1) When teaching loose leash walking with a puppy or dog, how do you differentiate the leash training from a fun walk?
- When you're teaching heel (loose leash walking) this is a commanded behavior—just like a sit or a down stay. If you want to give your dog more freedom on the walk, use your release word (mine is “break”) and let your dog have a little more freedom on the walk, such as having the freedom to use the bathroom. Another thing you can do is tell your dog to use the bathroom while on the walk. Stop where your dog normally goes and tell him to go potty (or whatever command you prefer).
You can even teach your dog a more casual walk command. For example: I tell my dogs "with me" when I want them to stay within 6 feet from me, but not having to stay directly in heel position.
Lastly, even when the dog is released from the heel position, don't let him pull on the leash. If the leash gets tight, pull him towards you just enough to make the leash loose again. This gives him the freedom to walk anywhere he likes as long as he is not pulling on the leash. I'll make a follow-up video to this command, to explain some of these common questions in more detail.
2) What do you use for training treats?
- My go-to for training treats is the freeze-dried dog food from Vital Essentials or I’ll just use normal kibble.
3) Where can I find your climb/bed platform you use in your videos?
- If you need a strong and reliable climb bed, I would recommend the Petcot company.
4) As the treats are filtered out, should the marker only be used when a treat will be given?
- Yes! If you use a marker sound, you must reward your dog. A marker is a lot like a paycheck, and you never want your paychecks to bounce or they will have no value. The same goes for the marker. If you want to give your dog feedback without a physical reward, then use verbal praise. That's like a boss saying “good job” to his/her employees. It doesn't predict a reward, but it still feels nice to know you're doing a good job.
5) How many training sessions should be done in a day?
- I usually will do 1 - 3 obedience sessions each day.
6) How long should my training sessions be?
- Each session is usually around 5 - 20 minutes, depending on what I'm working on and how new or advanced the dog is. Usually, I don't go over 15 minutes, and 20 minutes would be the max I would do with an advanced dog. I keep the sessions short for new dogs, so they don't lose interest in the training and it will end each session on a high note with your dog wanting more. This will make them enjoy the training more than if you stop when they start getting bored or tired.
6) Can I use the clicker instead of a marker word? I prefer it because the sound is always the same and there is no emotion in it.
- Yes, clickers are great for marker training.
7) My dog is not food driven, is there another way to train him/her?
- Yes, you can use the concept of leash pressure explained in this video.
8) How old should my dog be to start training?
- The earlier the better. However, you can start training a dog at any age. It’s never too late to start.
9) What is the training vest that you are wearing in your videos?
- You can find the training vest here.
10) If I use “Yes” as a terminal marker and “Good” as a continual marker will my puppy get confused when I say “good boy” and “yes” during play?
- Just make sure that it sounds different. When you use “yes” or “good” as markers it should sound very distinct. When you use it as verbal praise it should be done with a different rise and inflection in your voice. If it's done that way, then it shouldn't cause any confusion for your dog.
11) My dog is having trouble differentiating the continuation from the terminal marker, he doesn't stay in the sit/stay position when the continuation marker is given. Any advice on how to solidify the difference between the two for him, or is it just more repetition that is needed for now?
- When I'm first teaching the two markers, I don't worry about the dog staying in the position after I say the continuation marker, since the dog isn't in a stay. I just show the dog that I will be bringing the treat to the dog in place. I only make the dog stay in the position when I'm working on the stay command. You can see in my "Stay" video that the puppy breaks the stay after I say the “yes” marker. When that happens, the "no" overrides the "yes" and the puppy doesn't get the treat. Once they do it correctly, then I reward them. Rewatch the stay video and you'll see what I mean.