View Full Version : walking on the leash and training classes!
28th November 2008, 11:20 PM
does anybody have any advice on training my cav to walk nicely on the leash. She was only brought out on a walk for the first time last week but of course she half choked herself,tripped me up and kept pulling ahead and getting herself tangled. I know of course thats expected on their first few walks but how do I start training her on it?ive never had much success with dogs on the lead especially not cavs!
also I was wondering if anyone could give e information about classes. I think she'd really enjoy some sort of agility class or something along the lines of that but does she have to be fully trained before that?she can only sit (when she's in the mood!) im living in kildare and have no idea if theres anything like that in my area?
any advice is welcome,thank you!:lotsaluv:
29th November 2008, 10:29 PM
Walking on the lead is where our Cavaliers' enjoyment of life can be a real pain! One way I find works is to stop as soon as she pulls, guide/coax her back to where you want her to be beside you, then take 3 or 4 steps, encouraging her to stay with you, and if she's still in the right place reward her with fuss and/or a treat. It's very tedious doing this every time she pulls, but they do seem to get the message that they don't go anywhere if they pull, only if they walk nicely. You need to train walking on its own - don't try doing it when you're actually wanting to get anywhere! To begin with it may take you 10 minutes to walk a few yards nicely. And don't reward her as soon as you get her in the position you want, only after a few steps - otherwise they can quickly get the message that pulling gets rewarded when they come to your side!
As far as training classes go, I would start with a puppy class to help her get well socialised. Then go on to some basic obedience - she will need that for doing agility anyway. I don't do agility with Oliver, but I gather from friends who do it that you shouldn't start dogs on it too young, before their bones have fully developed, as the jumping can be bad for them.
Have fun with your puppy!
Kate and Oliver
29th November 2008, 11:22 PM
I've always started mine on the leash by first letting them lead me. I just follow them around, only correcting them if they take the leash in their mouth (using the command "drop it"). When they don't really notice the leash anymore and it isn't a big deal being on them (after several sessions) then proceed to encouraging them to walk along with you. Use the command "heel" and praise and treat when they stay with you without pulling for a few strides. Make is positive and not scary and they will be getting excited at just the sight of the leash in no time!
30th November 2008, 09:03 PM
I took for granted that you had already done the basics at home of getting your puppy used to having the collar and lead on, and letting her lead you around the house and garden. And if you are at all likely to want to do obedience with her in the future, avoid using the word 'heel' when teaching basic walking - there's a world of difference between walking quietly on the lead in the street and doing formal heelwork! Though you can always use 'close' for the formal heelwork if you've used 'heel' for everyday walking; with Oliver I use 'walk' in the street and 'close' for his competition heelwork - there just needs to be a clear distinction between the two types of walking.
Kate and Oliver
1st December 2008, 07:36 PM
Personally I wouldn't advise ever using leash corrections for training, especially not on a cavalier. I prefer and support training approaches that do not use corrections at all -- which is basically a punishment form of training. I strongly advocate rewards-based training on this site.
A puppy will take a lot longer than a few walks to learn loose lead walking. This is something that requires time and patience. :thmbsup:
First off get your puppy onto a good secure harness, not a lead and collar, so that she is not putting pressure on her neck at all from pulling. This is now a general recommendation from several neurologists and all the vets I work with advise harnesses, not collars, for walking small breeds in particular due to the risk of tracheal damage.
If you don't have a good training and care handbook (every dog owner shoulkd have at least one), I recommend getting Dr Ian Dunbar's Before and After you get your Puppy.
There's information and video in this section, posted by TKC, of training loose lead walking. Tara runs Dog Training Ireland (http://dogtrainingireland.ie) and has run many special classes for us for cavaliers. :)
But here are some general directions, from Ian Dunbar's fantastic www.dogstardaily.com training and info site:
Teach your dog not to pull while you are both standing still. Hold the leash firmly with both hands and refuse to budge until your dog slackens the leash. Not a single step! It doesn't matter how long it takes. Just hold on tight and ignore every leash-lunge. Eventually your dog will stop pulling and sit. As soon as he sits, say "Good dog," offer a food treat, and then take just one large step forward and stand still again. Hold on tight; your dog will likely explode to the end of the leash, thereby illustrating the reinforcing nature of allowing your dog to pull for just a single step. Wait for your dog to stop pulling again (it will not take as long this time). Repeat this sequence until your dog walks calmly forward (because he knows you are only going one step) and sits quickly when you stop and stand still. Your dog quickly learns he has the power to make you stop and to make you go. If he tightens the leash, you stop. But if he slackens the leash and sits, you take a step. After a series of single steps and standstills without pulling, try taking two steps at a time. Then go for three steps, then five, eight, twelve, and so on. Now you will find your dog will walk attentively on a loose leash and sit automatically whenever you stop. And the only words you have said are "Good dog."
But you can download a longer explanation of training this here :):
1st December 2008, 07:39 PM
Some other good starting points for training:
Notice how many cavaliers illustrate the exercises... :lol:
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