and down every time you pick up the leash you need to desensitize him from this. This is very simple to do. Throughout the day pick up the leash and place it down somewhere else. Your puppy will see you do this, and get excited and then realize it didn’t mean you were going for a walk you were just moving the leash to another spot. Do this continually and he will be desensitized from you picking up the leash. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get down to loose leash walking.
The first step in training loose leash walking is what I like to call the “Follow Me Game”.
Ask your puppy for a sit as you attach the leash to his collar.
It is sometimes best to practice in the house before exposing your puppy to the many distractions that he or she will have when they go outside.
Hold the loop of the leash in your right hand and gather two to three feet of the leash in your hand, depending on the size of your puppy you may need more or less. You want just enough to leave slack, while at the same time keeping your puppy close to you.
Your puppy should be on your left side. Begin to walk and allow the puppy to catch up to you, have your treat pouch on the left side, this will help to keep the puppy next to your and on the correct side as his or her sense of smell will want to stay near the treats.
There is no commands at this point, and do not use a treat as a lure, only use treats for rewards. We are in the learning stage and this is why we are not using a command at this point.
Once your puppy catches up to you and is right by your side, treat and praise.
If your puppy is distracted by someone or something use smooching noises or clapping to get their attention.
Once they have caught up to you and you get eye contact praise and treat.
Now turn and go in the opposite direction using the same method. By going in the opposite direction puts you in control of the walk not the puppy.
This is why it is best to start indoors; this will eliminate the distractions that are yet to come when you venture outside.
What you want to have is a puppy that is right by your side at your at knee level, but this depends on the size of your puppy. As your practice moves along in a positive way you can also stop and ask for a sit, treat and praise. Then begin again in the opposite direction.
Repeat this indoors till you feel comfortable. When you are ready to take it on the road, the most important place to have control is at the door.
As you begin to open the door and walk out, if your pup decides he or she wants to take off, stop immediately and wait until your puppy comes back to you. This again, is showing that you’re in control of the walk.
Keep in mind all the previous commands you have been working on and use them to remain in control of the walk.
When your puppy decides to pull, turn and walk in the opposite direction.
When I first started this with my pups, my neighbors must have thought I was crazy. We must have walked the same 15 feet back and forth, because every time they pulled, I would turn and walk in the other direction. They finally got it, but it takes time and patients. Loose leash walking is not always easy, and may take a little longer than other training other behaviors.
Once they do get the idea and you are comfortable with their behavior on the walk, do allow them to go smell that scent that is attracting them, this is just as much of a treat to them as a food treat. They just need to understand that you are the one allowing it. They need to understand that you are the one in control of the walk.
Have your treats ready; ask for a sit to attach the leash. Use as six-foot leash, do not use a retractable leash. Start inside the house; allow your puppy to make the choice of catching up to you. If they do, treat and praise, if they don’t no treat. Remember to change directions. When your ready to take the walk on the road, remember control begins at the front door.
If you need more tips or tricks on either of these training sessions, drop me a line and I can give you some other ideas based on your puppy’s breed and age.
Once again, as I have mentioned before if you have others in the household have them working on the previous weeks training while you work on this week. The reinforcement of training can only help your puppy learn quickly and understand what it is you are asking of him or her.
Until Next Time
Suzanne Dean, ABCDT
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