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UPDATE/BRAG POST 32- Question about Long-Line Training in Dogs

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  • UPDATE/BRAG POST 32- Question about Long-Line Training in Dogs

    Hello everyone!

    I've got a really great dog that just needs a few tune-ups in the training department (I've posted about her before regarding nice leash walking and potty training).

    I'm happy to say that she's been really great about no longer peeing in the house (besides one recent time when my mom ignored her "I want to go out" signal). The leash walking is also coming along nicely via clicker training, although she isn't 100% there yet.

    I'm starting to introduce some long-line training as well, using a lunge line, to help get a better recall when off-leash. Right now, I only let her completely off-leash when she's with a friend who has good recall or when she's in the dog park where she is contained.

    This morning, I took her to the park up the block from my house (semi-enclosed, but she knows the way out around the fence, haha), and after some off-leash time playing with her buddies, I decided to do some long line/recall work.

    The problem(?) was that once she realized that I had a clicker and treats, she would barely leave my side because there were no other dogs or distractions. I got her to run around a little bit, but for the most part she followed me everywhere, within about a 3ft radius. Even if I stood still, she'd pretty much hang out within 5ft of me. I know that this isn't a bad thing , but in order to get a better recall from far away, she needs to actually be far away once in a while.

    Sorry for the novel, but does anyone have any tips? Am I doing something wrong?
    Last edited by make x it x so; Apr. 5, 2013, 10:14 AM. Reason: update/brag

  • #2
    Do you have a release word at all? When I have my dogs off lead, they stick near me until I say "okay!" and then they're allowed to go running off.

    You could practice in the house with a toy or something else she likes (or even her food bowl.) Toss the toy but hold on to her and use "okay!" when you let her go to get her toy. Or make her sit for her food and use "okay!" to release when the bowl is on the ground.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Simkie-
      I do use "okay" as a release word (works extremely well with her feeding time, "leave-its," and "stays").

      It worked once or twice to get her away from me this morning, but once she realized the game was come back for a treat and click, she just didn't go anywhere upon release. I tried throwing a tennis ball but her interest in toys is minimal at best (much more interest in other dogs or FOOD).

      One thing I did do was throw a bunch of treats out into the field with a "find it" command (we've been working on that one), which was helpful but if I keep giving so many treats all of the time, she's going to get fat!

      Maybe I need to drag friends or parents along with me to station around the field (a revelation I came to as I typed this out).

      ETA: I'm still open to other suggestions, if anyone has any!
      Last edited by make x it x so; Mar. 13, 2013, 01:34 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        You could toss out a rawhide or something that she reads as FOOD but she cannot consume immediately?

        Your idea of taking others out is good, too. I'll often drag my husband out and we'll call the dogs back and forth between us. We do it to tire them out, but it would also be an excellent recall exercise.

        Another option would be targeting? Teach her to target something (I would thing something bright and visible would be useful here) and then take your target out into the field. Send her out to target and she comes back for her treat?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by make x it x so View Post

          Sorry for the novel, but does anyone have any tips? Am I doing something wrong?
          personally, I would not mess with this (her reluctance to leave you) but, since you asked, teach her a go out, where she sits at a target 2 feet away. You can put the distance longer as she becomes more adept. She should circle the target (I use a plastic cone), half way so she is facing you when she sits. Recall her from there. Or teach her "go to your mat" and recall her from the mat.

          Comment


          • #6
            when I took my little guy to clicker training, the instructor suggested we use some of their food as clicker rewards. then just feed a bit less.

            I am having the same type of problems with recall and my dog not leaving my side when I have goodies!

            Comment


            • #7
              One of the ways to work on getting a high-drive super fast recall is to get someone else to restrain the dog while YOU run away- as the dog is struggling to come after you, you call the dog, the dog is released, and the dog comes tearing after you.

              I wouldn't suggest working on trying to get the dog to leave your side on its own- that will come back and cause problems later. It's GOOD to have a dog who stays near you when off-leash.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by make x it x so View Post
                The problem(?) was that once she realized that I had a clicker and treats, she would barely leave my side because there were no other dogs or distractions. I got her to run around a little bit, but for the most part she followed me everywhere, within about a 3ft radius. Even if I stood still, she'd pretty much hang out within 5ft of me. I know that this isn't a bad thing , but in order to get a better recall from far away, she needs to actually be far away once in a while.

                Sorry for the novel, but does anyone have any tips? Am I doing something wrong?
                Sounds very normal, of course they want to stay by your side if you have the treats. I think how you proceed depends on what else you will want to do with your dog when they are off leash. A bird dog that won't leave your side will never find any birds and will lose in competition. So I definitely did NOT want to train my dog to stay by my side off leash.

                In our case, we would do a few recalls, then "go hunting" and play for a little while, and then I would slip in a recall every few times that my dog got further than 10-20 feet away from me. If you can work with another person that's great, because they can encourage the dog to move further away. If your dog likes to retrieve and/or you would like to encourage retrieving, you can play fetch and use both "get it" and "come" commands.

                I think it's important to make sure your recall command isn't only when the dog expects it, but also when there are other exciting distractions. So mixing up the training makes sure they aren't only coming back to you because they anticipate you asking for it.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
                  personally, I would not mess with this (her reluctance to leave you) but, since you asked, teach her a go out, where she sits at a target 2 feet away. You can put the distance longer as she becomes more adept. She should circle the target (I use a plastic cone), half way so she is facing you when she sits. Recall her from there. Or teach her "go to your mat" and recall her from the mat.
                  I guess I should be more clear- she's more than happy to stay by my side when there's nothing exciting going on, but if another dog or person enters the park, she will bolt (and once or twice when I initially got her I trusted her too much and she bolted with no apparent stimulus). I do want her to stay with me most of the time, but I also want to be able to get her back to me in the event that she does see something more interesting than me.

                  I like the idea of the target training- maybe one day I'll even be able to teach her to fetch (which would be extremely useful for tiring her out). I'll also keep encouraging her to stay by me with clicks and treats because that is obviously the ideal situation.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Patience is the key to dog training. Give her the release word, then Ignore her and go about your business. Don't click and treat. Be glad she's staying with you and let her learn she can move away from you. It may take several sessions.

                    Also, are you using a horse long line? If so, consider as your training progesses switching to something lighter and less obvious, like clothesline (if anybody still makes clotheslines) or any other light cord. There's lots of kinds to choose from. That makes the transition easier as you eventually start shortening your long line. You can make a loop or add a short heavier line at your end if that makes it easier for you, but a lot of dogs are very wise to a heavy line.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      she's more than happy to stay by my side when there's nothing exciting going on, but if another dog or person enters the park, she will bolt (and once or twice when I initially got her I trusted her too much and she bolted with no apparent stimulus).
                      ah, so you want to do "proofing" in the presence of another dog or person. Well, you're going to have to go somewhere where there are these distractions, or enlist the help of someone else to be the distraction. Proofing is easiest to do if you can control the distractions, so enlisting someone else with a dog to help might be your best bet- you can instruct the person to stay very far away at first.
                      Do you go to some kind of class? group obedience classes are a fabulous way to help teach your dog to ignore the presence of other dogs/people, and to work with you instead. Group obedience classes work best if your dog already knows all the basics, and just needs "proofing" in that kind of environment. Or you can go out looking for training opportunities- pet stores, crowded parks, etc.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thanks for the input everyone! Lots of great suggestions!

                        As far as the line goes- its a rather heavy lunge line that I'm using right now, but I also have a yellow cord that I bought at the pet store. The problem with the cord is that it is nylon and slippery, and when this dog bolts she really BOLTS (she's only 55lb but EXTREMELY fast and strong). Does anyone have a recommendation of a lighter weight cotton-web-type line? They didn't have much selection when I was in Petsmart, which is why I resorted to the lunge line from Smartpak.

                        I'll also look into group obedience classes for her. The dogs we currently play with are great, but not necessarily exemplary in their own manners around other dogs, and I think the more controlled environment of a class would be helpful.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          normally flexis are something to avoid like the plague, but for this particular situation one might work well- the line is very light, and you just have to hang onto the handle and slam down the brake if the dog "bolts" during a training session. I'd suggest attaching the line to a body harness rather than a collar- if the dog gets up a good head of steam and then you suddenly check hard with the line, if the line is attached to the collar the dog could be badly injured. Also the dog is less likely to realize it's still attached to you if you normally walk the dog on a collar, but put your training line onto the harness attachment.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by wendy View Post
                            normally flexis are something to avoid like the plague, but for this particular situation one might work well- the line is very light, and you just have to hang onto the handle and slam down the brake if the dog "bolts" during a training session. I'd suggest attaching the line to a body harness rather than a collar- if the dog gets up a good head of steam and then you suddenly check hard with the line, if the line is attached to the collar the dog could be badly injured. Also the dog is less likely to realize it's still attached to you if you normally walk the dog on a collar, but put your training line onto the harness attachment.
                            So if I use a flexi, would I let her drag the handle? I feel like she would notice it banging around behind her, defeating the purpose of the light line.

                            Our next off-leash training time will probably be tomorrow morning, and I'm going to try to get my dad to come along. Part of the difficulty with training Fergie is that I have trouble getting my parents involved in it, which would be fine (I don't mind doing it, and I like it), but it also means that they generally have more difficulty than I do with things like her dragging on the leash because they don't practice it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Amazon has good deals on cotton long leads

                              http://www.amazon.com/Guardian-Gear-...et+supply+city

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                And I wouldn't sweat the velcro dog stuff, as everyone else said. Be patient and you will get your opportunities. Take her to lots of different places and let the long lead drag. She will give you training opps

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I wouldn't let her drag the flexi-handle. You would have to hold it, or if you want to drop the lead, get a check cord.

                                  If you search Amazon for "check cord" you'll get more of a hunting dog type lead. Something like this:
                                  http://www.amazon.com/Coastal-Pet-R3...rds=check+cord

                                  is super light-weight nylon, but not as easy to hang onto because it's slippery.

                                  Or something like this would be good:
                                  http://www.amazon.com/SportDOG-Orang...rds=check+cord

                                  These are designed to be held by the handler or dragged by the dog but still gives you the option to pick it up if you feel like your recall isn't that good. They come up to 50' which is nice when you really want to let them feel "free" but still have some control over the recalls.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by make x it x so View Post
                                    Thanks for the input everyone! Lots of great suggestions!

                                    As far as the line goes- its a rather heavy lunge line that I'm using right now, but I also have a yellow cord that I bought at the pet store. The problem with the cord is that it is nylon and slippery, and when this dog bolts she really BOLTS (she's only 55lb but EXTREMELY fast and strong). Does anyone have a recommendation of a lighter weight cotton-web-type line? They didn't have much selection when I was in Petsmart, which is why I resorted to the lunge line from Smartpak.

                                    I'll also look into group obedience classes for her. The dogs we currently play with are great, but not necessarily exemplary in their own manners around other dogs, and I think the more controlled environment of a class would be helpful.
                                    Wear gloves for awhile.
                                    Hold the loop end of the cord in your dominant hand and grip about 2-3 ft further down with your other hand. Don't let the cord slide through your hand.

                                    The remainder of the cord is on the ground (don't get tangled) between you and the dog.


                                    To get a good recall, you also need to develop a high-value reward for this dog on coming back to you: Something other than/in addition to food; like a play session, fetch session, extra good scritches, etc.
                                    Fun and exciting for now and tone it down as the dog responds better over time

                                    Otherwise your dog will come back with slow, sad recall of the kid called out of the ball game when he is about to be up to bat.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      No to the flexi. You need your hands free.

                                      Clothesline works great, but camping places have cord, too. You can have a 50-foot line or 2 shorter ones and when the dog is released, tie one to the other so you then have a 50-60 foot drag line, or make it even longer for your extremely fast BOLTER. Make it as long as you need. With a light cord it won't drag her down and cue her she's tethered. Don't try to pick up the line - step on it first to stop the bolt and then pick it up. Or as I said before, tie a big easy-grab loop on the end or else get a leather leash or what-have-you and attach that to the end you pick up if that's easier for you.

                                      At the risk of assassination , I'll post Bill Koehler's long line training ideas later, as he explains it very well.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I know there are a number of qualified dog trainers that post here regularly, and while I am not one of them, this is what we were told to do when we took our dogs to obedience class. I'm sure that all trainers teach this a bit differently.

                                        Working on a regular (6 ft.) leash, first teach the 'sit' and 'stay' and 'down' commands (we used a food-based reward system). Once they have the idea,
                                        give a sit/down and stay command, then slowly move away from the dog and introduce the 'recall' command, rewarding the dog when they come towards you. Once they are reliable on the short leash, move to a 30ft. lead and repeat. Once this is reliable, with the help of another person, take the dog off-leash and repeat at longer distances. Helper stays with dog to keep them in place, then you give your recall command. All three of ours got very solid at recall within a month of initially starting to train the command. DH and I would also practice at the dog park, where there were plenty of distractions, but the dogs could not get too far away if they decided to go off exploring instead.
                                        ~*Friend of bar.ka*~

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