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So Cobber and I are back in obedience classes, and last week's main topic was loose-leash walking, one of our biggest problem areas. I get the idea of standing still when he lunges or pulls hard to go to something, and if that doesn't work I get the concept of turning around and going the other way so that he gives up on whatever he's lunging toward and starts walking nicely again. Then, when he's trotting nicely beside me, we turn back to the original direction and try again. I get that he's supposed to figure out from repetitions of this that he'll get where he wants to go a lot faster if he behaves.

However, last night we had done a wonderful walk around the entire neighborhood and we were headed home. Cobber knew where we were going, and he was tired and wanted to get there, so he pulled like a fiend. As a result, we must've done 25 (no joke) repetitions of "stop pulling" (me standing still then turning the other way, etc). I know he's smart, and I know he gets this most of the time, but not when he wants to go home, then he becomes totally bull-headed and more than able to ignore me, treats and all. We could've spent the entire night walking back and forth in that one spot while he behaved well going away from the house but then ran/lunged/pulled when we headed homeward again. Every. Time.

Does anyone else have trouble with pulling getting worse once you're headed homeward? I feel like giving in because I want to get home, too, but I know that's not teaching him anything good except he can wear me down and get what he wants.

At least the neighbors probably find this entertaining. :p
 

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Yes, I used to have a major problem with Jayne on our way back home. It gets better if you keep trying, believe me. It also gets a lot easier when you set aside your own embarrassment, too. Have you tried clicker training? After nothing else worked, I started using the clicker. Basically, when I did what you did, except when she remained by my side I clicked and treated. Then I'd increase how long she had to walk by my side before she got a treat.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! I have a clicker and keep meaning to use it, but then I wonder if I can successfully clicker train AND marker-word train while we're doing the obedience class. In other words, the class instructor wants us to use "Yes!"-and-treat, so that's what I've been doing, thinking that if I start using a clicker when we're at home, it will just confuse everything when we get to class. So once the class is over at the end of Oct I will switch to clicker.

Has anyone successfully done bother marker and clicker at the same time?
 

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Has anyone successfully done bother marker and clicker at the same time?
My dogs know the click and "Yes!" as the same thing. I started out saying "Yes" as I clicked and now I can do just 1 or both and it means the same thing to them. I find that easiest so if I have the clicker I can use it but if I'm not home and forgot to bring it or just don't have an extra hand for it I can use a marker word.
 

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I'm working on LLW walking with my newest right now. I have the opposite problem. He gets excited and tries to pull as soon as he's out the door. By the time we're returning home he's calmer and walking nicely.:p

Ditto PR's suggestion of "choose to heel" (clicking and treating when he hits your side). :)
Or you could try any number of or other LLW "games".
With Dexter, I normally do a variation of what PR suggested. I normally stand at the door and wait for attention. Then I click and drop a treat on the ground by my feet. As he sniffs and finds the treat I move move forward a few steps making sure the leash is still loose. When Dexter finds/eats the treat he moves to follow. When he hits my side, I click, drop another treat , and move forward. He eats it and then moves to catch up. Repeat, repeat, repeat.:p
Get's us moving pretty quickly! And now that he is getting the hang of it I am increasing the number of steps beside me. I normally start out with a few reps of just clicking for him hitting my side. Then once he's into the game I start working on short distances at my side.

Also, we've been going to an attention and heel work class. We're actually using hand targeting to help teach a competition heel, but the same method could be tweaked and used for LLW (really it's careful hand target and reward placement that teaches a heel vs. LLW. I can give you more detail is you want!). I'm not going to explain this well but, basically we're asking our dogs to repeatedly pop up and touch our hands. Since Dexter has been heavily reinforced for hand targeting and really just likes jumping, he loves this. He just stares up as we move waiting for my hand to pop out. We started out by asking the dog to target every step forward. So one step, present hand, dog pops up to touch. C&T. Repeat. But once they get the hang of it we increased the number of steps forward. :)

Lemme see what other LLWgames I can find. I know I saw some nice videos on youtube a week or so ago!:)

Oh! And yes. I use both a verbal marker and clicker with my dogs. I typically use the clicker for formal training sessions and my verbal marker when out and about or to capture good behavior when I do not have a clicker in my hand.:)
 

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Here are a few of the videos.
SuccessJustClicks made these first 2 videos. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing them here.:)

"Choose to Heel"
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks!!

I have been marking and treating Cobber every time he's walking nicely at my side and checking in with me. That always gets a "yes!" and a treat. What I find is I am basically a human Pez dispenser to him. Cobber trots up to my side and checks in, I mark and treat, then (still not pulling) he trots off to the side, behind, crossing in front of me, etc., and when he wants another treat, he gets right back in position at my side and looks up at me because he knows that's the only place where he'll get a treat. I think he has me completely figured out but he's really good at working the system for his own benefit ;)

Of course, all that goes out the window when we get to the lunging-for-home mode at the end of the day. But I will start using the clicker and see if I can get a little more attention from him with that.
 

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Thanks!!

I have been marking and treating Cobber every time he's walking nicely at my side and checking in with me. That always gets a "yes!" and a treat. What I find is I am basically a human Pez dispenser to him. Cobber trots up to my side and checks in, I mark and treat, then (still not pulling) he trots off to the side, behind, crossing in front of me, etc., and when he wants another treat, he gets right back in position at my side and looks up at me because he knows that's the only place where he'll get a treat. I think he has me completely figured out but he's really good at working the system for his own benefit ;)


Since he is taking a treat and then leaving, I would personally try a couple of different things.
- The choose to heel variation I described with treat dropped on the ground. Drop it by your toes on the side of your body you want him to be. Move as he lowers his head to eat the treat. Be ready to C&T when he hits your side to catch up.
- Increase your rate of reinforcement and focus on building duration. Since he's just learning you want to be marking and rewarding rapidly (try for between 12-20 C&T per minute). So quickly in fact that you are clicking and offering another reward before he even has the chance to move away. Might mean for now that you'll take one step forward, click and treat, then click and treat rapidly an additional 3-5 times with you both remaining stationary. Then move forward a single step and repeat. Then once Cobber starts to understand that it pays to stay with you, make the transition to one step = C&T. With this method, I would probably be rewarding from my hand (left hand if dog is on my left and right hand if dog is on my right) and very close to my body. Ideally I would be returning my hand to "home position" (tends to be either at your side or against your stomach depending on the person) between each C&T but don't worry if you can't do that initially. You really just want to focus on teaching Cobber to stick with you rather than grab a treat and wander off. :) Does any of that make sense?
-Teach him to follow you by first having him follow in front position as you move backwards. Then once he understands ad steps in other directions. IIRC the first video by SuccessJustClicks shows this method and the following steps in detail. The bonus to this game would be that you take backwards step towards your house and prevent pulling.;)
 

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I've been working on this too with Koda-she has both the initial (omg lets explore! at the beginning of our walks and 'omg I'm tired!' at the end (esp on our way back from the tennis courts where she's able to run around or a long walk). You're not alone!! ><

We don't use treats for this in the same 1-step-1 treat way because she gets more hyper about the treats and starting jumping around like mad (or completely ignores them if it's not high enough of a value, like her kibble for dinner), likewise with no moving she just finds something else to sniff. When I tried using the clicker for this, she simply stopped accepting treats because sniffing and watching for people who might jump her was more rewarding. So we turn around and go in the other direction EVERY TIME. I think I walk about 5km right in front of my building but I'm not sure because we don't go more than 500m....not really. But I definitely get some funny looks, and when people pass us on the sidewalk it can be difficult since there's not enough space so we have to stop and typically I have to hold her :( or she'll go try to sniff and bother them for attention. The squirrels like to taunt her too, which doesn't help. She gets verbal reinforcement too just to help guide her along-good for when she's not pulling, and 'too far' or 'slow' for when she is or is just about to. It goes slowly this way but she's definitely getting better. I wish I could be using treats to help speed things up but I found it actually slowed things down for her since she needs to work on impulse control some more...turning around preventing her from sniffing seems to work best, since she lags after we turn then slowly starts to build up to a trot when we turn again.

The worst is when people are following her-she hates it-and she'll end up walking backwards trying to figure them out. So she's pulling both directions and the only other place we could physically go where she isn't pulling is in front of a car..not my idea of fun. Sorry, pup. :(
 

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Thanks!!

I have been marking and treating Cobber every time he's walking nicely at my side and checking in with me. That always gets a "yes!" and a treat. What I find is I am basically a human Pez dispenser to him. Cobber trots up to my side and checks in, I mark and treat, then (still not pulling) he trots off to the side, behind, crossing in front of me, etc., and when he wants another treat, he gets right back in position at my side and looks up at me because he knows that's the only place where he'll get a treat. I think he has me completely figured out but he's really good at working the system for his own benefit ;)

Of course, all that goes out the window when we get to the lunging-for-home mode at the end of the day. But I will start using the clicker and see if I can get a little more attention from him with that.
I started just click and treating when mine walks nicely. I used to treat for turning and looking or checking in now I ignore those behaviors and treat walking close to me with a loose leash. On your walk home when you turn and the leash is loose mark and treat as soon as the leash is loose. You can use the clicker at home and not in class it is fine. You will find that the clicker training will stick with your dog faster than marking with a word.
 
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