Training Your Puppy (or Adult Dog) for Loose Leash Walking | Dog Behavior & Training

♪ Pet ♪ (uplifting music) – Hi, I'm Jen and this is Deacon and he's a little baby puppy, he's about four months old, and so he is doing some boarding up at the main kennel right now, but he's also signed up for a couple training sessions with us, down here in the Training
and Wellness center, while he's boarding. So the program that he's
doing is called Charm School. So a couple things that
Deacon is working on are just basics, like
sit, and recall and come, but a big focus of Deacon's training (clicker clicks) is gonna be loose leash walking. So today we're gonna just
show you a little bit of some of the loose leash walking basics that we use during training. One of the most important
things to remember about loose leash walking is that it's not a
natural behavior for dogs, and so it's really something
that we've gotta train, and reinforce and practice with them in low-distraction environments first before we can expect them to give it to us out in the real world, so in a distracting,
stimulating environment, with lots of smells, lots of sounds.

Come here buddy, come here. In order to create a polite
loose leash walking behavior, what we have to do is
create a deep history of positive reinforcement
for staying with us, for staying in the position
that we want them in. We've gotta build enough
of a reinforcement history with that position, to compete with all the
stuff going on around us. The way we do that, is first, by training some basic foundation skills in low-distraction environments. I've never met this dog before, I just met him about a couple minutes ago and so you're really
gonna see sort of just a start from scratch training
thing, here with him.

First thing I do before I start
any sort of training session is a little warm up so I'm gonna just run
through that really quickly. So the first thing I would do would be to play a little bit of find it, so I'm gonna toss a treat
out, ask him to find it. That's a little scent and search activity, kinda get him warmed up. I'm just gonna do about
10 seconds of that. Find it. Where'd it go? Come on. There it is. Good boy, you ready? Find it. Good, so this is creating some positive emotional
associations for him, with working with me, find it, and being in this space 'cause this space is also new to him. Find it. And so I wanna point something out here. He's got a really nice little default sit, he's obviously been reinforced
pretty often for sitting and so he keeps offering that to me, so that's a really nice little behavior.

Default sits are great, great
thing to set up with your dog. But sometimes what you see with a really heavily reinforced behavior that might be his only
heavily reinforced behavior at this point 'cause he's so little is that that's the one that
they tend to fall back on over and over again. So when you're trying
to train a new behavior, sometimes with a dog, who doesn't have a lot of
behaviors in the toolbox, he'll just keep offering you the one that they've been reinforced for the most.

What we can do with Deacon,
is build some new behaviors so that we also create a deep
reinforcement history for us so he can offer those to us as well. The next thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna introduce
the clicker to Deacon. I'm gonna use the clicker
as a marker for behavior. What that means, is I'm
gonna during the behavior that I like and then reinforce it. What the click does, is it tells Deacon which behavior is earning reinforcement. But before I can use it as a marker, I need to create some meaning and value for the clicker, for him, so I'm gonna pair it with treats. So all I'm gonna do is
just about five of these, I'm just gonna click, treat, click, treat so I'm doing that classical
condition and procedure where I'm pairing the
sound with the reward.

So he doesn't have to be (clicker clicks) doing anything in particular,
I don't know if you saw that but his little head kinda went (clicker clicks) 'cause this sound is starting
to have some value for him. (clicker clicks) Yeah, his little ear is twitching. (clicker clicks) Good. So it's important when you're doing this if there's a slight (clicker clicks)
pause between the click and then the delivery
of the reinforcement. So you don't wanna be
doing two things at once, you wanna
(clicker clicks) click and then follow-up with a treat. So the next thing I'm gonna do is a little bit of attention work. This is where I'm looking for Deacon to offer me
(clicker clicks) some eye contact or attention without me asking for it and then I'm gonna mark
and reinforce that. So what happens with that, is that that will increase the likelihood of him doing that for me again. He's really staring at me right now so I'm gonna move around a little bit, I might toss a treat off,
and let him get distracted, and then I'm gonna wait for
that head turn back to me and mark and reinforce that.

He's working so hard with
his little default sit. I'm gonna crumble a
little treat on the floor, let him get distracted, wait
for him to look back at me. (clicker clicks)
There it is. (clicker clicks)
Good, so good. (clicker clicks)
Oh good, so you could see how fast
that little head turn was. He just whipped his head back to me. (clicker clicks)
Good, good job. (clicker clicks)
Yes, very good. So I'm waiting until he
actually looks up at my face and makes some eye contact
with me rather than (clicker clicks)
looking at my treat pouch or my hand. (clicker clicks)
Yes, very good. He is ready to start working, he's really giving me some
nice focus and attention, he's checking in with me, so
we're ready for the last step. The last step of this little warm up that I'm gonna do with Deacon, is to build some name recognition for him. I'm gonna say his name one time and then I'm gonna mark and reinforce his response back to me.

The more we reinforce the click response to their name being called,
the more we can use it and distract from the environments, we can use it when we're
out loose leash walking, we can use it to ask for other behaviors, so I'm gonna build that
up for him right now. I'm only gonna say his name one time and I'm gonna just kinda
wait for him to process it, I'm not gonna re-cue too soon if he doesn't respond right away. Deacon.
(clicker clicks) Good. (uplifting music) Deacon.
(clicker clicks) Good. (uplifting music) Deacon.
(clicker clicks) He's too quick for me. Deacon.
(clicker clicks) Good. So I'm just gonna do a couple of these. Deacon.
(clicker clicks) Good, good job. Now that Deacon is all warmed up and he's giving me some really
nice attention and focus, he's responding to his name well, we're ready to start doing some loose leash walking training.

The first step of loose
leash walking training is to make sure that you
have the right equipment for the dog that you're working with. With little Deacon here, he's
working really well with me, he's not pulling too much and we happen to be in kind of a lower distraction environment, so I'm probably just gonna
use his regular collar and this leash. If he were to pull quite a bit, I would then use a management tool like this front-clip harness. The way a front-clip harness works is that it fastens under the dog's tummy and then on his chest. The leash clips right on this center ring so when the dog pulls, it just kind of gently redirects their motion off to the side and actually changes
their gate a little bit so they're not pulling as much.

What we would never wanna
use with a dog who pulls is any sort of aversive equipment, so prong collars, choke
chains, shock collars, things like that. What happens when you
use aversive equipment, is that it tends to create a lot of negative
side-effects for your dog. So it can create anxiety, fear, it can create negative
emotional associations with whosever walking the dog or things that are out in the environment when they're getting
poked by the prong collar or choked with the choke chain, and it's just really unnecessary. The key to loose leash
walking is really teaching, and practicing and reinforcing
the behavior that you want rather than punishing the
behavior that you don't want. 'Cause when you're punishing
your dog for pulling, you're not actually teaching them anything and you can create a lot
of other negative affects. We are not going to use
this front-clip right now, so I'm just gonna toss
this out of the way.

pexels photo 4148998

Yeah, where did that go? (lips smacking)
Come here, good boy. I'm gonna start by teaching
Deacon where I want him to be. I would like him to be
over here on my left in kinda of a more formal heal position. I'm gonna bring him over
here, I might use a lure or just my hand. Once he gets to this side, I'm gonna mark and reinforce him for being there. I might ask for a sit or he
might just offer it to me 'cause he's got such a
nice little default sit, or I might just mark him in a stand. (lips smacking)
Come over here buddy. Good boy. (clicker clicks)
Good. That's nice. Gonna do that one more time. (lips smacking)
Come on buddy (clicker clicks)
Good. So he's starting to realize that he gets reinforced on my left side.

Come on buddy. (lips smacking) (clicker clicks)
Good. That's very good. I'm just gonna move around
with him a little bit, (clicker clicks)
good job, and I'm gonna keep marking
and reinforcing him. After walking around
with Deacon a little bit and just really reinforcing
him for being on my left side, so another thing that I want to remember to reinforce him for is any of those little foundation skills that we did during the warm up. So responding to his
name, checking in with me, all that kinda of stuff. So he's got such a
strong little default sit he just keeps offering this
sit to me, I'm gonna work on just creating a couple
other little behaviors that I can ask him for that I can reinforce
when we're out on a walk.

What I'm gonna do with him right now is create a little nose
touch, so a target behavior. So I'm going to present my hand, just kind of right in
front of his little nose. He's gonna lean forward
and probably bump my hand, I'm gonna mark and reinforce that, and then I can use that
little targeting behavior out on walks, to kind of
keep his attention on me, if I need it. So I'm just gonna present my hand right in front of his little nose. He's probably gonna lean
forward and bump it. And if he does, I'm gonna
mark and reinforce that. (clicker clicks)
Oh, so he also offered me a little paw which I didn't actually wanna click, but I did click it so hopefully I haven't
changed those behaviors. I'm gonna see if I can
just get a nose touch instead of the paw.

(clicker clicks)
Good. But he started to give me his paw but I think I clicked it soon enough that hopefully I can fade that paw and (clicker clicks)
just get a little nose touch. (clicker clicks)
Good. There we go. Once he's given this
behavior to me a few times and I feel that it's consistent (clicker clicks)
then I might go ahead and add a verbal cue to it. So I'm just gonna see if I can get it, oop, right here baby. (lips smacking) You did it, just a couple more times.

(clicker clicks)
Good. (uplifting music) So I don't want that paw. I'm gonna just kinda try
to reset him a little bit. (clicker clicks)
Good. So he's still a little bit uncertain about which behavior that
I'm asking him for here. (clicker clicks)
Good. There we go. So I'm gonna add a cue,
a verbal cue, to this now because he gave it to me
a couple times in a row. Touch?
(clicker clicks) Good. And sometimes when we put a
verbal cue onto a behavior that a dog is a little
bit uncertain about, it can kinda solidify for them which behavior that I'm asking for.

(lips smacking) Touch?
(clicker clicks) Good, very good. So now I've got this
little tool in my toolbox of this touch behavior,
so when I'm out on a walk, come on (lips smacking) touch (clicker clicks)
good I can use that to kind of refocus him, get him back at my side. (lips smacking) Touch. (clicker clicks)
Good, so good. Oh, I dropped one. (lips smacking) Touch?
(clicker clicks) Good, so I'm making sure
that when I ask him to touch it's right here in left heal position so he's still getting reinforced for being exactly where I want him. Come (lips smacking). Touch?
(clicker clicks) Good, such a good puppy. So a couple other little behaviors that I can add to my toolbox that I can use for loose leash walking, and he's already got this
really nice default sit, so I'm gonna use this
to build a new behavior that I like to call come front. So this is a behavior,
where you're walking along, dog is at your side, he might see something off in the distance that you don't really want
them getting fixated on, so you can ask them to come
front, sit in front of you and offer you some eye contact,
while you reinforce that.

So we're just gonna be walking along here. (lips smacking) Come on buddy. Come on buddy, yes, good boy.
(clicker clicks) So I'm get him moving around with me. Gonna be reinforcing him
for being at my left side (clicker clicks)
for checking in with me, maybe giving me a little touch
(clicker clicks) good. And then, I'm gonna freeze and I'm gonna kinda use
my little hand signals to lure him out in front of me. (clicker clicks)
Good. And then I'm gonna mark that sit. So I'm gonna do that a couple times, and then I'm gonna name the behavior and I'm gonna use a cue called come front. So we're just walking along
(clicker clicks) reinforcing some nice healing here and then I'm gonna swing back around and I'm gonna get him out in front of me.

(clicker clicks)
Good. So now I think I'm go ahead
and add a cue to this. So we're moving around. Good boy.
(clicker clicks) I'm reinforcing him for being in heal and then I'm gonna do this but I'm gonna pair it with my verbal cue, come front. (clicker clicks)
Good, very good. I do that a couple times. (lips smacking) Come front. (clicker clicks)
Very nice. (lips smacking) Let's walk. Good boy. That's so good. Good job. Come front. (clicker clicks)
Good, pretty good. Seems to be a little bit off
to my side but that's okay 'cause we can kind of refine
the precision of this behavior as we go. (uplifting music) Come front. (clicker clicks)
Very good, good boy.

So come front's just kind
of another little behavior that you can put in your
loose leash walking toolbox. So loose leash walking training can often kind of be a
little bit frustrating, sometimes we get frustrated with our dogs and so it's really important to build this for them from the bottom up. And remember, that this is
a difficult thing for them, it's not a natural behavior. It's something that we
really need to teach them. So always remember to start in
a low-distraction environment and really build some of
these foundation skills before you take your dog
out into the real world and expect them to be able to perform. So just keeping in mind all
the things that we covered and I hope you have a good walk.

(uplifting music) (dog barks) (uplifting music).

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