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Old 12-02-2012, 06:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Training to walk on slack leash

I'm not sure why this isn't a thread of its own. I started late in teaching my boxer to walk on a slack leash. The reason for this is when I first got her as an 8 week old puppy I took her with me to the oil fields I worked in. She stayed by me. As she grew older I let her wonder off and chase whatever scent she was after but when I said it was time to go she learned to jump in my truck and we left. So she wasn't used to walking on a leash. She was used to the freedom of being off leash.

But the days of me being in the woods around nothing and letting her roam are over. We now live in the city and I had to teach her how to walk on a leash.

Imagine my surprise when I learned she didn't like it. She was used to freedom. So I had to figure out how to make her walk on leash without pulling. That was the first thing. When on leash she would put her nose to ground and off we go.

Now, I don't know if this has been covered (probably so) and I didn't do any research on the subject. I just figured I knew my dog. She obeys.

So off I go.

After some trial and much error here's what I learned.

Think of your boxer as an ADHD kid. They can walk by you but then a butterfly and off they go. Walk by you and a leave blows by and off they go. Walk by you then they smell something that interest them then off they go.

Gaining this knowledge here's what I did to slack leash train my boxer in 3 days.

We started off and she started pulling. I stopped. Told her to sit. She did but then a leave flew by and she was curious all about how that leave was moving. I didn't move. Told her again to sit. I waited until her leash was slack then started moving.

This worked for about two steps then she smelled something she was REALLY interested in and started pulling to the left (I walk her on my left side).

I stopped. I don't like choke collars because that's just mean. But I did yank on the collar and tell her to stop pulling. If you own a boxer you know how they are. She was the teenager I expected and ignored me. So I grabbed her head and made her look me in the eye until the passing leave had passed her mind and again told her to stop pulling. Obviously she had no idea what I was talking about.

I told her to sit. She did but was still looking around for things to chase. I waited her out until she got bored with our current position and looked up at me. So I started walking.

Again. Two steps and she was ready to chase whatever she just smelled.

So I decided to throw her off. I figured she was pulling because she was used to chasing whatever scent she wanted but needed to learn I was the one in control and was leading this walk.

So, since she was on my left I immediately spun to my right half pulling a dog behind me since she was still curious of the previous scent. Trust me. Takes half a second and she had forgotten what she was sniffing and started following me.

Short lived victory. It didn't take long and she was off wanting to chase something else. Or lead the way.

After many of these walks (3 a day) here's what I learned.

You can tell when they find something interesting and want to pursue. As SOON as you sense this and they put nose to ground, change directions.

Turning left into them is WAY more effective than right. This happened on our first leash walk. I noticed when I turned INTO her (left) she was worried about getting stepped on and would stop sniffing and watch me wondering what the heck I was doing. This was my goal. I wanted her paying attention to what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. So that first day (and the two days next) whenever I saw her wanting to chase whatever I would immediately step to my left into her and make a 360. Trust me. They will look up like, "What the heck?"

I know this isn't easy. Trust me. Had a neighbor been watching I'm sure the cops would have been called because me and Roxie were doing circles since every time she wanted to pursue her interest I broke it off and turned. Don't think we made it more than 100' that first day. Just a bunch of circles.

But after that first day I noticed when I put her leash on and opened the door she didn't run out. She stayed in her seated position and waited for me. I took this as a good sign. So I did nothing. We stood there and looked outside. Her seated wanting to go. Me standing there holding the leash. Figured it was good for her to WANT to chase and whatever but was still willing to just sit and look until I was ready to go.

After a few minutes. I said, "Let's go walk" and started moving.

This time I had another agenda. I wanted to walk down the alley where all the dogs bark and try everything to get her distracted.


She was totally distracted. So I spend a great deal of time just standing there and letting her know we were not going to move until I led the way. It's so cute how the hair on their back stands up and they bark at other dogs but I wouldn't let her do it. Yeah...She whimpered and cried wanting to go eat the little poodle or whatever but once she hit a scent or sound she wanted to pursue I would either stop or turn. Tried to keep her off guard as to what I was doing.

So in three days I taught my boxer to walk on a slack leash. This was a few years back now. In the beginning (she was 10 months old) our walks were dreaded. Now, we both enjoy them because she knows what's expected and walks with me. I know what she wants and give her a bit of liberty.

Yeah, I could still take that leash off and she would stay right by me like she used to as a puppy. But some people see a boxer and still see pit bull so I leave the leash on (that and the local law says I have to) and me and Roxie enjoy or walks.

I would recommend starting earlier than I did. But when you do start remember, boxers have ADD. They will forget what they are supposed to be doing and chase whatever comes in their vision or scent. Your job is to change directions as soon as you notice they are no longer paying attention to you.

If you can't get their attention, turn into them. Making a 360. They will look at you and wonder what you are doing but looking at you means they are paying attention to what you are doing and that's your goal.

Don't wait until they start pulling. You can tell when they are about to start. Stop. Stand till. Don't give them slack in the leash. Tell them to sit. Odds are they are so focused on what they are wanting to chase they will ignore you. So tap them on the head, pull their face up, whatever and again tell them to sit. Don't be afraid to let them sit there until they get bored with sitting and look at you. Looking at you says I'm following you now. Let's go. So as soon as they do that move.

Then repeat. :-) Took me 3 days. You just have to think like an adhd kid since that's basically what you're dealing with.
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