Loose Leash Walking, LLW, is one of the key skills to learn from your Basic Dog Obedience Class. If you have enrolled to an Obedience Class and there’s no attention given to Loose Leash Walking, the Course you’ve taken it’s incomplete.
There’s no better time to take stock on what we have done and whether does it affect your training routine, your reinforcement history and in LLW.
Question 1 – Do you have a Dog Training System?
Without a Training System, your training partner Max will be in great difficulty to understand when you are Mr Smith or Mrs Devil?
Question 2 – Have you took-off your leash too soon on Max?
If you have encouraged Max to free-run at a young age, free-run becomes so fun that it might become pit-fall rather then reinforcement you can use during training.
Dog Training is all about options. If you train your dog to choose wisely, your puppy will grow up choosing all the ‘right’ behaviours you’ve trained. Without a proper dog training system, Max will always think; “Will my owner be more fun than my neighbour’s cat, Jessie? Or “Will the treats taste better than the smell of Jason’s dog, Mika?
Not including distraction training in your dog training program is a training flaw. In any training systems, proofing is a key phase of a successful training. Regardless of the School of Thoughts, dog training without distractions or proofing will affect your dog overall performance when he’s been put to the test.
In my dog training program, I use two methods, namely the “Traffic Lights” Training Method and the ‘300 Pecks” Training Method. No matter what methods you choose, it should be based on Reward Base Training System. In my article, C/T – Click/Treat and M/T – Mark/Treat is used interchangeably as we often use Verbal Markers to replace the Clicker.
Traffic Lights System –
RED LIGHT = STOP = TIGHT LEASH
GREEN LIGHT = GO = LOOSE LEASH
CONSTANT – The length of the leash must be held constant for this method to be effective.
During your walk, start your puppy always on your left. However it can also be done on your right side. Give a command or cue such as ‘Walk’, C/T, click and reward when your puppy walk beside you on loose leash. GREEN Light denotes
GO and LOOSE Leash. And should the walk continue the loose leash, you should continue to click-and-reward your puppy, until Max is able walk reliably on loose leash.
And at anytime when the lease is tight, it’s RED Light and you should STOPPED, re-engage your puppy and when he returns to your sides on loose leash, he should hear M/T and once again you are building success when your puppy walk close to you and with loose leash.
This Training System works well with Premack Principal. And walking quickly becomes LIFE REWARDING. And soon the Training System will be in Self-Reinforcing Activity.
If you want to see a short video showing how to do LLW, you can refer to PUPS Training Studio for our PUPS BITS Series - Loose Leash Walking (LLW) for more visual and pictorial support.
We will continue in our next installment of LLW via the amazing 300 Pecks Theory.