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Leash Training Questions - 10 1/2 week puppy
  • My husband John and I have had our new puppy, Bear (formerly named Max) for two weeks and have accomplished the following:

    1. Potty trained
    2. Collar tolerance; reasonably well adjusted to Lupine Harness (which we use most of the time)
    3. Leash Tolerant
    4. Exercise (using the harness and a 6 foot nylon leash) 3 times daily (for about 45 minutes each session) at the beach (this is our only "safe haven" for outdoor exercise since we do not have a fenced-in yard, and since Bear is not fully vaccinated). Indoor exercise/play sessions with toys, too!
    5. Tolerates crate at night, quiet for ~ 8 hours. His crate is in our Great (living) Room. He rarely goes in his crate voluntarily (despite luring him with treats, toys, nice padding, crate cover, etc.). We crate him during the day only for about one hour or so when we need to run errands, or we need to have some quiet time upstairs. He whines/howls/Shiba screams during the daytime crate sessions.
    6. Knows his name. Command trained to sit, lie down, give us his paw (with a treat!). Knows what stay and come mean, but will only do it if he wants to! He is a very smart (and sly) puppy!

    Our comments and questions follow;

    a. We've been training Bear walking on a leash indoors (praising with treats), which has been pretty successful. But . . . when we are walking him outside, he is easily (and understandably) distracted by other dogs, humans, vehicles, surfboards, blowing debris, smells, sea oats, seashells, sea foam, etc. We know he's still a young pup, and we let him play, but it is difficult to get quality exercise time with us in control of the leash! We've been able to bribe him (with treats/toys/happy sounds from us) for short periods of running and walking, but he will then sit down and refuse to move, or move in the other direction. When should we expect him to walk with us? Are we expecting too much, too soon?

    b. Should we shift from a harness to a Gentle Leader or other collar for leash training at this age? We are ready to begin formal leash training but do not want to push him too fast. Your ideas?

    c. Any ideas on making the crate more alluring to Bear? Or will he at some point get used to it, and stop whining?

    Thank You for your kind advice. We feel you folks are the best place to seek counsel.

    John and Barb

    [changed category ~mod.]
    Post edited by curlytails at 2014-03-11 22:07:56
  • Congrats on all your accomplishments so far. I'm new to the world of Shiba, so I"m probably not the best person to give advice. BUT when it comes to the crate my Honey wasn't real fond of it in the beginning. She now tolerates it very well. But there are still times when she will whine and such while in it. Usually for no other reason than to annoy us! lol Does Bear have a blanket or stuffed toy that is SUPER special?? maybe adding those things to the crate would help?

    I'm sure someone else will give better advice, but I thought I would chime in! lol
  • He sounds like a bright boy and with that comes challenging you by trying to annoy you into getting what he wants.

    At his age expect complaints in the crate. Even at 5 or 6 months some dogs will complain. You can feed in the crate and teach some crate games. Susan Garrett has video on Crate games.

    Leash walking and focus will not be there for sometime either. You have a Shiba so that makes it doubly difficult until they mature.

    You can try an easy walk harness or no pull harness that should help some. A gentle leader is an option but it really depends on the face of your dog. Sometimes they do not fit well on a young Shibas snout. Be aware if you use it that it will take some adjustment since your pup will try to rub it off. Some Shibas do not adjust to it.

    I would try to find a harness just remember to check for size as he grows and loosen accordingly.

    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2009-02-20 22:34:09
  • Wow, you guys have accomplished a lot so far!

    At 10 1/2 weeks, Bear is going to have the attention span of a gnat and it's likely to remain that way for a while. Snf made a great suggestion about crate games to make him more comfortable. His complaints will pass as he gets older. Puppies want to explore the world on their own terms. He just needs to get used to the idea that you guys are setting the boundaries for him. It will happen, just be patient.

    As for leash walking, I think what you are doing in the house is really great! To transition outside, start working with him in an area with fewer distractions. Perhaps a backyard (if you have one) or an empty corner of a park somewhere. At 10 1/2 weeks, you're asking too much of him if you think he'll focus on you during a walk. Depending on his temperament, it may be a year or more before he's really focused on walks. Also, I would not change from his harness to a training tool just yet. The gentle leader is a pretty extreme training tool to be using on such a young puppy. It can be harsh on their necks since it gives you so much control and they are distracted so easily. Let him be a puppy for a few more weeks. If you really feel need to try something else, consider an easy walk harness over the gentle leader. It won't put any pressure on his head or neck and will help deter him from pulling. If he does get distracted and bolt off, he won't get as intense a shock when he hits the end of the leash.
  • You managed to do a lot the past 2 weeks!

    I'd be very careful with walks on the beach at such tender age. Sand isn't a very easy thing to walk on and it puts quite a bit of stress on his joints.
    I know he's not of a large breed, but still he's a very young puppy, with fast developing bones. Regular and intensive activity like 2+ hour daily walk on the beach, will be hard on his skeleton, and might get him some structural problems in the future.
    Post edited by Leonberger at 2009-02-21 13:44:41
  • baantonbaanton
    Posts: 933
    Hi Barb:

    Congrats on the new puppy! Sounds like life is full of rollicking good times with him! All the advice above is good, and I echo the best of all --- remembering he is a puppy and eager to be exploring the world. I have to say, there is nothing as fun as the exuberance of a puppy (unless its the same exuberance from a child), and this time of his life should be enjoyed to the hilt by you and him! While it will take a while for him to mature (i.e. become "uber-" obedient, I guess), you will be amazed at how fast that time flies! I would say you have accomplished a tremendous amount in a short period of time with such a young doggie --- Bear should be rewarded for all of his efforts on a daily basis!

    We found our dog, Josephine (different breed - a Kai), around 10-12 weeks of age, and truly enjoyed her younger days, then finally took her through the introductory puppy class when approaching a year. After much working with positive reinforcement she is relatively obedient to most commands (now she is about 2 years)! I am grateful that she hasn't totally lost that sense of puppy exuberance and desire to investigate and play, though, and I hope she never does! I think training a dog is kind of like learning to play a musical instrument ---- after much practice between you and the instrument, a beautiful experience emerges! Some instruments are harder than others (and may be so with dogs, based on breed, personality and their wonderful individualism)! And it may take at least as long to do either!

    Enjoy your life with Bear! Sounds like its off to a great start -- a tremendous credit to you and hubby!
  • obukobuk
    Posts: 144
    I am amazed at what you already accomplished so far! Don't have much time right now but I just wanted to mention that putting something that has your scent on it (piece of clothing, a blanket, etc.) in the crate, that might help... You can even put this on top of the crate but putting it inside as part of the padding worked really well for us.
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    Juni walking nicely on a leash? Certainly not at 9 weeks old. I don't remember but I guess at least another couple of months.
    There are other leash training threads to read too but I would focus more on contact exercises, things like rewarding her for giving you eye contact, rewarding her for listening to her name and sounds you may make, recall exercises. Reward with treats and praise and toys and fun games to make her feel it is super fun to be around you. It will pay off later because you will have a dog who likes to be near you and hence may not pull on the leash.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    Bear (or even my mix boy Tanjiro) walking besides or following me ... that is a laugh and he is 20 months (10 months). Both my boys insist on walking ahead of me at the end of the leash. Neither pulls hard though (unless a gecko or bunny is nearby or a blowing leaf). I don't mind as I like it better having them in front of me as long as they only keep gentle tension on the leash.

    I wouldn't worry too much at 9 weeks teaching healing, but for loose leash walking there are lots of threads on it and a couple different techniques. Here are two that worked best for me:

    1) If they begin to pull too hard, stop wait for them to release the tension, mark the release of tension and reward them by continuing the walk. You may be stopping a lot very early, but you need to be consistent with this method or it confuses the pup. Me I am bad about the consistency, which is part of the reason probably they still at times feel it is okay to pull ahead more than I like.

    2) With my mixed boy, who is extremely food motivated, I would carry food on our walks. If he pulled too hard I used #1, but in conjunction if he was besides me or slightly behind me I would give him a treat. He learned walking near my side meant yummy treats, walking ahead meant no treats but he could sniff and walk, and pulling ahead meant we would stop. To date though without treats he chooses to walk ahead.
    Post edited by redcattoo at 2013-08-26 10:07:04
  • Wow bear has really accomplished a lot at 10.5 weeks old, so does Kira at 9 weeks old. My Akuma is now 9 weeks old, and I still have trouble to get him to give me some attention, but we have only had him for 5 days now.
    For leash training, we have tried attaching a leash when he is in our backyard and he hated it. When we stop, he Keeps pulling and biting the hook that attached to his collar. Whenever we put down the leash and put it somewhere (secured), he will calm down and sit close to us. I'm thinking to start teaching him some basic commands like sit starting from 10 weeks old. Hope we could achieve something from there.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
  • "Bear (or even my mix boy Tanjiro) walking besides or following me ... that is a laugh and he is 20 months (10 months)."
    I can certainly echo @redcattoo's experience. Benji is nearly 10 months and he's not nearly ready to do loose-lead walking. I have tried the stop-start again method (3 to 7 months); I have tried the 180-degree turn method (since December). Finally, my trainer suggested giving a command when Benji must leave the lead loose and giving another command when he can have his head again. So I said "slowly!", showing him a treat (assuming he is paying attention, not guaranteed) and we set off. When he pulls, I do the 180-degree turn, then again, and again and etc. Eventually he complies about 50 percent of the time. But in any event, he is bored after 5" (was 1") even with lot praise and treats and I get a sore back from holding the treats in front of his nose. I then say "go on!" and he goes back to pulling, assuming he ever left off. Two times a day for 45 minutes each.
    The thing is, he does the exercise perfectly at home. Sigh!
  • FWIW, I have a 6 month old male who walks pretty well on the leash (limited pulling) I would say his walks consist of 70% loose leash, 10% tense in front of me, 10% tense behind me, and 10% "I need to go see what that is!!"). (I am 100% ok with tension until he has pee'd poop'd. He is usually done with his business in the first 5 minutes of a walk so I am not counting that. He knows once he is finished with business to walk loose) :

    I switched from a collar for walking to a harness. My guy enjoys the walks more. My guess is now he can smell and absorb the surroundings without discomfort. When he tugs the leash, I simply stop walking and don't start again until he comes back to me (and thus makes a perfect opportunity to also teach recall). I also stop at random points in the walk and say "stop" first. If he stops before the leash gets tense, he gets praise. Otherwise, we use recall (and as annoying as it is, ALWAYS praise recall.. even if you are recalling him from something that sucks and are mad) and go through the exercise again. I also stop at every "intersection" so we have to make a choice as to which way to go. I then say "this way" and if he comes without tension, he gets praise. He knows, but does not always listen to, "heel" (walk paralell to me), "stop" (stop walking and wait for me to tell you what is next), "let's go" (he is behind me and not focused, he starts walking again into a "heel"), "this way" (we have options and now you go the way i say you go).

    I don't always use treats on walks (my guy doesn't think food is a great motivator unless its dinner time), but when he is standing next to you, just start shoving them in his mouth (I'd use kibble for this since over-treating is bad. Just use kibble and take it off his "daily kibble ration"), eventually he will learn that when he stands next to you on walks, awesomer stuff happens than anything that would if he were pulling on the leash. (I think I got this tip from another thread. If you are clicking, click and treat. Basically make being next to you infinitely better than not when walking.

    Hope this was helpful!

    edited for clarification: I am using the words praise, treat, etc interchangeably. What I really mean is give your dog whatever it is that makes him super happy. If it's a dog cookie, give him that, if it's pocket lint to smell, give him that, food, praise, a pet on his chest, whatever. If your guy is indifferent to praise, don't use praise. =)

    Post edited by BanjoTheBetaDog at 2014-03-12 10:58:37
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • I use "wait" for "wait for permission before taking a treat" but your point is well noted!!

    I am going to come up with a new command for stop walking... maybe "halt"? I do find myself saying "stop" when I want him to stop doing what he is doing. You're right. I will confuse the poor pup (and sadly until you mentioned it, I didn't even realize I was doing it!!)

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