Continue to work with your dog on the skill of attention. Remember that there are at least 2 components to this:
The Say Please by Sitting program, used to its fullest advantage, and
The Watch Me behavior, used, among other things, to require your dog to orient to you and calm himself briefly before any exciting event. This week:
Increase time to 10 seconds, step by step.
Rehearse in new environments (your street, the grocery store parking lot, the park, etc.) initially asking for only very short “watches”.
Insert a brief “Watch” before any fun activity (meals, walks, play with dogs…)
As we have discussed in class, a reliable stay will go a very long way towards helping you and your dog pass the CGC (and gain control in real-life situations, too, of course.)
At this point your dog should be able to do a basic “Stay”, with the criteria of distance, time, motion and posture change (trainer can crouch, sit, etc. while the dog remains in “Stay”) established.
(If your dog cannot do this, please see your homework from Puppy Kindergarten, and/or Dog School, or talk to your instructor.)
This week, work on:
Sit-Stay for Greetings (by a human).
Start with an easy version, such as: Your training partner approaches, stopping 4 feet from you, as your puppy sits at your left side. You click and treat as the puppy holds position. At the next approach, your partner comes to 2 feet away, then in front of you, then in front and shaking hands with you, but ignoring the puppy.
Sit-Stay for Grooming
Touch puppy with brush, Click&Treat. Brush one short stroke, C/T. Gradually increase.
Check that you can handle feet and ears. If not, start slow, and pair the handling with treats.
Begin out-of-sight stays, preferably in a “down”, as we will use this for the Supervised Separation part of the Test, in which the owner is out of sight for 3 minutes.
To teach the “Down-Stay”:
Cue the Down, encourage your dog to lie on one hip, say and signal “stay”, count 3, click and treat if puppy is in position.
Initially, stay very close to the dog, crouched beside him, so that you can deliver treats placed between his paws.
Increase time a few seconds with each repetition, until the dog can hold the stay for a count of 30, then decrease the time, but stand by dog, rather than crouching.
Gradually increase the duration of the stay with you standing.
Gradually add some distance.
When your dog can do 60 seconds with you 5 feet away, add the first out-of-sight element, by walking behind something, so that almost all of you is invisible, for just a second. Let the dog see a bit of you, like a leg sticking out while the rest of you is hidden.
Go completely out of sight, but return immediately, no duration at all.
Go out of sight for a count of 2, then 4, then 8, the 12, then 2, then 12, then 16, and so on.
Observe the dog carefully when you return. If he looks stressed, you are raising the difficulty level too rapidly.
LLW (Loose Leash Walking)
When a dog pulls on the leash during a walk and he gets to keep walking, he is being rewarded for pulling on the leash. In order to teach him to walk with you without pulling, you must teach him he will not be rewarded for pulling and will be rewarded for walking without pulling.
Give your dog a cue such as “Let’s go” and start walking. As long as he walks with you without pulling, keep walking. If he pulls during your walk, STOP. Wait a few seconds for the dog to back up and the leash to loosen up and when it does, start walking again. If he pulls, STOP again. When the leash loosens (the clasp of the leash is hanging toward the floor), GO. Yes, it is a lot of STOP & GO at first, but with consistency the dog learns to keep the leash loose.
Problems you might encounter:
The dog doesn’t allow the leash to go slack when you stop. Wait for several seconds, and if the dog continues to keep the leash taut, or tap your leg and/or make “smoochie” noises. This should encourage the dog to come toward you. Praise him for being attentive and loosening the leash and start walking again.
The dog doesn’t attend to you and/or loosen the leash when you tap and smooch. Turn and walk in the opposite direction. This will force the dog to turn toward you and the leash will loosen. Praise him for loosening the leash as you walk. The leash will remain loose at least until he passes you and gets the end of it again. As long as it is loose, keep walking. If it becomes taut again, STOP, wait a few seconds. If the leash does not become slack, tap your leg and/or make smoochie noises. Praise when he looks at you and loosens the leash. Start walking again. If he doesn’t look at you and/or loosen the leash, turn and walk in the opposite direction and repeat.
I really need to get somewhere and don’t have time to STOP & GO. Consistency is very important. If sometimes pulling gets the dog where he is going and sometimes he doesn’t, it will slow progress considerably. But, sometimes we do need to get places. For short distances and if it is a small dog, carry him. For a larger dog, hold food or a toy next to you and use your voice to encourage him to walk next to you. For longer distances, consider using a front clip harness or a head halter to discourage pulling at these times. The dog needs training to accept the halter but it is a good management tool.
(an exercise to discourage pulling)
Find something the dog really likes; food, a toy, a person. Toss the food or toy a few yards away (if it is a person that you are using, he/she can just walk the distance ;-). Start walking toward the object of the dog’s desire. As long as the leash is loose, keep walking. If the leash becomes taut, STOP and back up a short distance, until the dog turns to look at you (this is the “penalty yards” part of the game). Get the leash loose and try again. The dog learns that by pulling, he gets further from his goal and that by keeping the leash loose, he gets what he wants.
The dog must meet with success, or he won’t learn. He must have an opportunity to get the object on a loose leash to learn the contingency. If you aren’t making progress, consider these modifications:
Use a less tempting object at first. When he is successful, introduce more tempting objects.
Provide a bit more slack in the leash than you want to end with. If consistently he gets within a foot of the object and then lunges/pulls, next time give him an extra foot of leash. The extra leash must be given BEFORE he pulls and not after. Give him an opportunity to get the food with the extra leash a few times and then “raise the bar.” Expect him to do it without the extra leash.