Tips For Teaching Your Dog To Walk On A Loose Leash

Many of you know that for the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on a new dog training video series. There will be five new videos, and it will be combined with a number of other products that I currently sell as one big, colossal, super dog training information package. Or you’ll be able to buy the individual components separately.

The first of these five new videos has already been completed and I thought I’d share some brief observations that were included in this information-packed-teaching-tool, titled, “How To Teach Any Dog To Walk On A Loose Leash (And Never Pull Again!)”

1.) When you hold the leash, you need to keep your hands down by your waist.

2.) You need to walk at a much faster pace than most people expect, in the beginning.

3.) Once the dog is walking on a loose leash in one location, you must then work the technique in different areas, too. Usually about 7 to 9 different locations before the dog extrapolates and automatically walks on a loose leash, anywhere you go!

4.) When you turn (the explanation for this technique is also explained in my book, for those of you who haven’t purchased it yet!) … you need to really come out of that turn as if you just stepped on a bumble bee. This is necessary in order to give your technique that, “Two objects moving in opposite directions” feeling.

5.) You must incorporate sudden stops. If the dog keeps walking then you know that he’s not really paying attention, and this will give you another opportunity to do your right-about turn.

Dog Training As A Reflection Of Our Own Insecurities

Dear Adam: I have 2 neutered males: Sweet docile Tarzan (11 year old Chow) and crazy hyperactive Hudson (4 year old American Eskimo). Hudson definitely thinks he’s the alpha and I’m working on understanding that behavior and how to go about nipping it in the bud with your book. What I don’t know how to address is the fact that Hudson is hyperactive and wild.

When we get ready for our morning walk, Hudson attacks Tarzan as soon as they both get outside (sometimes while they’re still in the house). He bites and tears his fur and humps him. When he knows I’m going to make him stop, he humps faster and whips himself into a frenzy that goes as quickly as it began (like “okay, I did that. You now have my attention for what’s next.”) Hudson weaves back and forth on the leash, wanting to lead the way.

Tarzan is the usual well behaved angel. I need a few tips on how to walk BOTH dogs together. The worst, however, is if we should encounter another dog. I walk them at 6 AM trying to avoid another pooch, but the situation is literally horrible when Hudson sees another dog (squirrel, bird, cat, deer, don’t have as negative an effect). He goes ballistic! Shrieking hysterically, flopping around in the leash, straining, howling, tangling himself, me and Tarzan, and wailing “let me at it” in dog talk. I used to walk my boys twice a day, but there are just too many dogs out in the early evening. We’ve been walking for almost 2 years. Sometimes I think he’s got it and is semi calm, but it’s always because I remove him from the target dog and go in the other direction. Sometimes the sighting is unavoidable. He also wails like a banshee and tears at the fence when a dog is being walked past our house and he’s in the yard. HELP! How can I teach my beastie to calm the heck down because I’M THE BOSS NOT HIM! I’m at my wits end. My boyfriend has a dog we’d like to introduce into the pack. I fear Hudson will prevent that. Tarzan is an angel all the while Hudson is hysterical with a puzzled look on his fur-face, wondering what’s going on. He never retaliates any aggresive behavior displayed toward him, even when Hudson pulls out the hairfrom Tarzan’s tail!

I’m currently using a restraing halter to walk him, which I know is probably incorrect. I’m afraid to use a pinch collar because I’m nervous that he’ll twist and squirm his way out of it. Also, I have 2 artificial hips that keep me from bending and affect my range of motion. I HAVE to control this animal for the safety of everyone concerned.

I realize Hudson is a hyperactive crazy. I refuse to be driven insane by him and sincerely hope you can help me teach him to behave. Thank you in advance. I am already your devoted fan. reading your e-zine weekly, listening to the training tapes (great idea!) and praying for insight and strength.”


Thank you for the e-mail.

When you say, “I’m afraid to use a pinch collar because I’m nervous that he’ll twist and squirm his way out of it. Also, I have 2 artificial hips that keep me from bending and affect my range of motion. I HAVE to control this animal for the safety of everyone concerned.”

… what you’re really saying is: “I’m too afraid to do something to change and improve my situation.”

Often times, the lingering problems that people have with their dogs are merely a reflection of the owner’s own inability to take action despite already having the solution in front of them.

Obviously, you are smart enough to realize that you have a problem. So that’s not the issue. And physically… I doubt that’s the reason, either. It’s MUCH EASIER to walk a dog on a pinch collar than to do what you’re currently doing. I can guarantee this.

There is no way he can twist out of a pinch collar. Even if you’re paranoid, then simply double ring it with a slip collar. Common sense, no?

You have intelligence. You already have a solution to your problem (page 82, 173, 224). You’ve got the dog. SO… GET OVER your fear of success and start training your dog!!!



Dog Training For Competition Heeling – What To Do When Your Dog Stops?

I have a pupil with a 3 year-old Golden Retriever who came to me about 6 weeks ago because the dog was bolting out of the ring (and lots of other places) on the heel off lead.  [Editor’s note:  The ring refers to the AKC or UKC competition obedience ring.]  With the help of the e-collar [Innotek electronic remote training collar] we have cured him of this problem.  Now though, because he feels he can’t bolt during heeling off lead, he just stops dead and won’t move.

We are using the e-collar again and have prepared him with long lines etc. calling him up into heel position, but he just doesn’t “get” it.  Once the lead is off, he just stands there and puts up with the stimulation.  Put the lead on again, together with the stimulation, and he closes up.  Take the lead off and he stops.  On a No. 1 stimulation he just stands there, No.2 he turns his head, No. 3 he scratches the collar, No. 4 he scratches it harder, even though it has been explained to him, many times, that when he moves toward heel position the stimulation turns off.  Please help.  (I have your book and it is my bible for general problems).

Maxene Ricketts, Australia.sf¨¨

Dear Maxene:

Excellent question!

I’ve seen this behavior many times, myself.  And while I personally don’t like using the collar in this “low stimulation shuts off upon compliance” manner (I just don’t think it works as well as everyone thinks it does)… I will tell you what’s likely going on in your dog’s head.

Basically, you’ve got a dog that learns through association in a very EXTREME manner.  That is, he understands a behavior in one context (when the leash is on) but the minute you change one element, it throws the dog off.

Another way of saying this is that the dog is likely very high on the trainability scale, but low on the intelligence scale.

Or it could have something to do with the way the low-stimulation collar was introduced to the dog.  Proponents of this approach advocate that you must first go through an exercise called the Three-Action-Introduction.

But I digress…

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Once the dog has stopped (without the line on him) walk back to the dog, place your hand on his collar, give a slight tug with your hand and then repeat the command to heel.  As he starts to move forward-because you’re gently pulling him forward with your hand on the collar-release the stimulation.

As the dog then begins to walk in the heel position, reward with food and release immediately.  Then reward with more food.  (Remember… it’s okay to use food for competition training, which strives for different goals than street-smart training).

After a number of repetitions, you’ll likely see the dog start to move towards the heel position if you simply take a step backwards (shoulders still pointing forward) and re-issue the command.

It’s all about repetition at this point, before you see that proverbial light bulb go on above the dog’s head.  Then praise and reward.

Is Dog Training Causing Your Dog Stress?

Stress is the body’s response to any physical or mental demand. The response prepares the body to either fight or flee. It increases blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and metabolism, and there is a marked increase in the blood supply to the arms and legs. It is a physiological, genetically predetermined reaction over which the individual, whether a dog or a person, has no control.

When your dog is stressed, his body becomes chemically unbalanced. To deal with this imbalance, the body releases chemicals into the bloodstream in an attempt to rebalance itself. The reserve of these chemicals is limited. You can dip into it only so many times before it runs dry and the body loses its ability to rebalance. Prolonged periods of imbalance result in neurotic behavior and the inability to function.

Your dog experiences stress during training, whether you are teaching him a new exercise or practicing a familiar one. You should be able to recognize the signs of stress and what you can do to manage the stress your dog may experience. Only then can you prevent stress from adversely affecting your dog’s performance during training.

Stress is characterized as “positive” (manifesting itself in increased activity) and “negative” (manifesting itself in decreased activity). Picture yourself returning home after a hard day at work. You are welcomed by a mess on your new, white rug. What is your response? Do you explode, scream at your dog, your children and then storm through the house slamming doors? Or, do you look at the mess in horror, shake your head in resignation, feel drained of energy, ignore the dog and the children and then go to your room? In the first example, your body was energized by the chemicals released into the bloodstream. In the second example, your body was debilitated.

Dogs react in a similar manner, and stress triggers either the fight or flight response. Positive stress manifests itself in hyperactivity, such as running around, bouncing up and down or jumping on you, whining, barking, mouthing, getting in front of you or anticipating commands. You may think your dog is just being silly and tiresome, but for the dog, those are coping behaviors. Negative stress manifests itself by lethargy, such as freezing, slinking behind you, running away or responding slowly to a command. In new situations, he seems tired and wants to lie down, or sluggish and disinterested. These are not signs of relaxation, but are the coping behaviors for negative stress.

Signs of either form of stress in dogs are muscle tremors, excessive panting or drooling, sweaty feet that leave tracks on dry, hard surfaces, dilated pupils and, in extreme cases, urination or defecation, usually in the form of diarrhea and self-mutilation. Behaviors such as pushing into you or going in front of or behind you during distraction training are stress related.

Fast Dog Training Technique Transforms Her Dog

She couldn’t believe it. And to be honest, neither could I. “It’s like he’s a different dog,” she said. I mean… I’ve seen people get some fantastic results with my dog training techniques. But this was just ridiculous.

Normally, it takes about an hour for me to explain and demonstrate my techniques and get the dog owner comfortable working with their dog. But this dog and owner responded almost instantly. This was a big Germans Shepherd dog. And with a big, beautiful coat, he was a beaming, confident dog now listening to her every command. But not 20 minutes earlier. When she brought Hank out of the car, he was lunging and pulling on the leash… barking and acting otherwise obnoxious. She didn’t know how to control her own dog. Which is actually fairly common.

See, it’s not that her dog didn’t know how to behave. He did. It’s just that he chose not to. But Hank was a smart dog. And a good dog. He really wanted to please his owner, but his owner didn’t know how to communicate with Hank in a manner that Hank understood.

At times, dog training is almost like learning a foreign language. (But trust me… as a struggling Spanish conversationalist, I can tell you… learning a foreign language is a lot harder!)

The other thing that enabled my client to get incredibly fast results with her dog was by understanding the role that respect plays… in any relationship. But especially in her relationship with her dog.

** Shameless plug: I actually had a great advantage with this client, as she’d already read my book, “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!” (which you can read more about at: ) … but she was waiting to meet with me before trying any of my techniques. Understandable, I guess, when your dog weighs almost twice as much as you do! ** Maybe you’ve had a friend who constantly interrupted your conversation by answering their cell phone? Yet, do you think they would behave in such a rude manner if your name was Robert Deniro? Or famed British actress, Judi Dench? I doubt it. They’d turn their cell phone off and listen to what you were saying with respect and admiration. And that’s exactly what Hank needed to learn. He needed to learn respect and admiration for his owner.

Fortunately in this case, the owner was a quick study. Almost like a fish to water. (I’ll bet you already know it’s never the dogs that take long to train… it’s their owners!)

“It’s like he’s a different dog,” she said as she walked back towards me, with Hank– a full 160 lbs. of muscle and pride– prancing along at her side. “Look,” she said, “One finger… just like in your videos.” She was now walking Hank with just one finger through the loop at the end of the leash. “Okay… it’s probably a little premature to be showing off,” I responded. “I know, I know, ” she replied. “but it’s like he’s a different dog.” And that’s what we strive to do with – we teach dog owners how to get respect and admiration from their dogs. Because in most cases, that’s all our dogs really want from life, anyway. To respect and admire us.