If you are looking for the greatest gold-mine of easy to use "change your dog's behavior" advice ever crammed into a newsletter series then read on!
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"Kali is a sheltie mix adopted from animal control. She is about a year old. We had Kali for two months when I started looking on the internet for different books on dog training. One of Kali's problems WAS she would have accidents in the house near the litterbox. We had no idea how to stop her. She was let out in the backyard often but would still have an accident. I then found the Secrets to Dog Training website. I decided to give Secrets to Dog Training a try. It was a lot less then calling a private trainer.
To my surprise there was something in the book that was very easy to try. I did and it broke Kali's habit of having accidents in the house immediately. Once you buy the book you can even e-mail Secrets to Dog Training with a question which I did. I had an issue with my four cats and dog. They answered my e-mail quickly and gave me suggestions which have helped. I would recommend Secrets to Dog Training to anyone looking for dog training information. It is well worth the money. Thank you."
-- Susan Cohen and Kali (Florida, USA)
I have a 5 year old de-sexed male Rottweiler. He is a very affectionate dog, but one major problem I have is when we are out walking he really drags on his lead behind me. The leash is rarely loose it's always tight as he is dragging behind.
PLEASE HELP! I have done training with him, but heel is obviously a real problem!
Hi there Laura,
Thank you for your email regarding your 5 year old Rottie. Leash pulling is a relatively common problem our customers experience with their dogs though usually the problem is that the dog is dragging their owner forwards. Normally, for those clients, the leash pulling problem can be relatively easily fixed by teaching their dog the 3 stages of the Heel command as outlined in Secrets to Dog Training. I have copied in the text from Stage 1 of the process below, even this stage should give you good results regardless of whether you have a puppy or fully grown dog!
The first stage of teaching your dog to heel is to prevent him from pulling on the leash at all.
1. You will need to have the collar and leash on your dog.
2. Stand next to and to the right of your dog so that you are both facing in the same direction and the dog is sitting on your left.
3. Start walking forward slowly in a straight line, leading with your left leg. As soon as your dog takes off and starts pulling on the leash, stand still and pull the leash back towards you. Do not drag the dog back towards you. All you need to do is halt its progress.
4. Wait until the dog stops, praise it and then continue walking. No command needs to be given at this stage as you are just trying to teach your dog good manners so that it can more easily understand the Heel command when the time comes to teach it fully.
If you apply this method for ten minutes at a time and for three or four times per day then within four or five days you should be ready to move on to the next phase. It is quite likely that you will get good results within a few minutes, at least enough that your dog will stop pulling you all over the place. It may take longer for some older dogs that have been given a free rein, so to speak, throughout their lives to change their leash-pulling behavior.
Even though the issue you would like help with is dragging behind on the leash, instead of pulling forwards, the heel command advice still remains the same. The meaning of the command is that your dog remains by your side. This means that your dog shouldn’t be charging ahead of you, however it also means that he should be dragging behind you either. It will take time to train him to walk beside you and you will need to try various things to get him to walk beside you rather than behind you.
This is definitely not a common problem our customers face, however the training is somewhat the same as a dog pulling on the leash in the opposite direction! The basis of training is getting your dog to heal, which may take some work by the sounds of things. It sounds as though you may have already started this training. If you devote two or three 5 – 10 minute training sessions every day with your dog, you should notice a difference with a month or so.
The reasons for this behavior are possibly four fold:
1.) Your dog has a health related problem and it isn’t comfortable walking at the speed you would like it to
2.) Your dog becomes interested and distracted by other things on a walk and thus doesn’t heel
3.) Your dog doesn’t like going on walks (I doubt this would be the cause! I don’t know of any dogs that don’t like walking – unless of course it hurts them, but that does us back to point number 1)
4.) Finally - your dog may just be lazy!!
For the reason mentioned in the first point, I would like you to consider taking your dog to your local Veterinarian to get a quick check up. It is not likely that this is the case, but if there is a disease related issue going on the background here, it is better that it be brought out into the open. You Vet will be able to pick up if you dog is lame in any of his limbs and will be able to check for any other clinical signs that may be pointing towards a diagnosis of a problem.
By depriving your dog of walks for a while, you may be able to notice whether his interest in the walk itself rather than the surroundings picks up. This should help him pick up his excitement and interest in going for walks and you may hopefully find that he stops dragging behind you.
If your dog is simply disinterested in walks, you will need to think of ways to make them more exciting. Take him to the beach if you’re near one, or a dog park where you can let him off the lead and roam around. This may also rekindle a love for walking and the outdoors again. It will also show him that although he may not like the lead, it is worth the trip to behave properly with it on in order to get the reward of being let off the lead.
This will in fact be the basis of your training. For starters, I would like you to (at home) train your dog 2 – 3 times per day for 5 – 10 minutes at a time. Put the lead on him and walk around your backyard (I’m assuming you have a backyard – if you don’t go down to a park). By using a reward he really likes (a small food snack he loves for example), hold this in your hand with a closed fist so he can smell it but not eat it. Begin walking around in a circle around your yard with your clenched fist by your side so your dogs head is about a foot in front of you following the food. This is roughly the position you want your dog to be in when ‘heeling!’. Try picking up the pace with your dog, while giving your dog plenty of encouragement and saying "Heel! Good Boy!!". Bring your hand up towards your chest and keep walking. If your dog remains in the heal position, give him part of the food that is in your hand (while you are still walking if possible). Repeat this for a few days. After 3 – 4 days of this training, continue with it, however don’t give him a food reward every time he is expecting one. Continue decreasing the frequency he gets food rewards of the next two weeks. After a couple of weeks of training take your dog out in public to try this method. Aim to have a dog park as the final destination of your walk. If you dog does well near the end of the walk with his heeling and he hasn’t been dragging behind you, let him off the lead (if you believe this is safe) and give him a good chance to have a sniff around. By doing this for the next couple of months you should hopefully see a significant improvement in his behavior. A further consideration is to ask yourself if you are pushing the dog too hard currently. Are you walking faster than he can handle? This is something you will know straight away; I’m just trying to come up with possible answers to help you!
I hope this helps your current situation. It will take time, persistence, consistency and patience to have an effect on an older dog, however within several months training you should see a significant difference.
Best of luck with your dog and please let us know how you get on.
Daniel Stevens and the Secrets to Dog Training Team
I've been a professional dog trainer for well over 20 years, and in that time I've helped thousands of dog owners just like you to get the friendly, well behaved, slipper fetching, best pal they always wanted.
But it didn't start out that way. I've always loved dogs, some things never change. But when I first started my professional dog training career I relied on the so-called 'best practices' when it came to dog behavior training. It was only when I heard people tell me over and over again that they just weren't seeing results that I started to question the old accepted wisdom. So I started a journey, a quest to search out the best, most effective, techniques, tips, and tricks that really work.
And that's how I came up with Secrets to Dog Training. Year after year I found new techniques that achieved the results I wanted. Eventually I had a whole book worth of great resources: Secrets to Dog training...
So, if you want to:
Then Secrets to Dog Training is just what you've been looking for!