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Retraining Leash walking
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 505
    Okay, I don't doubt that there is something similar, but I couldn't find it using the search on the forum. Lots of stuff on training puppies, but not retraining older adolescents, or with this kind of situation. Probably this is all I can do though, but never hurts to ask.

    When we first got Coal, I originally wanted to let him walk as he pleases as long as he didn't pull. I learned, though, that this just isn't safe. The roads here look like one-lanes but are actually two with lots of driveways and sudden bikes/people/cars. There are specific areas that are safe for him to sniff and rove about, but between them he must be beside me for safety reasons. Live and learn. Oh yeah, not only are these roads super narrow, but there is no side-walk.

    image
    (not my street, but this is pretty much what it looks like, so you can see why having him heel beside me or behind me is important to safety)

    That means I need to correct his habits. My problem is that he needs at least 40-50 minutes walking twice a day. He can hold out for a minimum of 15 minutes---longer if there are no distractions. These walks are important because they have actually been helping him calm down after meals a bit faster (he still goes crazy, but they help so I want to maintain the length). I occasionally add playtime in the park because we walk when it is cool. I am finding that over 90 degree weather means he doesn't want to budge much. He refuses water on walks, so I won't take him at noon since that is the hottest period (this has me worried, but he gulps water from the bucket outside as soon as we get home).

    What I do:
    -Use a harness (not front clip---we might be able to get one if the trainer recommends it)
    -treats for staying beside
    -praise
    -no-mark and stopping when pulling
    -no-mark and going opposite direction if pulling too hard/crazy
    -shortening leash to keep him near me, giving slack when he isn't pulling
    -occasional sprints as my health allows, as long as he keeps pace with me

    Am I missing something? I know shorter training sessions are better, but I am kind of in a pickle with our situation. I made it myself, I know XD I totally misjudged walking dogs in Japan on streets like this.
    Post edited by Anjyil at 2017-06-02 14:13:15
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 315
    So, you could try using a food tube to keep him right at your side until he conditions to the behavior without constant bribery. It's worth a shot, I think. I use similar method with Rhyz sometimes (just hold the treat in my closed hand at my side) to keep him distracted long enough to walk past birds, but I've heard a lot of people get very positive results with the food tubes for reconditioning via constant reward.

    Also try adding some broth to the water you offer him on walks, it might make it more appealing to him. If he's refusing water during walks he might be pretty stressed and/or excited.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 505
    Ooo these are both good ideas. I use treats for major distractions but they baaarely work. Once he gets a taste of excitement, he just can not calm down. Since there is no way to avoid it (unless we move to an isolated island), I usually lose within half the walk. The food tubes might help a lot.

    Broth in the water sounds like a good idea, but broth (even condensed canned stuff) is really hard to come by. Just make it with chicken stock, or maybe next time I make a frozen kong, use the juices from the wetted food?
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 315
    I don't buy canned or boxed broths, I find they taste like aluminum lol. I just use the same basic bone broth for the dogs as I use for my own soups, and usually have a pot on the go most of the time because it's easy, filling, healthy, and lets me use up the bones and bits from whatever I've been cooking (I don't like unnecessary food waste). I don't add onions or garlic or anything to the bone broth, just bones and water and let it simmer - 20 minutes for fish, 4 hours for chicken, and beef or pork can go for 24+ hrs to get full extraction from the bones if you're using big ones, half that for like necks and tails.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 505
    hmm.. gonna have to see what I can do. We usually get boneless chicken (come to think of it, I don't recall seeing boned chicken in the supermarkets around here....Japan has weird cultural things). We sometimes get fish like mackerel or salmon, so maybe I can use those? I have never made soup stock before.
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 315
    It's very easy, just about any fish will do for fish stock, especially if it's just for Coal. He will be far less discerning about the color of the stock or a bit of off taste that can happen from gills and fins sometimes.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 505
    Definitely going to give both of these a try, especially the food tube idea. I talked to my husband about it and he loves the idea. We have some tubes, but they are still in use. Gonna hunt around and see if some are almost empty, wash them out and see what I can find to match the necessary consistency.

    Broth is going to take longer to prep as we don't have any fish or anything (usually the fish is filleted already, but I think I can ask for some super cheap whole fish next time we go shopping)

    The water thing has me worried so I want to get started on that a bit sooner.
  • jtocchio0531jtocchio0531
    Posts: 45
    My shibas used to pull a lot too on our walks, I don't know if this is possible for your situation but I found that taking them somewhere a little calmer, like a nice quiet neighborhood with less distraction, was easier to walk them in than on the main road. They always pulled more with the loud noises of cars and motorcycles going by. I think overall it just takes time too, Coal is still a pup right?
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 505
    @jtocchio0531 that would be a dream! The best I can do is get up really early, but people are still around. From around 7:30, students are gathering at the local elementary school (on the river I usually walk him once I get him there). After 8, the tots are gathering at the kindergarten near our house. Before 7:30 all the elderly people from the nursing home and residencies are doing their walks/jogs. And this is just my neighborhood! All the streets look like that except a couple that are neighboring rice fields---still no sidewalk, still single lane with cars coming both ways (plus it's lake season on the rice fields, so lots of birds/frogs/etc)

    There is another river opposite the almost two-lane main road near our house. Lots of elderly people and adults going to work. I can't win :( Even the park closest to us has lots of walkers/exercisers, dog walkers, bicyclists...you would think we were in the, but we are just in a thickly populated residential area surrounding by rice fields, factories and zero trees (that last one is the worst part for me). I suppose I could try getting up at 4 am (probably would be the same results) but I finish work late because of my scattered schedule (self employed) So I don't think that is physically feasible for me if I want to maintain my sanity lol

    And you are right, he always pulls more when there is a lot of activity XD

    Coal is now 9 months old. But he has always been a puller---I just gave him more freedom not thinking of how dangerous it could be. He has also always had trouble calming down after excitement, like he can't turn off the switch in his brain. Even when he can't see the distraction anymore, he will keep twisting around/trying to find it again.

    I think this or next week we will start the obedience class, and leash walking is at the top of the list for me on training. We just have to wait to know which way we need to go (with meds or just behavior)

  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1006
    My advice is to stay super consistent regardless of what methods you choose. Don't budge on your rules and just keep at it no matter how long it takes lol, and no matter the environment.

    Ozzy is extremely good on leash. I used to be a lot more strict about pulling and would not allow it at all. Every single time I'd stop and wait for him to look at me on his own. Once he looked at me, I used a clicker and gave treats. It really encouraged him to always be checking in with me of his own accord haha. Now that he's older, I have him sit and look at me. He doesn't pull often except sometimes when we're out hiking and he's just faster than i am at maneuvering mountain terrain lol. But once he gets to the end of his leash, he knows to wait. He also now knows the command "slow" for when we're going on particularly steep paths so he doesn't pull me down accidentally.

    Whenever he got excited on the leash, I just became a tree. I shorten his leash and stand completely still and ignore him 100% until he's calmed down. Sometimes, if he just kept pulling, I'd have him sit and have a moment with him where I bend down beside him and pet him. A longer break and a moment to reiterate our "unit." Haha. But I think it's just worked well because I was very consistent from day one. He's such a good walker. Sometimes he tests my bf more because he is not great at being consistent. He doesn't stop the moment Ozzy starts to pull, he lets it go for a bit and doesn't use his commands "ah ah," and "ok" when he sits and looks. Haha so I usually have to be there to remind bf to communicate with him and to be consistent. But he's much improved and Ozzy rarely has to be reminded not to pull even with him. Just when there are high distractions around (like other dogs that want to play).

    I have some treat called the lickety stick I think hahah. It has kinda one of those like Rollie balls sometimes used in deodorants but it lets out a bit of liquid treat for the dog to lick while you hold the container. Ozzy doesn't love it as a treat though, so it doesn't work for him in an exciting environment. Also, a food tube might just be a better, more natural idea anyway ha. I used to use peanut butter on a long chew so I could hold it at my side and have him lick it while walking to learn the positioning and everything.
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2017-06-03 15:23:19
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 505
    @Lilikoi Yup, pretty much exactly what I have been doing. I figured after a week, he would start to get it.... old habits die hard, I guess. The tree thing can be really effective, too. I use it to take a breathe and center myself if I am getting frustrated (early mornings and sleepy are not good for stubborn dogs lol)

    the lickety stick sounds like the feeding tube spacedogs mentioned. The concept seems very useful.

    Recently, Coal has taken to sitting down when I stop. He will sometimes look at me. In the morning, I can treat him--but morning walks alone take up most of my treats :/ (plus daily training, etc) so by evening, I don't have much left. I may have to re-ration my training treats.
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1006
    Yeah, they say it's far easier to introduce a new habit than to break an old habit... I'm sure it'll take some time.

    Yeah I thought the lickety sticks would be great for like baths and nail trims. But he's not so interested in them haha.
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 315
    I'll ration out some food and regulate it to training if there's something in particular I really want to focus on, that way they still get all their daily meal and treats without getting too much extra.

    This was a lot easier when they ate kibble, though, as I could just take a handful out of their portion and use it to train with. With the raw it's the same principle just more hassle in application.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 505
    @Lilikoi yup. True for people and animals. XD I am so glad I use a grinder for trimming nails, though I have fallen behind on that. Gotta do that this weekend, but I need hubby's hands to help in case he gets rowdy.

    @spacedogs Yeah, I was thinking of taking some kibble and wetting it down. He loves his kibble like life itself XD But we do factor in training treats and daily rations already so using up the treats just means I can't do other things for him that day. He does love lettuce, though, and ice cubes, so those are still options.
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 315
    No no, I mean take some of his dinner kibble and use it to train with as a "treat" reward. That way you don't have to worry so much about extra calories in his diet, he'll still be eating the same amount just in a slightly different way.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 505
    @spacedogs. Yeah, i understood, I was just saying that we already figured in all that for daily rations. He is very hard to manage at meals so I don't want to mess with what he gets in his bowl yet until we get the behavior plan in place (besides, we are trying to manage his weight because he jumped up after being neutered, so we are constantly modifying the amount in the bowl as we go)
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 315
    Ah okay, sorry then. The wording seemed to me like we were miscommunicating a bit.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 505
    no problem ^_^ my husband are going back and forth on ideas and are putting this one on the list of possibilities. I was going to start today, but when I hung the chosen tube feeder out to dry, the wind blew it away XD Gotta find another one.
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1095
    I've mentioned this before, but you can completely use his daily ration of kibble in place of extra treats outside. This removes the food struggle from the house as well.

    This worked for Kouda. He was a terrible puller and reactive but now he is very attentive, and fed at the same time.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 505
    @zandrame The food thing we are seeking help with. It may or may not be more than a training issue. And as I said earlier, we are still trying to figure out the rations since we are adjusting for his neutering. We haven't decided yet which way we are going to go.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 505
    @zandrame You win XD The trainer/behaviorist we have chosen suggested exactly as you did: take the food on the road. Well, at least some of it. There is a risk of feeding him too much and causing bloat for hyperactive pups like Coal.

    Also, the trainer showed us *how* to get his attention an direct Coal toward us using his kibble since it is such a powerful motivator. I am going to try it soon for the first time, but the demonstration the trainer gave had me floored. Coal was able to briefly sniff and meet a dog!!! I was sooooo happy!

    This will take work, but now I got a clear idea. Taking food on the road, like zandrame said, will help with the issues in the pen as well. Thanks!
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 505
    So for retraining leash (just in case others are in the same boat)

    I did the thing with the kibble. For people, bikes, cars---works great. For dogs....

    Big issue here. In our neighborhood, I am pretty sure all the dogs are reactive or something. They pull at their own leashes, some bark at Coal, others get hyper like he does....not really a good pot for brewing. I may have to avoid dogs as best I can until we get him into a situation where he can practice with calm, good dogs (that training class will definitely help!)

    Sometimes we can not turn and go the other way, though. I have been caught between dogs coming both ways or no side street to turn on, so all I can do is stand with the leash held tightly and hang on, still as a tree until the storm passes.

    On the plus side, Coal is giving his attention back to me much quicker. He really loves his kibble XD

    I really want to do what the VTB (vet trainer behaviorist) did with Coal at the training place. That was just amazing! But those dogs were very calm, well behaved dogs. I think it will only work when at least one side of the meeting has some dog who is mature.