15 minutes to manners on leash

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Postby mnp13 » March 1st, 2006, 2:08 pm

(I typed all this out a while ago for another list I'm on, so here you go with a few updates and revisions...)

If you are looking for basic leash manners when walking there is an EASY way to do it with a prong. It takes about 15 minutes and your dog will teach itself. You can NOT do this with a choke chain. They are useless as soon as the dog is on the wrong side of you or at the wrong angle. This will also not work with a flat collar, because all you do is jerk the dog's neck which is uncomfortable but not much by way of 'correction'.

I wrote this for heeling on the left, but you can do everything on the right if you choose.

Anyway, about the heel. Put a prong collar on the dog and hold the leash in your left hand with the dog on your left. Do not hold the leash with two hands, left only. The collar should be right up behind their ears, and the leash should be slightly slack. There should be a 'J' between you and the dog - i.e. no pressure on the collar at all. The prong should fit snug on the neck and not spin easily. Use the smallest links that are strong enough for your dog, just add more so that it fits. The prong should be a little difficult to get on, but not dig into the neck.

Now walk straight ahead, do not give the dog a command, do not look at the dog, just walk at a steady pace. Watch the dog out of the corner of your eye. When he gets ahead of you QUICKLY turn around. As you turn, let your left hand/arm trail behind you and then when you are facing the other direction bring your hand forward quickly. Continue to walk at a steady pace. Go at least 30 steps so that the dog is walking in a straight line, then turn again if necessary.

Do not turn and then take three steps and then turn again. You will just frustrate and confuse your dog. You need at least 10 steps to get both of you going in a straight line, then a bunch more to give your dog a chance to think about things.

You dog will yelp and may fight the first time you do this. The second time he may yelp as well. You are not injuring him, you are surprising him. You are teaching him through his own actions that he must walk in a position where he can see you and respond to your movements. After two or three turns he should turn with you with no trouble. He will teach himself that getting ahead of you makes him unable to see you turn, and if he can't see you turn he gets a correction. By not giving him a command he is not obeying or disobeying you - he is responsible for his actions - he also can't decide to disobey you and that is very important as well.

Try this out without him on the leash a few times. The turn must be smooth and controlled for it to work. You need to be confident as well, you are letting your dog know that you are the one in control of the walk and if he doesn't want to pay attention to you then he corrects himself for it. I'm sorry if this is hard to follow, I just do it automatically and it's hard to describe completely. (I did think of making a movie and posting it, but both Ruby and Connor are completely unwilling to misbehave while wearing prong collars!) If you are not getting a short 'pop' on the collar when you turn you need to work on your timing. The correction should be quick and short. If you do a long slow pull you will not 'get the point across'.

This may sound mean, but if your dog doesn't yelp the first couple times you do it you're not doing it right. Because the correction is short and fast and only comes when you turn around it sends a very clear message to the dog 'stay with me or you won't like the consequences'.

By making him responsible for tracking your movements you get a very willing 'heeler'. When he is where he belongs, say 'good dog, heel'. Then start saying the command when he is next to you walking. When you say 'break' allow him to roam to the end of the leash sort of push him away from you to get the point across that it's now ok to be out of his heel position, then say heel (and if necessary, turn) to get him back where he belongs.

With the dogs I train there are no 'stay' commands, there is only a command that the dog is to obey until another command is given. So he should heel until told to break, or if you have a 'go ahead and sniff every tree you see' command use that.

You may need to start off a few walks with this method before they get it down pat.


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Postby Malli » March 1st, 2006, 8:04 pm

ok, so.... I have some questions.

My dog does not yelp easily, I rarely hear any noise from him at alll, and if I do, he's usually hurt himself pretty bad. So I guess I'm wondering about that bit. He is very stoic, and I can't remember the last time I heard him yelp or cry.

Would it be inconsistent to not always use the prong? Like substitute a martingale for it instead? I'm guessing yes...

Most literature and advice I've read and heard suggests consulting a trainer to learn proper corrections while using a prong collar, what is your feeling on this?

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Postby mnp13 » March 1st, 2006, 8:14 pm

yes, you need to use a prong consistantly to be consistant in your training. If you switch back and forth your dog isn't going to 'get the point'. after your dog is reliable on the prong, you can start to transition back to your collar of choice.

I can't really help you on yelping thing, as I don't know your dog. You can use a prong correctly and not have the dog vocalize.

It is never a bad idea to consult a trainer. However, many trainers have their minds set in 'this is the one and only way' so though this way has worked well for a lot of people you may be told this is the worst thing they have ever heard of. (and they are the ones who are wrong :wink:)
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Postby Malli » March 2nd, 2006, 1:00 pm

gotta love the world of dogs, eh? Everyone has their opinion on aggression to nail trimming!! :ROFL2:

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Postby ellie@ny » March 5th, 2006, 9:42 pm

Hey Michelle!We tried this today,and it works!!!Nico didn't cared about anything after the 2. turn....He was all about heeling...Thanx :)
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Postby Sarahdee » July 13th, 2006, 11:40 am

THanks for all this help.
I have used the prong collar, but I don't think I was doing it right.
I will try it this way today.
thank you again
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Postby mnp13 » July 13th, 2006, 11:45 am

let me know how it goes!
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Postby Sarahdee » July 14th, 2006, 9:22 am

I did exactly what you said yesterday and it worked great.
He pulled about 3 times, and then walked very nice with me!
thanks for your help.
I will keep doing this so he gets the point :)
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Postby Gatsu » November 8th, 2006, 4:21 pm

i just bought one today, the second it was one her she stoped pulling (was trying it on getting the size). Its like a miracle cure....

gonna follow ur instructions a little later
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Postby mnp13 » November 8th, 2006, 4:48 pm

No training method is a miracle, and if she was suddenly behaving I would hazard a guess that it felt like the collar was correcting her right off the bat.

Be very careful of making her collar smart or you will have a heck of a time weaning her off of the collar. Trust me, been there, done that.
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Postby Gatsu » November 8th, 2006, 8:54 pm

OMG MICHELLE I LOVE U!!!!

she did yelp twice, but after that she wouldn't take 1 step ahead of me.... Now the other thing i noticed was she was almost afraid to go past me is this normal?

the second i would stop she look for me a run right to the side of me....

I'm going to teach this/ give ppl a print out of this technique!!
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Postby mnp13 » November 8th, 2006, 11:10 pm

On November 08 2006, 19:54, Gatsu wrote:OMG MICHELLE I LOVE U!!!!

she did yelp twice, but after that she wouldn't take 1 step ahead of me.... Now the other thing i noticed was she was almost afraid to go past me is this normal?

the second i would stop she look for me a run right to the side of me....


I'm glad it worked for you!!

She is probably confused about this... I would almost guarentee that. Make sure you are not over correcting her, and give her LOTS of praise when she is in the right place.

Turn, walk and when she catches up and takes a few steps where she belongs tell her she's a good girl. Remember, this is not teaching a precision heel. If she gets a little ahead of you that's ok. If you stop and she stops then she is keeping you in sight. Ruby can get about half a body length ahead of me and track me with no real difficulty. If you over do it, she will start to lag and that is just as much of a pain as forging.
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Postby Zoeysmom » December 24th, 2006, 4:22 pm

I was wondering if I can use this on my rott puppy? well not NOW but when he gets a little older (5-6 months) he is 4 months and he pulls with all his might...but we can handle him. I just want him to have leash manners for when he is a BIIIIG dog. I imagine we could use just a normal collar for now (the turning around thing)?? Or how can i go about this?
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Postby Patch O' Pits » December 24th, 2006, 8:57 pm

On December 24 2006, Zoeysmom wrote:I was wondering if I can use this on my rott puppy? well not NOW but when he gets a little older (5-6 months) he is 4 months and he pulls with all his might...but we can handle him. I just want him to have leash manners for when he is a BIIIIG dog. I imagine we could use just a normal collar for now (the turning around thing)?? Or how can i go about this?

IMO no correction collars should be used on pups under 6 months old and then sparingly at 6 months you can start them if needed.
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Postby mnp13 » December 26th, 2006, 4:23 pm

On December 24 2006, 19:57, Patch O' Pits wrote:
On December 24 2006, Zoeysmom wrote:I was wondering if I can use this on my rott puppy? well not NOW but when he gets a little older (5-6 months) he is 4 months and he pulls with all his might...but we can handle him. I just want him to have leash manners for when he is a BIIIIG dog. I imagine we could use just a normal collar for now (the turning around thing)?? Or how can i go about this?

IMO no correction collars should be used on pups under 6 months old and then sparingly at 6 months you can start them if needed.


I agree.

maybe a mertingale, but I wouldn't even really recommend that unless the dog is able to slip a flat collar.

For very young dogs, I would even have a treat for after the turn. When they get back up to where they belong, put your hand down and give them the treat. I wouldn't say anything, just give the treat and get on with the walk.
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Postby delilahsmommy » June 3rd, 2007, 9:07 pm

will this work on a small puppy? I'm thinking about waiting on getting a prong collar until she is a bit bigger and try to regular leash train her....? suggestions?
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Postby ellie@ny » June 3rd, 2007, 9:50 pm

On June 03 2007, delilahsmommy wrote:will this work on a small puppy? I'm thinking about waiting on getting a prong collar until she is a bit bigger and try to regular leash train her....? suggestions?


You can use this method with a puppy on flat collar.
Please do not use-choke,or prong under 6 months.
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Postby mnp13 » June 3rd, 2007, 9:57 pm

no, it's not for small puppies. With puppies you do praise praise praise. They don't have a big enough attention span to understand what they are supposed to do, let alone what they are not supposed to do.

I've never raised a puppy, but there are a lot of people here who have. I'll start a thread for you :wink:
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Postby BigDogBuford » June 3rd, 2007, 11:23 pm

On November 08 2006, mnp13 wrote:
Be very careful of making her collar smart or you will have a heck of a time weaning her off of the collar. Trust me, been there, done that.


This is Joxer's issue. Any suggestions for me now that he's collar wise?
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Postby delilahsmommy » June 3rd, 2007, 11:41 pm

thanks was wondering what age would be good to start:)
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