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Old 12-05-2012, 10:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Loose leash and the CGC

Einstein is now 9 months old. He has completed young pup obedience and advanced obedience at our local ARL. While in class, with treats he walks on his leash focused on me. While in the house, no treats again very focused. Outside with treats...he is about 50% focused on me. Outside without treats there is no focus on me. When referring to outside I mean on a regular walk, not out in the backyard.

After the second class when he was 7 months we had a chance to take the CGC. I feel he would have passed everything but loose leash walking and walking by other dogs, but since he would have failed those we didn't try.

I've been working on him every day to perfect the leash walk but it seems all for naught. When on a walk he walks just fast enough to be toward the end of his slack, no matter where the slack is (short leash, longer leash) but doesnt really pull. If I stop, once he feels the tension he stops. When I turn directions, once he feels tension he turns directions. If I give a quick tug to let him know hes getting too far...he slows down just long enough to get some slack back.

Its not a case of him pulling me around as it is him just wanting to be out front doing what he wants to do. We are not planning on going full out obedience with him but it would seem that after most of his life he would know how to walk at my side. I've thought about getting a prong collar, but my wife is against it. We have not tried any type of harness because I believe it is more of a training issue. Am I putting too much thought into it? What should I do to get him to walk with focus on me, other than feed him hotdogs and chicken every day?

Edit* I forgot about how this applies to the CGC...my trainer said that it depends on the judge but most judges want to see a jshape in the leash during the test. It is very hard to accomplish that when we're on a walk. LIke I said earlier he lets there be just enough slack to not have tension on his neck.

On a side note...he is getting ok with the dogs in the neighbor hood but the thinks its GO TIME (play)
with any other dog he sees. I think taking him to the dog park only reinforced this behavior because anytime he sees other dogs he gets to play. Any tips on how to break this? We live in the midwest and its getting cold so sitting out on a park bench is getting out of season.

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Old 12-06-2012, 01:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Remember your dog is still a puppy at 9 months everything will be exciting for him until he starts to mature. Keep training and you will get there, you are on the right track.

Our boy acted the same way at 8 months, although he was able to get his CGC at that age, he could still be terrible at times on leash. We have kept him in classes and now at 16 months everything is starting to click with him.

We started with the watch command with both our dogs to get their attention using treats until they were solid, then when we would heal and the dog looked up at us without us giving a command we would treat and continue to walk. Now our dogs heal very well when given the heal command, on normal walks we only do a short amount of formal healing but expect our dogs to stay relatively close without pulling.

As far as the CGC goes I've never seen anyone fail because the leash got tight a couple times, what will fail the dog is if he lunges or jumps at dogs or people and seems out of control. Most the CGHC classes I've seen are pretty informal.

Good luck and keep training, you will get there.
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I use a prong collar and Lexi does the same thing as you described. Always wants to be near or at the end of the leash. Those collars are better for dogs that really like to pull a lot or if you need a quick correction.
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Both my girls have passed the CGC but neither passed until they were adults (in Tali's defense, I didn't get her until she was an adult and in Fiona's defense, she was NUTS as a pup and young dog...not much of a defense but it's all she's got). A lot of dogs breeze through it at a young age but plenty of others fail and have to re-try (we did that) and plenty don't pass until they've matured and calmed down.

I observe and assist a LOT of CGC evaluations and I can tell you 95% of the time that a dog fails the loose-leash walking exercise is because the handler is uptight and dead silent. Maybe they get nervous and their brain shuts down, I don't know, but they will expect their dog to magically loose-leash walk through no effort on their part as though it's a UD ring and their dogs are old pro's. People take it sooooo seriously. It's really not a big deal.

Talk to your dog. Keep their attention on you. Talk in a happy, light-hearted voice - drop any frustration and attitude you may feel creeping up because that will put unnecessary pressure on your dog and they'll likely act out to relieve their own stress. And when you work on it, keep the sessions short. ALWAYS end on a good note. If the dog loose leash walks for 10' - throw him a party! Treats galore! (Or start smaller - 5' of loose leash walking and reward. Build up the distance so he's always successful rather than expecting too much too soon.)

People also tend to walk a little too slowly for their dog resulting in their dog trotting to the end of the leash which most evaluators will see as pulling - but it's handler error. Keep up a good, fun pace for your dog so they don't get too far out ahead of you and they don't get bored with you because you're moving like a snail. So be happy, talk to your dog, and walk a good pace. Tali was in rare form that evening and I made noises at her to keep her attention on me. Quacks, oinks, any kind of random sound effect I could think of - I did it the second it looked like I might lose her focus. LOL

And don't mistake loose leash walking with heeling. The CGC does not require the dogs to heel.

I'd recommend you take it a time or two even if you think you will fail, just so you become familiar with the process and really see what you need to focus on. Your dog may surprise you and be a little rockstar on loose leash walking but try to climb the evaluator in the sit-for-exam. It happens.

When you get in that situation you may be a little nervous or confused about what to do, your dog picks up on that and it affects them. I always encourage people to take it just for the experience (and many people are pleasantly surprised when they take it for experience and then they pass). No one is expecting a formal obedience routine. The evaluator doesn't expect you to blow their mind. They're looking for the basics and they expect some teams to need a little work. It's just for fun.
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Last edited by brw1982; 12-06-2012 at 02:29 PM..
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey, it took Ilka three tries to pass it. I'm thinking about doing it again in January, and getting it added as a title.
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Dave_L is correct that a prong won't solve your problem.

I've seen both relaxed and strict judging for CGC.

brw1982 is also correct about moving like a snail. I've heard it from multiple trainers.
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hey, it took Ilka three tries to pass it. I'm thinking about doing it again in January, and getting it added as a title.

From the AKC.

There will be a grandfathering procedure for the new title. Owners of dogs who are on record as having already earned the CGC (i.e., you got a CGC certificate) after January 1, 2001 will be able to apply to have the CGC listed on the dog’s title record.

Simply download and complete the "Add Canine Good Citizen to your Dog’s Title Record (The Grandfathering Form)" form and submit the form with the $20 processing fee. Regardless of when the form is received by the AKC, The Grandfathering Application will not be processed until on or after Tuesday, January 1, 2013.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Oh, I know I can have her grandfathered in, but the club hosting the obedience trial we are going to in January is holding a test, and I want to see if she can pass it in a more "stressful" environment (we've trialed there before, but don't train there). Hey, it'll be her retirement party, so we might as well go for another CGC pass as well as her last CD leg.

I'll grandfather in my Rattie, though, and my GSD puppy is nowhere near ready to try it.

I posted this earlier, but it seems my computer ate it. That, or my son closed out DT before I hit "post reply".
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks to everyone that posted.

I've never been to the test, but from what I've seen on youtube...those dogs are rockstars.

I've thought about if I am walking too slow...but no matter what pace I am at he is just ahead of me. He changes pace with me pretty well...but is always right at the end of the leash.

My real issue is probably that I expect him to do what he knows is right almost 100% of the time by now. I could handle it when he was younger because I could tell he didnt know what he was doing. Now...he definitely knows what he should be doing and is just choosing not to do it.
I will go back to clicker training for a while and give him some time to "grow" into himself.

Thanks again.
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Old 12-16-2012, 02:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conspiracy* View Post
Thanks to everyone that posted.

I've never been to the test, but from what I've seen on youtube...those dogs are rockstars.

I've thought about if I am walking too slow...but no matter what pace I am at he is just ahead of me. He changes pace with me pretty well...but is always right at the end of the leash.

My real issue is probably that I expect him to do what he knows is right almost 100% of the time by now. I could handle it when he was younger because I could tell he didnt know what he was doing. Now...he definitely knows what he should be doing and is just choosing not to do it.
I will go back to clicker training for a while and give him some time to "grow" into himself.

Thanks again.
Um, you know, along with what brw1982 said (and it was excellent advice) you might try some retraining in the form of different commands depending on what you expect from your dog. I use "Heel" only for a formal perfect Obedience position--his shoulder at my left leg and maintaining my pace whether it's snail slow or a fast trot or anything in between.

I use "Walk" for less formal stuff--the dog can roam a little, but he has to be on my left and he should not be more than a couple of feet away and should not be out in front of me--when "walking" he is allowed to sniff, pause briefly to look at things but basically needs to maintain a loose leash and be paying attention to where I am and what we are doing.

The other command I use is "With me"--as long is the dog is not directly in front of me he can be anywhere the 6 foot leash allows him go--but he is not allowed to pull--if there is tension on the leash I will correct him.

For CGC's I use "walk" and I walk pretty quickly and I do talk to my dog so that he doesn't full on forget what we are doing.

From your description it sounds like you taught your dog that what he is doing is what you expect him to do. You are allowed to change your expectations but he is allowed time to be retrained on the new expectations.
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