Sequoyah German Shepherds
Take a look at the page below to see some orphans that need a loving home!
The Collar -- What is this thing on my neck?
The first step in leash training is to get the pup used to a collar. Expect the pup to scratch at it. Put the collar on when the pup is
eating and playing under your supervision. Distract him from
thinking about it. Just like wearing a watch or a ring feels strange to you at first,
the strange sensation of a collar can annoy a dog or cause him to play
with the new item. But, after a little time, he will become
accustomed to its presence. In fact, many of them actually seem to
like their collars and associate them with going out for a walk or other
"adventure" if handled properly.
|Make sure that the collar fits and is comfortable -- I
personally prefer nylon
collars with a snap.|
|Only remove the collar if the puppy is not fussing over it.
Do not reward unwanted behavior.|
|Collars can be a hazard as well as a asset. The risks must be
are especially prone to the collar catching on something and strangling
the dog so you must be careful when leaving collars on dogs unattended.
Dogs that like to dig under the fence, for example, are more
likely to get hung on something.
On the other hand, a dog left outside unsupervised is at risk of being
lost. Remember, collar identification saves dogs' lives.
I have personally seen and treated both dogs and cats that have
gotten hung on a fence that they were either trying to climb, jump, or even dig
under. I have friends who have lost their dogs because of the
very same collars that were meant to protect them. On the other
hand, I also have many clients whose dogs have been lost without
collars. They now wish with all
of their hearts, that their dogs had been wearing a collar with some
form of identification to bring them back home. You must know your dog and consider
his habits and
tendencies. Decide which is better for your situation and remember
when using a collar, to make sure it fits properly. Keep
these things in mind with your pet and weigh the risks with each
Adding the Leash .. Is This a Toy?
The next step is to add a leash. Some pups seem overwhelmed by an
entire leash all at once. In these cases you can start with a shorter
leash or string. Add length as the puppy gets used to
it. Experienced dog people learn that chewed leashes can be useful later,
and this is one of those times. Find you a old leash or one that
your dog has previously "shortened" for you.
Attach the regular leash (or a shortened one) to the collar when the puppy is
eating or playing, and let the pup get used to it being there.
the collar, don't remove it when the pup is making a fuss about it. Remove
it at a time the pup has forgotten it's there.
Do not leave a leash on an unattended dog. It can catch on things
and trap the dog in dangerous and traumatic situations. Leashes are only
safe during supervised times. Remember this fact for those of you
who think that "run lines or cables" are completely safe.
By "run lines" I am referring to the line created by stringing a
tight rope or cable between 2 trees and attaching a short leash
to it so that it can slide back and forth along the cable.
I know of several clients that have lost their dogs to these
"contraptions". (I will say that I think that "runs" are
safer than just tying a dog out to a stake or tree, but they
still have their hazards. Okay, I am off my soap
Distract your puppy whenever he seems bothered by the leash or starts to chew it. It's fine to
apply Bitter Apple to the leash, but realize this substance does not
last long as a chewing deterrent, and will need to be reapplied for
every session. Doing this can keep leash-chewing from ever becoming a
habit, and save you money, work and the worry of a loose dog.
Before you pick up the other end of the leash with it attached to the
puppy, you need to first start teaching the puppy to come to you when
you call him. Clap your hands and reward him for coming with a
small piece of food or toy. (Treats are my preferred reward for
THIS type of training.)
Don't be afraid the puppy will always need treats to walk on a leash.
Leash walking has its own rewards, but a young puppy doesn't know that
yet. The treats just help you get started.
At all times, be prepared to reward your puppy with little treats,
toy games and other things the puppy likes, for moving with you, coming
to you, and looking at you. Each puppy is different. Pups have different things they like best,
and different things they respond to in different ways. You can build
your puppy's desires to interact with you by how you use your praise,
treats, petting, and the games you and your puppy play together. All of
this factors into your leash training as well as all other training,
both in puppyhood and later.
Now, you are ready to pick up the free end
of the leash.
The first thing that I work on when beginning my leash training is to
teach my puppy not to pull. I want to be able to walk with a LOOSE
leash. So, from the first time you pick up the leash, keep it
loose. I usually begin by giving just the slightest pull or tug on
the leash and IMMEDIATELY release the pressure, all the while calling
for him to come to me. As soon as he does, I give him both a treat
and lavish praise. I will then pat my leg and move away from him,
inducing him to follow. When he does, praise some more. Resist the
impulse to pull the dog around on leash, or even to guide the dog with
the leash. If you keep steady pressure on the leash, he may begin
to panic about his inability to escape. This will cause him to
learn to avoid the leash. If, however, you give just enough of a
tug to cause him to step toward you and just as quickly release the
pressure, he learns that the pressure goes away when he moves toward
you. He begins to then, comes when called because he knows
pressure will follow if he doesn't and praise and food follow if he
Work hard at remembering to communicate through your voice,
body language, and various other motivators. Keep your attention
on your mental communication with the dog, rather than trying to
communicate through the leash. The leash serves to merely get his
attention but should not be used to "reel him in".
If your puppy makes an attempt to pull you, your job is to stand
still (or even give a little tug back, and just as quickly release). The message to the puppy is simply that pulling on the leash is
fruitless. It doesn't work. When things don't work, people and dogs
eventually quit doing those things! As soon as the puppy notices
that trying to pull you didn't work because you stopped, switch into
your attention-getting, puppy-follow-me mode, and get that puppy coming
back to you! This is the game. And to a puppy, it really does need to be a
game. Make it fun for the puppy and you.
Leashes are wonderful things for dogs. Leashes mean getting to go out
of the house and yard to all sorts of interesting places. Leashes mean
enjoying the outside world. With a little
training, your dog will happily greet the sight of the leash, (just as
he does his collar) and walk
along on it easily without pulling.
Does this sound too good to be true? It's not. As with
training a puppy, start with treats or toys in the early stages, to
develop the ability to bring the dog to your side with a minimum of
If you are training your dog for dog sports, you'll need a different
word cue for recreational walking (such as "Let's go for a walk") versus
actual "heeling". The heel or other competition cue
word means precision, and certain other things, depending on the sport
involved. It also means full attention. Walking down the
street to exercise and socialize, you'll take your attention off your
dog and allow the dog's attention to wander, too. So you need a cue for
this walking that doesn't require full attention. It can be any word or
phrase you like.
When the dog pulls on the leash, the constant pressure
reduces the dog's ability to feel your motions with the leash,
resulting in the need for excessive pressure to restrain the dog. This excessive pressure can
cause physical problems such as throat irritation, coughing, and skin
irritation. It can also cause temperament
problems in some dogs.
Keeping a loose leash is really simple. All you have to do is react
every time the leash goes tight. Don't try to determine when the dog is
pulling. Instead, make it black and white by reacting whenever there is
tension on the leash.
So here's what you do. Start out for your walk. Make sure your arm
holding the leash is comfortable (bent with your elbow in to your side
is most common). Walking
along with your arm extended is not a good control position for working
a dog nor is it comfortable for you. The instant the leash goes tight use one of three options.
- Stop -- works well for sensitive dogs and young puppies.
- Pull backwards on the leash firmly and quickly (causing the
dog to have to pause or step back as well) and just a quickly
release the tension on the leash. Do not let your dog get
accustom to having pressure on his neck.
- And my personal favorite -- Quickly straighten your arm to create momentary slack in the
leash, and step off abruptly in a new direction. I usually turn right or
do a right-about turn. This creates an immediate pull on
the leash in a new direction and makes your dog start paying
better attention to where you are and where you are going.
It is after all, your walk too. This move will apply
enough pressure to his leash that he has to move to catch up.
This results in 2 things --
|He will be reminded not to pull|
|He realizes he is not the leader in this
When the dog turns attention to you and moves to get back close to
you, praise, praise, praise! And keep moving -- make yourself and your
actions unpredictable enough and interesting enough that the dog has to
make an effort to keep with you. Continue to generously praise the dog
for this effort. Soon, you will find that leash training really
isn't all that intimidating after all.