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Podengo Central

A place for Podengo owners and fanciers to share information and research the breed in a topical manner. Supported by the APPMGC & APPPC


    Be a Tree - how to teach a dog to walk on a leash

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    james ensor

    Posts : 133
    Join date : 2012-02-01
    Location : London, England

    Use a tree to teach a dog to be happier on a leash

    Post  james ensor on Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:10 am

    One of the ways that we have been trying to reconcile our dogs to being on a leash at all is known as the cheese tree. It seems to be particularly well suited to Podengos and other sniffing dogs. Find a branch in a tree about four foot off the ground and place in the pocket between the branches some chopped up cheese and/or meat. Do not let the dog observe this cache being placed. Later take the dog on the lead towards the tree with the cache. Even Podengos will not normally sniff out food at this height, which they would easily find at ground level. If necessary lift the dog so that he/she can smell the prize. Gradually the dog will associate being led on the leash by the owner with finding welcome surprises that they could not uncover off the leash.
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    dmcarty

    Posts : 75
    Join date : 2009-08-09
    Location : MN

    Be a Tree - how to teach a dog to walk on a leash

    Post  dmcarty on Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:08 am

    Sweet Rewards: Be Careful
    What you Reinforce!
    Elizabeth TeSelle


    The most common complaint of pet owners is that their dogs pull on the leash. Trouble is, most people don’t realize that they’ve been inadvertently rewarding their dogs for pulling on the leash their entire lives!

    How’s that?! Well, any behavior that is positively reinforced (i.e., the dog gets something good) will tend to occur again. If the dog sits and you give him a treat, you’ve increased the likelihood that he’ll sit in the future. When most people put a leash on a dog and he pulls, they follow him! Because pulling on the leash gets him what he wants – to go – you’ve reinforced him for pulling, and hence, increased the likelihood that he’ll do it again. Since most people walk their dogs 1-3 times a day, that’s a lot of reinforcements by 6 months or a year! Pulling quickly becomes a very strong, well-reinforced behavior.

    As with most training opportunities, if you teach the dog to walk on lead when she’s a puppy, you’ll see faster results. This is because the puppy hasn’t yet built up a long history of getting reinforced for pulling. Put the leash on the puppy and stand still with leash either around your waist (hands off) or clamped to your stomach so you can’t pull back. If the puppy pulls, do nothing. As soon as he looks back at you or lets the lead go slack, say "YES!" and immediately walk forward. Stop again as soon as the leash tightens. At first, you’ll find that you have to stop often. But most dogs figure out quickly that in order to get what they want, they’ll have to do it your way. We call this method "Be a Tree," and that’s how you should act. Just firm and solid and unmoving – until you feel slack on the leash and go forward.

    The other exercise you can work on involves large (20-30 foot) circles. With the leash around your waist (no hands), use a food treat in your left hand to lure the puppy into position at your left side. Click and treat (or "yes!"/treat) every few steps as long as the puppy is on your left side with the leash loose. Gradually you can lengthen the time between reinforcements. Make your circles large and be sure to practice in both directions. If you combine both of these exercises and are consistent with your puppy (don’t let him pull you around sometimes and not others or you won’t make much progress!) you’ll have a dog who walks politely at your left side.

    Training an adult dog who already has a reinforcement history for pulling works the same way, but will take a little longer because you must provide more reinforcements for not pulling than you already have for pulling! Consistency and patience will accomplish your goal (and a lot of treats and praise for what you like).

    We train dogs every moment we interact with them, whether we intend to or not! So look at what your dog is doing and consider whether you might have inadvertently reinforced him for doing the things he does that you don’t like. If so, reverse the cycle! Don’t punish him – just stop reinforcing him, while at the same time reinforcing something else that you DO like! Pretty soon the old behavior will be extinguished for lack of reinforcement and there will be a new, acceptable behavior with a strong reinforcement history in its place.



    Reprinted with permission from The Straight Poop online newsletter

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