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Old 12-05-2012, 01:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Am I too lenient?/Advice for Running

I want to start off by stating that I do not run with my dog right now. I am well aware that I have to wait another year at least. I also want to add that we have been very strict about the 5 minutes for every month rule. Right now our walks are around 25 to 35 minutes, twice a day.

That being said, I have a question.
First, background information.
I live in a house in the new residential development of a city. I can even see a field from where I'm sitting. Around said development is a walking/running path. Murphy and I often go for walks here and because very few people walk on it I allow him to run around and smell how he pleases while on leash (one of those retractable ones, so he can be up to ten feet away). He doesn't really pull at all, he generally remains in this ten foot circle around me and all the stopping and sniffing and running forward really tires him out. As soon as we get back into town I shorten the leash to about 5 or 6 feet distance so he's always close.

A little more information, I'm a jogger. In fact I purchased an active dog specifically to have a jogging buddy and have patiently been waiting for the time when we can go out together.

Okay, so back to my questions. My first question is, is there any training I should do over the next year so that when he's allowed to jog with me he won't be all over the map?

My second question is, he gets easily distracted as well as very excited while on walks. Is my allowing him to be on a long leash and explore the cause of this? Is it just being a puppy? Will he grow out of it or is there something I can do? Gah, so many questions.

Sorry, I don't have any recent pictures for this question.
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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He is a puppy, and he will grow out of the distraction/excitation somewhat as he ages, BUT what I would do right away (and am doing with my own pup, as we plan to eventually bike, jog, hike & horseback ride with him) is to have 2 phases to every walk (or do separate walks, depending on time/weather).

Phase 1: regular leash- brisk walking pace where pup is to stay "right here" which is a relaxed heel position, or "heel". Some sniffing/distraction is allowed with "right here", but NOT with heel, but he must stay right with me on both and is not allowed to dart off, lag behind or the like. He is praised for keeping the leash loose, and ack acked (verbal correction) for pulling and darting.

Phase 2: off leash or long line/retractable- he is told to "go ahead". This walk is all about what HE wants- sniff, romp, run, roll, whatever he chooses. The only requirement is that if he is off leash he MUST stay within eyeshot at all times, and must recall instantly when asked.

Most walks at home are a mix of the 2- phase 1 if we are outside of the fenced farm area (our road in front of the house for example) and phase 2 in the fenced yard or in the fields where I am able to closely monitor. Most walks at work are phase 1 to and from the park, and phase 2 while at the park for a majority of the walk.

As he gets older (he is not even 5 months yet), I will expand on the phase 1 training to include off leash compliance and start incorporating walking next to the bikes, horses, etc... Eventually, as he is old enough to join us on our real activities any that are on the farm will be leash free with "right here" to maintain close contact/recall- and leashed phase 1 style when in public (on the rail trails or state parks).

My prior dogs were leash free 98% of the time and would maintain perfect heel or "right here" with no issues. They knew that at least part of every walk allowed some "go ahead" time- and they were willing to wait for it

Hope this helps..
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think I would start working on sometimes walking with him in position next to you. Jogging is hard with a dog who is wandering. Shanoa has a command ("walk") which means stay generally next to me (not a formal heel, but no wandering). She also understands that "take a break" means she is now free to roam and sniff. I'm clear with her on when I expect her to be next to me, and jogging together would definitely qualify. She also gets walks on a long line where I don't care where she is as long as she doesn't pull.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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So I took in the advice and chewed on it for a bit. I'm thinking it may be good if since we only walk the path once a day I use the retractable lead during this time. Otherwise I will always use our short leash.

Do you think he'll be able to associate nice walks with the short purple leash and exploring walks with the red retractable one?

I also like the idea of teaching him to "walk" nicely. Did you have to do any luring/moulding to get that to work or how did Shanoa catch on?
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlyssaN View Post
So I took in the advice and chewed on it for a bit. I'm thinking it may be good if since we only walk the path once a day I use the retractable lead during this time. Otherwise I will always use our short leash.

Do you think he'll be able to associate nice walks with the short purple leash and exploring walks with the red retractable one?

I also like the idea of teaching him to "walk" nicely. Did you have to do any luring/moulding to get that to work or how did Shanoa catch on?
I don't know if he'll make the association just based on the leash - I'd use a cue word for when you want him to walk next to you.

The way I'm working with Richter now (though it's on hold because of the broken toe!) is using clicker training. We do very short sessions where I click and treat for him being next to me in the right position. Since he's still sort of small I use a wooden spoon that I've dipped in peanut butter and frozen for reward delivery so I don't have to bend down. I think Kikopup has some good videos on her Youtube channel about training loose leash walking in position, too.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I can't speak for your pup but my five month old certainly can tell the difference between the long lead used for doing his business in the back yard and his six foot leather leash used for going walking. He loves his walks.........
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