Monday, May 2, 2011

How To End The Leash Pulling Behavior In Your Dog Using Clicker Training?


Are you one of those dog owners who find it unmanageable to walk your dog? Is s/he terribly distracted and pulls on his leash like crazy while walking him on the sidewalks? Then you are not alone, there are thousands of dog owners like you around the globe who go through this ordeal everyday.


It was not long ago when I too was going through the same physical and mental stress every morning and evening while walking my Labrador Diego. Oh boy he was such an awful and powerful leash puller. It was almost impossible for me to hold on to the leash and there was enormous pressure on me that my hands would get numb and stiff after a half an hour walk with him. Huh! It was terrible!

I was foolishly trying to become my dog's pack leader or alpha dog after a reading a training book based on the debunked ‘Dominance Theory’, that has been proven to be wrong, inhumane and unsafe. Please click on this link to read an authentic document that proves it. But soon I was lucky enough to get the most effective solution to this problem as well as a host of other nagging behavior problems of my dog, and train him into a well behaved pooch through Clicker Training, a training method based on positive reinforcement.

What is Clicker Training?
It is the most effective, safe and humane dog training method based on positive reinforcement where you mark a desired behavior offered by your dog by means of producing a short, distinct ‘Click’ sound from a mechanical device called clicker, followed by a treat or praise that reinforces that behavior.

Clicker Training is used not just to train dogs but almost all animals in the world that uses no aversives or punishments. Clicking and marking a desired behavior is like taking a snap shot of a desired behavior and telling the dog that he has done something right and he’s going to get a yummy treat for that. Clicking is known as the bridging signal between the desired behavior and the reward.

Unlike the aversive methods, clicker training strengthens the bond between the owner/trainer and the dog and improves the confidence between the two. Since clicker training only uses rewards, it makes training an ever enjoyable experience for the dog that he would never lose his motivation for training.

How to train your dog not to pull the leash using clicker training?
There are different training methods to correct the leash pulling behavior in dogs. You would also get different types of harnesses in the market that claims to correct this problem without using any training method. But the most effective and safe way to teach your dog not to pull his leash is by ‘silky leash’ method based on clicker training.

This is a training method where you use only a slight leash pressure on the dog. And when the dog releases the pressure and “willingly” comes in the direction of the pull, you click and treat him. Silky Leash training is done in different levels.

Make your treats Tasty enough
During the initial stages of clicker training you need to make sure that the treats are really tasty enough for him to stay motivated during the sessions. Gradually you can wean him off the clicker and treats; and the dog will learn to stop pulling it’s leash without any click or treat. 

Level 1
Silky Leash training should first start in a small room, like a toilet where there is very less or no distraction for the dog, and with less or no movement. Put a slight pressure on the leash and wait for the dog to release the pressure and to move in the direction of the pull. When he does that you need to click and treat him immediately. You would need to do at least 5 or 6 half an hour sessions at each level or till the dog doesn’t pull the leash in the small confinement.

Level 2
When your dog learns not to pull the leash in the small room or confinement, you can move on to a bigger room with less distractions, and more movement i.e. walking around with your dog in the room where h/she gets the chance to explore different things. Apply slight pressure when you see him getting distracted. Click and treat him when he releases the pressure and heels with you.

Level 3
Now you can move on to a much bigger room or take your dog to your backyard where there are more distractions, with lot of walking and movements. Repeat the same process as in level 2. When he has fully learned not pull the leash in the backyard environment, you can gradually take him out on the sidewalks emulating a real walking situation and repeat the same process again till he fully learns not to pull the leash.

Please watch these two helpful videos that will make all the levels more clearly to you

Silky Leash training Video 1

Silky Leash training Video 2

If you directly start training your dog on the sidewalks or outdoors, your dog might not respond very well to the clicks or treats, because there are a lots of distractions out there in the outdoors. That’s the reason why it is essential to first start the training in a small room and then move on to bigger spaces by introducing more distractions and movements.

Clicker training is so effective that it can be used to train or correct any behavior problems in dogs. Clicker training has proven to be a very effective training method to train almost any kind of animals and birds.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Diego,

    Thanks for leaving a lovely commnet on our blog :)

    Your blog looks very informative!

    We'd love to see some pictures of you :D

    Licks and lots of slobber,
    Lexi and Jasper the Danes

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, I agree with Lexi & Jasper! Your blog is full of good information, Diego (does your human write it herself?) but I would love to see more personal stuff about YOU too!

    Slobbers,
    Honey the Great Dane

    ReplyDelete
  3. wow you have shared a nice video of dogs. i have also some thing for share. Training dog for a leash

    ReplyDelete