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Difficulties with the Walk
  • SiebsSiebs
    Posts: 11
    My Renji tends to pull a lot and isnt content walking at slower paces. As soon as I get him through the door it's like his attention scatters to everyone and everything but me. He pulls me down the stairs sometimes often choking himself on his collar. My ideal walk would be having him beside or slightly behind me , especially since I often walk with friends, but im running out of ideas to achieve this and he seems to believe himself the leader even though I am constantly reinstating my dominance over him inside and outside.

    Ive tried using treats as a motivator but outside he's simply too preoccupied with looking and sniffing to even care that I have his favorite snacks.

    Ive had a bit more luck with a different technique but he just doesnt understand what I want from him I think. Every time he pulls I stop and ask him to sit. I line us up side by side and wait for him to calm down. As soon as he does I say "lets go" and we try again. This usually causes me to stop about 10 to 15 times a block but its slowly improving. I do the same with the stairs. After every flight I get him to stop so I can catch up although this doesnt stop him from charging down the stairs as soon as I give him the go ahead.

    How can I teach him to keep pace with me? Any ideas?

    [changed category ~mod.]
    Post edited by curlytails at 2013-07-27 19:24:26
  • JoeyXotoJoeyXoto
    Posts: 26
    How old is Renji?

    When kiro first started walking he would pull to the point he was ready to vomit from choking, it was very bad...

    Then we tried a simple a few things.

    1. We never pull the lead tight, we leave it loose always - for every action theres a reaction... So if ur pulling renji back, renji will push forward... So its best to keep it loose.

    2. If your dog goes to far ahead just halt completely and hold the lead so your dog doesn't move past the point at which you don't want them to go. In other words, if he runs too far ahead stop and dont let him move any further...

    Completely halt until he stops pulling... What your teaching is that any type of pulling will result in no fun, no movement.

    This is what we did and its taught kiro to walk in line with us and not to dart ahead. He walks effortlessly with a loose lead at all times, and will stop when we stop.

    Make sure you praise when he does walk correctly...

    Also dont get frustrated or angry, it will only make it worse. Your dog will mirror your energy, so stay calm. Assertive. And most of all, HAPPY :-)

    This worked for us. Good luck!
  • SiebsSiebs
    Posts: 11
    Renji is 11 months currently. I try very hard to keep the leash slack but whatever slack I give him he uses to pull that much farther ahead. I do stop every time he pulls, at first hed just continue to pull or wander around me in a circle sniffing. Now when i stop he will sit down, allow the leash to slack a bit and will sit until I give him the go ahead. At this point I give him slack and we start ahead walking side by side. I praise him at this point because this is what I want but for some reason as soon as I praise him he goes straight back to pulling.

    I never pull the leash backwards. I do try to correct him or jerk him out of his tunnelvision with a short and gentle jerk to the side or a poke to his flank when I get sick of stopping 100s of times. It seems to work for about 20seconds and then hes back to pulling.

    Sometimes he will walk perfectly in pace with me after hes fully relieved himself and gotten some energy out. This happens at the very end of the walk and I shower him with praise. Its just I feel that he doesnt understand that he needs to pace himself with me and not the other way around. I want him to pay attention to where Im going and not what he sees or smells and Im not sure how to achieve this outside. He follows me around like a lost lamb indoors but outside hes utterly ADD.
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1590
  • ArcticArctic
    Posts: 513
    Yes, you should not be using dominance-based training methods with a dog, much less a Shiba. That is a training philosophy that has been thoroughly debunked. Please search for some threads about dominance training and it's efficacy.
  • SiebsSiebs
    Posts: 11
    Okay thanks for the tips, Ill try a different approach. I simply just want this to work, the times where he is calm enough to pay attention he's really a great to walk with. I just cant seem to keep him in that state, it can get really frustrating really fast . I try my best to stay calm abd collected because I know anger and frustration is completely counterproductive with any dog. Its obvious there are improvements I need to make to my own energy first. I need to keep in mind this is the first dog ive ever trained and hes still a puppy and I need to be patient and training takes time.
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    I'm quite sure there are several other threads on this issue but I'm using my phone and can't search.
    He is a young boy with lots of energy, if you want to practice how to walk nice you can probably only expect him to pay attention for shorter periods. He is not being dominant by running ahead he is just exploring the world at his pace.
    Let him burn off some steam first by running, playing whatever and then practice. Reward generously when he gives you eye contact, reward only by your side so it pays off to be close to you. After awhile you can give him a signal that it is ok to run off and explore and sniff again.
    Walk a bit unpredictably, around trees, circle a lamppost, change directions, hide etc things that make him have to pay attention to you.
    You can get an easy walk harness to prevent pulling. And if he is sniffing too much on something you can step in between the object and him as in 'now it is my turn'.
  • JoeyXotoJoeyXoto
    Posts: 26
    Your pup sounds like how Kiro was... As I said, when kiro darts, I just don't move, he stops pulling, sits down and I wait a few seconds, then set off, then he usually walks right beside me, praise him a lot, and continue... I then sometimes stop walking and kiro will stop right beside me, again treat and continue.

    Honestly it takes a while. We started practicing with kiro very quick, he's only 4.5 months and he's now a champ on lead just using the technique I explained.

    It isn't anything harsh or dominating, you are simply just stopping when he pulls. That's it.... You don't need to show anger/frustration... He will understand that when he pulls, all the fun stops. So theres no point in pulling...

    At least thats what worked for us after about 2 weeks of consistent practice.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    I agree with a lot of what everyone has advised. This is not an act of dominance or leadership it is a lack of early training and understanding of what was expected.

    With leash walking it has to be consistent 100% of the time. If you are not consistent, like in a hurry so just accept the pulling, or you just are defeated and accept the pulling then try again another time, this is just confusing to the pup.

    Now that the habit is there, it will take even longer to train loose leash walking. If you don't have the time/patience and need to take him somewhere pick him up and carry him until you have the time/patience.

    Also at this point I would probably also use a front clip (no-pull) harness as pulling against any collar can create long term damage to their throats and builds up scar tissue which only makes it easier for them to continue pulling.

    You need to be consistent and be sure you are not using a retractable lead. Before they get to the end of the lead be sure you are redirecting them to where you expect them to be. I use "with me" command which is more fluid than when I would expect a "heel" obedience command. If they reach the end of the lead just stop, but only reward them by continuing the walk when they return to your side, you can show them with a hand gesture your expectation. This can take a long time as you really should wait for them to offer the behavior meaning you may be standing there a long time, but don't stand there and beg, just give them the command and the hand gesture and wait. Each time they return to where you want them continue the walk.

    There are a lot of threads on loose leash walking, so also do a search if you want to find other methods to try.

    With my big mixed boy who is very food motivated I would drop treats as we walked if he was at my side or slightly behind so he was rewarded for staying in that area. If he reached the end of the lead I just waited him out to return to my side and as we began walking again I would occasionally treat him at my side or slightly behind me. With him I also use a front clip (no-pull) harness as I didn't want his martingale or flat collar damaging his neck when he was insisting on ignoring me and pulling to try getting at a smell or a duck or a bunny ect. This way if he did pull too hard, no pressure was on his neck and really strong lunge pulls would flip him towards me to where I could get his attention and use my hand signal to tell him where I expected him to be.
  • ShibaLoveShibaLove
    Posts: 554
    You could work on heeling in your house. Once he's got it down without distractions, slowly build up the distractions by trying to get him to heel up and down the side walk directly outside your door. Then maybe a bit longer a walk outside while heeling.
  • DianaBostonDianaBoston
    Posts: 254
    Okay, here's a little different twist on the pulling while walking issue. My dog most of the time does NOT want to walk anywhere. She stops abruptly, and stands and stares off at the bushes or trees or people a block away. I do not know how to handle this. I'll say "let's go" in a happy voice and start walking, but she digs her heels in. I do not like to drag her into moving again, but sometimes that is the only thing that "jump starts" her walking again. I've tried the whole treats thing and motivating her that way, but then when I don't have treats (or she tires of them) she wants to plop down in the middle of the street and watch people. Sometimes I think I'm trying to walk a cat.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    Juni can also do the same, sometimes due to the heat too, but other times she is just bored. I try to snap her out of it by doing something fun, for example I have taught her 'ready steady go' when we run quickly together for awhile, she usually cheats and start running on 'steady'...
    My boyfriend does a game he calls the whippy stick when he takes a big stick and whips it around in the air which apparently is super-fun to Juni.
    Sometimes nothing entertains her ladyship so I do drag her and after a few meters something usually catch her attention and she forgets to be grumpy.
    Sometimes she has another idea than me on where we should walk and if there's no particular reasons for us walking the way I wanted I let her choose.
  • AnnaAnna
    Posts: 621
    Hammond started off AWESOME at walking on a leash, so I did very little training with him on it. Once he hit puppy adolescence and became an a-hole, it was a struggle, haha.

    I found the stop and wait worked. Our class taught us to not even acknowledge the dog. Don't talk to them, don't react, don't pull back. As soon as they make the leash tight, you just stop walking and quietly wait. When they eventually get bored and look back at you AND come back towards you (creating slack in the leash), you click, treat, and continue walking. Calling him back or telling him to sit didn't work, because he wasn't really understanding that the pulling was a problem, he was just obeying the sit/come commands.

    But when I'd interrupt his romping by being uncooperative, then rewarding the loose leash with continued movement, he picked up on it very fast. It still works if he's particularly overstimulated now. I don't have to fight to get his attention. I just stand and wait for him to realize he's not getting anywhere. He won't necessarily always return his ATTENTION to me, but he'll at least stop pulling and restore some looseness in the leash.

    Sometimes if he does this while hunting squirrels and properly restores a loose leash and looks back at me, I'll reward him by running at the squirrel, haha. So that way he's not always sacrificing whatever fun thing, but we're doing his fun thing on my terms (thanks to Intro Agility he's also learned that me crouching a bit and "Ready! Let's go!" means we're gonna run, so he's not just bolting after the squirrels all willy nilly. We chase them together on my command.)
  • SiebsSiebs
    Posts: 11
    First off I just want to thank everyone for their advice and input. I really needed this thread haha.

    When I took Renji for his walk yesterday I started asking him to heel instead of sit. Took his favorite bluebuffalo treats along and they helped a little. Next time im going to take him out on an empty stomach though. He was only cooperative about half the time.

    So every time he pulled I did the same thing I did initially. Stop and root myself like a tree till he gives me his attention. Since he doesnt seem to get that he needs to give slack before we can move forward, I used a treat to lure him to my side instead. Then repeated the word heel and gave him the treat as soon as he lined himself up with my shoes. Made sure to praise him every time he came to my side and every interval where he walked forward without pulling. Did the same routine each time he pulled ahead and by the end of the walk I thought I was halucinating he was walking so much closer to me and leaving a loose leash. I figure it'll take a few weeks to get him to do this flawlessly but he heeled twice yesterday without being coerced by a treat. So far this is a great start to an effective solution and Im sure with time I can curb his headstrong behavior on the leash and get him to walk calmly.

    I just cant get over how nice it was to not have my arm wrenched throughout the walk :3
  • knnwangknnwang
    Posts: 645
    Sounds like your on the right track. You have to stay consistent with them. Shiba’s are super smart. But they will get bored with training very quickly when they find out it’s not that fun. This tread has some really good tips on clicker training that worked well for me.

    http://www.shibainuforum.org/forum/discussion/8373/help-my-shiba-is-training-tips-for-the-new-owner/p1

    Edit: Just for fun Renji Abarai from Bleach. The profile personality is very Shiba like, and he even has red hair. http://bleach.wikia.com/wiki/Renji_Abarai
    Post edited by knnwang at 2013-07-29 20:05:56
  • Koji's momKoji's mom
    Posts: 632
    "Being a tree" is a great method..I'd just add that he's a puppy and should be allowed to be ADD and sniff and run a bit...

    One method is to use a long line (not retractable, just a very long leash) that you can let him run around when you are in a safe place..or let leash drag - dog stops to sniff - you continue strolling - or he can run ahead a bit (but still no pulling)

    I think dogs should know how to heel but allowed some freedom sometimes too...Unless dog is in military I think it's mean to make them walk on heel all the time and not sniff the roses so to speak...

    especially a puppy -

    If I read what you're saying wrong I apologize, but the wanting him "flawless" in a couple of weeks...I think yes important to teach loose leash, but not always on a strict heel...I only enforce that when we are on busy streets.

    and yes , PS "poking his flank and Jerking sideways" is not nice and not teaching anything except you are not to be trusted and you are unpredictable from the dogs point of view, and Shibas have looooong memories and can hold grudges...
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    DianaBoston, could it be the harness doesn't fit right and is uncomfortable? Try switching out the collar/harness and see if your dog's behavior toward walks changes. There are times when Kaji just wouldn't move and it was because he hated the harness. Once we changed to a collar, he was fine. Taisho stops in the middle of walks sometimes for various reasons. Sometimes he just gets hot and dislikes the heat. Other times he gets tired. Other times, I'm not really sure. I've had his legs looked at but they are fine. When he plops himself down, we just pick him up and walk for a bit before putting him back down.
  • SiebsSiebs
    Posts: 11
    @kojis mom: The tree method had proven way more effective, its just going to be a matter of practice. As for the wanting him to be flawless, I dont mean to sound impatient but it is crucial he learns to heel because I live downtown in a major city and traffic is incredibly heavy.I feel other people walking on the sidewalk would be far more comfortable passing us if Renji was walking beside me instead of being all over the place. He can do that at the dog park where I dont need to worry about him being hit by a car.

    Ive ceased with the dominance backed corrections, they havent helped and as people have pointed out Shibas dont take to that style of handling. Ive come to understand that patience and confidence are the best tools for training. Ive made a mistake and god fobid ill probably make more, but that's what this relationship is, a learning experience, right?
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1590
  • Koji's momKoji's mom
    Posts: 632
    @Siebs, yes I understand with busy streets. I've heard trainers say that loose leash/heel is the hardest behaviour to train...and you have the added challenge of living in a busy place.

    I'm so glad you found out on your own that "dominance" "training" is not the way to go. Renji's life will be so much better for that. Good luck with your training.
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    Post edited by tatonka at 2013-07-30 01:25:18
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    Juni has never pulled much so I haven't focused much on how to walk nicely. She listens to me when I say and point out 'this way' and telling her 'wrong way' and when I tell her to stop. A good stop signal is useful I think. And easy to learn. I automatically said stop every time she got entangled and stuck somewhere so she quickly learned that stop means she is stuck and need to wait for me to fix it.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    I would agree a formal heel probably is a lot to expect. I would use a 4 ft leash and use something like a more fluid request. I have heel (still not really trained) and I have with me. With me means you can stray from the military heel as long as your leash is slightly loose. My heel vs with me is like the difference of stay vs wait.

    Even on busy sidewalks I believe a dog can learn to walk loose leash near you and be able to avoid people. The goal is they are not pulling and that the leash isn't long enough they can wander into the road if they get to the end. Pups especially need to interact with their world, and a formal heel position (IMO) is not appropriate when they are young because micromanaging at that age can also make them de-motivated. As they grow if they love to offer behaviors you will have an easier training road. Ideally, then you don't have to body lure them to train them.
  • DianaBostonDianaBoston
    Posts: 254
    No, not the harness is not the issue. She has 3 harnesses - wears them all. Same, "I don't want to move until I want to" issues. I do notice in the cooler weather though she trots right along.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
  • @dianaboston - I have a similar issue, which is our little one hates to move. For streets we use wait and let's go. We use hurry hurry when she needs to pick up the pace. That was achieved by consistently taking her to a high value place and using the command only when headed there. Now she generalizes it. For refusing to move we generally count to three, then say let's go. That way we give her a bit of time to explore. Sometimes she's like oh ok, this isn't that interesting and starts before we hit three and sometimes she takes the full measure. Good luck!
    Post edited by violet_in_seville at 2013-07-30 14:39:37
  • DianaBostonDianaBoston
    Posts: 254
    I always carry a Gulpy full of water when we go out. I'd never take her out without being sure I could hydrate her.

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