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Old 11-24-2012, 10:58 PM
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Question Gentle Leader

I just bought a Gentle Leader the other day. I'm trying to train Gwen 'how' to walk beside me. My boyfriend is more strict about dog training than I am. I don't mind letting her sniff around. I'm only walking because of her. But as we're starting to go out in public more I would prefer to have more control over her. She doesn't really lunge or have problems on the leash; she's just always ahead and (sometimes) behind and does her own thing. Which makes it difficult when another dog (or human) passes and I need her to be beside me. She listens fairly well and from the little training we've done, she's done excellent. I'm trying to learn the 'best' ways to train her. This is my (and our) first dog that we own and we want to do the best for her. Is this Gentle Leader effective and a 'good' way to teach her how to walk? She seemed to do really well on it last night when we went for a short walk. Any comments would be welcome. I'll take all the help I can get.

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Old 11-24-2012, 11:30 PM
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The Gentle Leader will not necessarily 'teach' her to wak with you, but rather work as a tool to give you more control while training her. I personally recommend teaching two cues, Heel and Go Sniff. Heel essentially means stay glued to my side until further notice, so it is used for crowded situations or passing others. Go Sniff means go ahead and sniff, potty, explore, and use the full length of the leash-- as long as there's no pulling.

The gentle leader works well for gently enforcing heel with little effort from you, but the effort of teaching still has to be you. Make sure you take the time to get her used to the gentle leader before using it, as most dogs don't take to it right away!
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:34 AM
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The gentle leader won't teach her how to walk properly on a leash, and as soon as you switch to a regular collar she'll behave the same as usual.

However, it's a pretty good tool to use if you want more control over her and don't want to struggle with a dog that pulls, and while you're using it you can train her to walk nicely.

Some good methods to try for loose leash walking are the "be a tree" method, where you stop and stand still, ignoring her, when she forges ahead, or to continually change directions and mark and reward her when she is coming next to your leg in the heel position, but you need to be VERY consistent with these methods.

You can also work on a formal heel and a release while also teaching her to walk without pulling, but not necessarily being right next to you. That way, she can sniff around, but if you're passing people or something, you can call her to heel so that she's not in the way, and then release her to sniff or relax (without pulling or lagging too much).
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:14 PM
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Susan Garrett's book Shaping Success has a wonderful section on not only using the GL, but how to wean off it as tool as well. Useful for anyone who uses training tools. Freaking tons of useful info in this book!
http://www.dogwise.com/ItemDetails.cfm?ID=DTA260

The Official Ahimsa Dog Training guide is a book I got recently just for kicks and I like that Grisha Stewart included her silky leash technique in it. I'm a big fan of hers because of her BAT book/technique and was curious so I got this other book. Lots of good basic stuff in the official training guide thats put together for first timers to understand very easily.

There are tons of great ways to teach loose leash walking out there, so no worries just pick the one that works best for you guys!

My girls are pretty much allowed to do whatever on casual walks so long as they aren't pulling. Our cue for sniffing something is "Check it out," they also know "go potty" and "stay on this side" for not getting tangled around poles lol.
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