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hi! I have had a springer spaniel, and then a chihuahua mix as pets before. When we got the springer she was ready crate and house trained so we just worked on leash walking and used an easy lead front clip harness (she was 3yrs). When we brought the chi home (8 weeks) we kept her in a harness and tethered so house training would be easier. However I never got her walking well (loose leashed) the way I would have liked. She wasn't distracted when walking but wld keep the leash tight. It didn't matter if I had the leash fully extended or right at my side. I would appreciate tips/suggest for spoos. Is keeping them tethered as a puppy a bad idea? I feel it really helped with our house manners. But now wondering if it caused confusion for our walks..
 

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I love tethering! I think it creates an excellent "pay attention to me" foundation.

Leash skills are tricky. Our basic approach (with the help of a trainer) is to avoid tension as much as possible. So if puppy pulls, you stop. Once the leash is slack again, you go. And every time puppy looks at you, you treat.

As you can imagine, this requires a lot of concentration and coordination, so short training sessions are best at first. Mix them up with long-leash walks in natural spaces, where you can relax a bit and puppy can really explore. And always, always reward for focus.

We go through MASSIVE amounts of treats, so keep them small (about the size of a kernel of corn) and soft. String cheese is great. Cut up turkey dog or chicken. Fill a treat pouch with a variety and be sure to wash it thoroughly between each use. Never go for a walk without something tasty on you. This is how you "control" your dog. Never with a tight leash! The leash is just there for safety. It's all about the treats.

As for the leash itself, for sidewalk-walking you want one that's maximum 6 feet and appropriate for your dog's size. Peggy's also a spoo, so she can handle the weight of a climbing rope. This is my preferred style of leash as it has very slight give to it and slides nicely through hands while still providing excellent grip. For nature walks, I like 15 feet.

I know it's not possible right now, but you might consider working with a trainer for at least a few sessions when you can. He or she will be able to correct any bad habits you've developed, which might be working against your progress.

But for now just remember: No tension! If you pull, they'll pull. It's as simple as that, albeit not necessarily easy. :)
 

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See these threads that are stickies. There is lots of good stuff in both of them.


 
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I put a long leash on (10 feet for in town, 20 feet in a field) and head out. When the dog hits the end of the leash I stop and change directions. Dog must follow because he is being pulled. Don't drag the dog, just get him moving after you. Change directions overtime you feel pressure on the leash. At some point you will find that the dog is never pulling on the lead because he is paying attention to you. It should take 20 to 30 minutes. I have had dogs take longer, but I would expect a poodle to be a fast learner.

I do not reward in any way when the dog changes direction to follow me. I do not reward when he stops pulling. We just continue on our walk, which is a reward in itself.

Okay, so a 20 or 30 minute walk should be enough for a dog to stretch his legs and get exercised, if he has enough freedom to romp about. Then you get in the car and go home. If you are walking home on the street, use a shorter leash and change directions again so that he does not get more than six feet from you. When he has to be close to you, like if there is a pedestrian coming your way, you pat your leg to get him to come to the heel and give him a treat and praise.

When he is trained to stay within the 20 feet of you and not pulling, I move to getting him to walk beside me in the heel position using a leg pat and "heel", giving him a neck rub when he is right where I want him, then use a release word to let him go back to sniffing stuff. As the days go by, he spends more and more time at the heel.
 
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