5 Tools To Aid Loose Leash Walking

5 Tools To Aid Loose Leash Walking

5 Tools To Aid Loose Leash Walking

As discussed in a previous article, helping clients teach their dogs to walk nicely on a leash can be a struggle.  But there are some tools available that can help your clients manage their dogs and make walks more pleasant while assisting with loose leash walking.

Front Clip Harness

Harnesses are wonderful for keeping pressure off of a dog’s delicate and injury-prone neck area. However, to make a pulling dog easier to walk, you want to make sure the harness clips in the front, at the chest, not at the back.  Having a front clip harness can make loose leash walking easier because when the dog pulls, the front clip swings the dog around to face you which keeps them from getting a lot of leverage.  The most popular front clip harness is probably the Freedom Harness by 2 Hounds Design.

Waist Leash

It is remarkably frustrating for your clients to have their arms yanked around while walking their dogs. Hand-held leashes can actually hinder loose leash walking a bit because there is no set length for the dog to learn to work within; the leash is perhaps 6′ long when the arm is at the side, but when the dog pulls they can gain another 18-24″ from the arm getting yanked!  A good waist leash can provide consistency for the dog to aid in their loose leash walking skills while keeping your clients safe.  Not only do their arms not get jerked around because the leash is around their hips, if the dog does lunge they are much less likely to get pulled over because the leash is at their center of gravity.  A good waist leash that is safe enough for even the strongest dogs is the Dog-Safe Hands-Free Leash by Blue Dog Training.

Target Cue

A very simple hand targeting cue that has been heavily reinforced can make loose leash walking much more attainable.  When your client’s dog starts getting close to the end of the leash, they can cheerfully request a target and the dog will come back and bop their hand.  When rewarded for this frequently enough, the dogs will learn it might just be easier to stay closer in case their owner decides to cue them again.  Most dogs think hand bopping is great fun!

Large Safely Contained Area Or Long Line

Having access to a fully enclosed field or tennis court has multiple benefits when it comes to loose leash walking.  Your clients can allow their dogs off-leash safely to run some of the crazies off before going on a more structured walk.  Or they can stroll around the field and reward heavily when their dog comes by them.  This creates a dog that loves being around its owner!  If the area is not 100% safely contained, a long line can provide the same benefits.  Sturdy 50′ lines can be made very inexpensively from items at any large home improvement store.  Remember – a 50′ line actually gives the dog 100′ of running room, plenty to allow the dog to zoom off some of that energy.

Clicker And Treats

These are counting as one “tool” because they are a set.  Though all the above tools will make loose leash walking more comfortable for your clients, you still want to show them how to use their clickers and treats to train an actual loose leash walking behavior with their dogs, not just manage it. Management is great.  Training is better.

What tools have you found that help your clients manage comfortable loose leash walking?

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Preventing Bribery: How To Get Treats Out Of Your Client’s Hands

Preventing Bribery: How To Get Treats Out Of Your Client’s Hands

Preventing Bribery: How To Get Treats Out Of Your Client's Hands

How To Prevent Bribery In Dog Training

In the dog training world, there seems to be two big groups of clients. On one side, there are clients who are incredibly stingy and hoard treats like they are gold, and on the other side, there are clients who never let a treat leave their hand or in front of their dog’s noses. For those clients who find it hard to put down the treats, we have to get creative and find ways to get those treats out of their hands. Here are some tips on how to prevent bribery in dog training.

Treat Bags

If clients are working away from their ziplock bag of treats, it is likely that they will take handfuls so they don’t have to keep going back to the bag every click. A treat bag on their waist or a treat vest will keep their treats accessible so they do not have to load up a handful before a training session.

Let Me Help You

As a teacher, we are there to monitor our students. If we hold the treats for our clients, then we can monitor when they go for the treats. This can make our clients more aware of their clicker and treats, and prevent them from grabbing a treat before they click. This technique does require you to accompany the client as they work so their treats are accessible. An approach like this may not be appropriate for everyone or every dog. Assess your situation before utilizing this approach.

Positions

If your client consistently grabs for a treat before the click, try finding a ‘home’ station. Collaborate with your client and find a position that their hands can go back to every time after clicking and treating. Once they use the position enough, it will become second nature and will get rid of the premature grabbing of the treats. This technique can also be used with the previous suggestion.

TAG Teaching

TAG teaching is the human equivalent of clicker training. You, the trainer, will come up with a TAG point for your client. A TAG point is the criteria of what you want. An example could be, “The TAG point is hand on thigh.”  It would be your client’s job to return their hand to their thigh after every click/treat. When your client does place their hand on their thigh, you would click your own unique clicker just for your client. In this case, the click is reinforcement to your client for a job well done. TAG teaching makes your client aware of what is expected of them and makes them more aware of what they are doing. After enough times, it becomes routine for your clients to keep placing their hand on their thigh. To learn more about TAG teaching, visit their website here.

Being a trainer means that we must be good teachers to our clients. When our clients have good clicker mechanics, they can achieve anything they want. Sometimes we have to use our creativity to help our clients become proficient at training.

What other creative ways have you used to get treats out of your client’s hands?

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