Leash training: how I stopped the lagging Corgi syndrome

My dog, like many on this list, was not a leash-puller from in front but from behind.  I was very inspired by this video:

dog leash video  

My puppy had become extremely leash resistant, it was a struggle getting him to the corner.   Putting treats down as the woman in the video does helped a lot to break that dynamic.  I also took a hint from a training book and combined it with the video: I MADE HIM WORK FOR DINNER.  I put him on the leash and hid food around the house.  Then we would go out and discover the food.  The first time I let him eat the food as we found it.

The next time I started working on more discipline: in particular I would keep him on a tight leash and WALK PAST one pile that he clearly saw to get to another.  Then we would just walk around the house in zig zag patterns, often going by two or three food spots to get to another.  These exercises transformed his leash attitude immensely.  In fact he became a leash puller in about 60 seconds the first time.  (I worked on stopping that too, but the video is focused on that)  Later I moved the technique outside...

Outside, I kept giving him treats as we walked.  I found the bending over that the woman does in the video difficult and tiring (I would have to do it every few steps at first).  ==>Eventually I just took the food bowl outside with food in it at dinner time and we would start the walk.  Every now and then I would put the bowl down. HE COULDN'T EAT DINNER WITHOUT GOING ON A WALK.<==  

Every time I rewarded with food I double clicked with my tongue and gave lots of pets and praise so that food/praise/clicks all became positive associations.  

Now when I mostly click and praise.  We have a command STOP which I use to make him stop and also is time for hugs and pets.  The command to get moving is LETS GO.  Most of the time he will start moving and then I reward with a click.

I sometimes have to give a "NO" correction (tug on leash) when he starts to get too far back but I am also learning that he gets tired and that is *part* of the reason he lags, but this mysteriously vanishes when we get close to home.    

For leash control you need "fine control" (in small areas) as well as overall control (walking down a street) so these past few days we have been practicing walking in circles around trees, stop signs, etc., sometimes counter clockwise, sometimes clockwise.  With the dog on the outside of the circle it is most difficult because he has to trot a bit faster to keep up.  

Anyhow I can't say for sure that I have the leash problem licked but it is 85 to 90% licked and I notice that he behaves better on a leash than most of the dogs I meet while walking in the neighborhood.  There is a heavily trafficked high speed four lane highway with concrete sidewalks not far from me and I am now including that in a portion of our walks, so that he isn't freaked out by the loud noises and so that he learns that *his place is with me no matter where I am*.

In particular, one area that is hard is I cant tell when he is slowing down for a potty stop--for which he gets lavish praise--and when he is being ornery.  This might come with time.  

I'm planning on walking him at a popular strip mall where there are lots of pedestrians so he can get used to the lots-of-people scene.


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