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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-08-2020, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Stop Command

Henri is 22 weeks and is awesome. Any suggestions on how to train him to stop on command? Example, he escaped under a fence and ran for two blocks before I could grab his collar. Thanks.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-08-2020, 06:49 PM
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Henri is 22 weeks and is awesome. Any suggestions on how to train him to stop on command? Example, he escaped under a fence and ran for two blocks before I could grab his collar. Thanks.
That is a very, VERY advanced concept. One that is tested only at the VERY highest level of competition obedience training. It would be MUCH easier (not EASY, but EASIER!) and more age-appropriate to teach him a very reliable recall. This takes time and LOTS and LOTS of repetition but is within the grasp of a young dog. (and would be just ONE of the steps in teaching that "stop" command too!

Only one of mine, the 11-year-old, has a reliable "stop" when off-leash in the woods. And even with him, unless I follow it up with another command, it is more a "wait" than a full stop. When he gets too far ahead, I will call, "Far enough!". He will stop and wait for me to close the gap. At that point I'll tell him "Go", and he's off again! But honestly, that is something that developed through our close work and understanding on off-leash hikes, over a period of years. And I couldn't have DONE those off-leash hikes if he didn't have an absolutely reliable recall, so he would come all the way back to me any time he is asked. THAT took, over and over, calling him in, giving him treats and pats, then releasing him to run again. Over and over and over, on every single walk. Starting on a long line, then working up to off-leash in enclosed areas, then finally off-leash in the open. BUT... This is AT LEAST a year or more of consistent, almost daily, work.

For now, at 22 weeks, your best bet is to confine and supervise in a way that keeps him getting away from you! Even if that means he has to drag a long line at all times when he's outdoors.


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-09-2020, 07:27 PM
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We are working on “stay with me”, “far enough” and “check it out” with Oliver ON LEASH. It’s not because he’s not a good loose leash walker, but because he freaks out and barks at certain things that scare him, like men in hats or rolling objects like bikes and scooters sometimes. You could work with these commands on leash while knowing your dog is not in danger but you’re still teaching them to stay with you and developing that bond.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-10-2020, 12:09 AM
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That must of been an extremely frightening experience for both you and Henri. Annie and I belonged to the Keystone Canine Club while living in PA. One of the exercises that we worked on in obedience class was the In Motion Down Command. We would run with our dogs at a fairly good pace and have them down while moving. This was an important skill for the dogs to learn as it could stop them on a dime and potentially remove them from dangerous situations. You can find several video tutorials demonstrating this skill on YouTube. Hope this is helpful!
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-10-2020, 03:41 PM
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We are working on “stay with me”, “far enough” and “check it out” with Oliver ON LEASH. It’s not because he’s not a good loose leash walker, but because he freaks out and barks at certain things that scare him, like men in hats or rolling objects like bikes and scooters sometimes. You could work with these commands on leash while knowing your dog is not in danger but you’re still teaching them to stay with you and developing that bond.
However, it's unlikely that a 5 month old puppy has established good loose leash walking skills yet...
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-10-2020, 03:46 PM
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That must of been an extremely frightening experience for both you and Henri. Annie and I belonged to the Keystone Canine Club while living in PA. One of the exercises that we worked on in obedience class was the In Motion Down Command. We would run with our dogs at a fairly good pace and have them down while moving. This was an important skill for the dogs to learn as it could stop them on a dime and potentially remove them from dangerous situations. You can find several video tutorials demonstrating this skill on YouTube. Hope this is helpful!
This is a great exercise, but it's not something that a 5-month-old puppy is ready for. Even if the puppy is pretty good at loose leash walking, (unlikely) it is REALLY unlikely that he has learned pace changes like fast and slow. So the puppy is unlikely to have ANY idea what to do with his handler running beside him. He'll have way too much to think about to learn a drop in motion command. (a lot of people have not taught a down from a stand, let alone in motion, at this age...) Great skills to work on, but unlikely to help in the current situation!


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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-10-2020, 05:11 PM
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We are working on “stay with me”, “far enough” and “check it out” with Oliver ON LEASH. It’s not because he’s not a good loose leash walker, but because he freaks out and barks at certain things that scare him, like men in hats or rolling objects like bikes and scooters sometimes. You could work with these commands on leash while knowing your dog is not in danger but you’re still teaching them to stay with you and developing that bond.
Definitely true. I'm working on 'look at me' and drop it and recall, for the most part with Roxie. That said, I think at 5 months I had Oliver doing RELATIVELY well on the leash. I know he didn't have loose leash down but I just meant it might be something to start before the stop command off leash. Maybe beginning that on a leash would be safer. I know it's best not to do real 'walks' with puppies but I do like to do 5-10 minute ones around my cup-de-sac etc because they just learn easier as puppies. Granted, Roxie LOVES to run in circles around me on the leash and I let her. It's fun. I was SHOCKED to see that a trainer in a Havanese group on FB recommended a CHOKE COLLAR for a four month old puppy who was 'pulling' on a leash. Seriously? My dog is 3.5 months and 5 lbs. I cannot IMAGINE doing such a thing at any age, but as a puppy that will definitely create a negative association and cause lifetime damage.

It would have terrified me, too. And it's basically a crap shoot at that age as to whether they'll listen. I don't trust Oliver in a distracted situation at all. In fact, IMO the BEST thing to do in an emergency like that is turn around and run the other way. It sounds counterintuitive, but my dog likes to chase me and if I chased after him, it would make things worse.

But I do think learning a leash (and I'm one of the few that doesn't think it's necessary for my dog to be 100% in line with me at every step.) I'm fine as long as he isn't pulling and is pretty close. My trainer says his skills that way are good enough and that other things take precedence. She actually suggested a longer leash.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-10-2020, 06:23 PM
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Definitely true. I'm working on 'look at me' and drop it and recall, for the most part with Roxie. That said, I think at 5 months I had Oliver doing RELATIVELY well on the leash. I know he didn't have loose leash down but I just meant it might be something to start before the stop command off leash. Maybe beginning that on a leash would be safer. I know it's best not to do real 'walks' with puppies but I do like to do 5-10 minute ones around my cup-de-sac etc because they just learn easier as puppies. Granted, Roxie LOVES to run in circles around me on the leash and I let her. It's fun. I was SHOCKED to see that a trainer in a Havanese group on FB recommended a CHOKE COLLAR for a four month old puppy who was 'pulling' on a leash. Seriously? My dog is 3.5 months and 5 lbs. I cannot IMAGINE doing such a thing at any age, but as a puppy that will definitely create a negative association and cause lifetime damage. .
A lot of good advice in this post! Did you come up with the circles by yourself? Or have to learned Denise Fenzi's "Circle walking"? I used more traditional (positive) training methods with my older ones. Pixel was easy... she has always naturally wanted to stay close. Kodi took a fairly long time to really be reliable about loose leash walking. Panda LOOKED like she was going to be another tough nut when it came to LLW. Now, this was a puppy who started competition obedience training (in a puppy friendly way) at 12 weeks. She had BEAUTIFUL, off-leash, formal heeling in the ring a YEAR before she was getting better about LLW. It was learning circle walking that gave me the "hook" I needed to get her past pulling in an over-excited state. circling EVERY TIME she tightened the leash let her get rid of excess energy, while not pulling on her neck, and taught her that we didn't get ANYWHERE until she settled herself down. Maybe it was because she was the "right stage", I'm not sure. But it took about 3 walks with consistent circling, and she was TONS better. She can still get overexcited when she knows we are going on a walk (and she is 4 yrs old) but a few loopy circles are enough to get her head in the game, and then, barring a chipmunk or something, she will be fine for the rest of the walk!

I think 10 minute "puppy walks", to practice leash skills or just to follow the puppy and let them explore, is just perfect! ...And yes, if ANYONE suggests putting a choke or prong collar on a Havanese, RUN the other way!

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It would have terrified me, too. And it's basically a crap shoot at that age as to whether they'll listen. I don't trust Oliver in a distracted situation at all. In fact, IMO the BEST thing to do in an emergency like that is turn around and run the other way. It sounds counterintuitive, but my dog likes to chase me and if I chased after him, it would make things worse.
Yes!!! This is one of the BEST ways to get them to come back!

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But I do think learning a leash (and I'm one of the few that doesn't think it's necessary for my dog to be 100% in line with me at every step.) I'm fine as long as he isn't pulling and is pretty close. My trainer says his skills that way are good enough and that other things take precedence. She actually suggested a longer leash.
I think it is important for people to understand that there is a HUGE difference between loose leash walking and formal obedience "heeling". Unless you plan to compete, most dogs NEVER need to learn formal heeling. If you DO plan to compete, this is not a skill you generally teach out on casual walks. It is HARD for the dog, both mentally and physically, and is taught in TINY steps, for a few steps at a time. As I said, both Kodi and Panda had beautiful ring heeling, before they were reliable abut LLW. formal obedience heeling is a "trick" they learn. LLW needs to be comfortable for the human and the dog for long periods. Everyone has their own criteria for loose leash walking, and if you are happy with what you are getting, and the dog is not pulling you around or hurting themselves, it's perfect! My LLW criteria re pretty simple. They can be in front of me or behind me, but the leash must never get taut enough that I can't comfortably hold it on one finger. (a holdover from my horse days ) Which means, that if they've been keeping it loose, they can even stop and give something a quick sniff, as long as the moment they feel the leash tighten, they move along again.

My other rule is they must be willing to walk on either side of me (because I am usually walking two dogs, and sometimes all three) and they must NEVER cross in front of me. It's fine if they cross behind me, but I DO not want to get tripped!

They all have developed their own "style". Kodi MUST lead the way on all walks. but he goes out in front on the LIGHTEST of "contact" on the leash, and is totally "steerable" out there, Pixel ALWAYS wants to be at our side, but either side will do. The cutest thing she does is if Dave is walking her and I'm walking one of the others, I tend to be in front (Dave is a slow walker ) and even though she is attached to Dave, she will walk in "close to heel" position with me. Panda takes advantage of ALL allowed positions! As a result, when walking all three, I keep Kodi and Pixel in one hand and Panda in the other. Otherwise, she'd constantly be tangling with the others!

So I am 100% with you! I don't worry about "proper position" on walks either!


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-10-2020, 06:51 PM
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A lot of good advice in this post! Did you come up with the circles by yourself? Or have to learned Denise Fenzi's "Circle walking"? I used more traditional (positive) training methods with my older ones. Pixel was easy... she has always naturally wanted to stay close. Kodi took a fairly long time to really be reliable about loose leash walking. Panda LOOKED like she was going to be another tough nut when it came to LLW. Now, this was a puppy who started competition obedience training (in a puppy friendly way) at 12 weeks. She had BEAUTIFUL, off-leash, formal heeling in the ring a YEAR before she was getting better about LLW. It was learning circle walking that gave me the "hook" I needed to get her past pulling in an over-excited state. circling EVERY TIME she tightened the leash let her get rid of excess energy, while not pulling on her neck, and taught her that we didn't get ANYWHERE until she settled herself down. Maybe it was because she was the "right stage", I'm not sure. But it took about 3 walks with consistent circling, and she was TONS better. She can still get overexcited when she knows we are going on a walk (and she is 4 yrs old) but a few loopy circles are enough to get her head in the game, and then, barring a chipmunk or something, she will be fine for the rest of the walk!

I think 10 minute "puppy walks", to practice leash skills or just to follow the puppy and let them explore, is just perfect! ...And yes, if ANYONE suggests putting a choke or prong collar on a Havanese, RUN the other way!



Yes!!! This is one of the BEST ways to get them to come back!



I think it is important for people to understand that there is a HUGE difference between loose leash walking and formal obedience "heeling". Unless you plan to compete, most dogs NEVER need to learn formal heeling. If you DO plan to compete, this is not a skill you generally teach out on casual walks. It is HARD for the dog, both mentally and physically, and is taught in TINY steps, for a few steps at a time. As I said, both Kodi and Panda had beautiful ring heeling, before they were reliable abut LLW. formal obedience heeling is a "trick" they learn. LLW needs to be comfortable for the human and the dog for long periods. Everyone has their own criteria for loose leash walking, and if you are happy with what you are getting, and the dog is not pulling you around or hurting themselves, it's perfect! My LLW criteria re pretty simple. They can be in front of me or behind me, but the leash must never get taut enough that I can't comfortably hold it on one finger. (a holdover from my horse days ) Which means, that if they've been keeping it loose, they can even stop and give something a quick sniff, as long as the moment they feel the leash tighten, they move along again.

My other rule is they must be willing to walk on either side of me (because I am usually walking two dogs, and sometimes all three) and they must NEVER cross in front of me. It's fine if they cross behind me, but I DO not want to get tripped!

They all have developed their own "style". Kodi MUST lead the way on all walks. but he goes out in front on the LIGHTEST of "contact" on the leash, and is totally "steerable" out there, Pixel ALWAYS wants to be at our side, but either side will do. The cutest thing she does is if Dave is walking her and I'm walking one of the others, I tend to be in front (Dave is a slow walker ) and even though she is attached to Dave, she will walk in "close to heel" position with me. Panda takes advantage of ALL allowed positions! As a result, when walking all three, I keep Kodi and Pixel in one hand and Panda in the other. Otherwise, she'd constantly be tangling with the others!

So I am 100% with you! I don't worry about "proper position" on walks either!
No, actually I thought the circle thing was a no-no! Oliver just loved to spin around me in circles, kind of like zoomies on a leash. I knew I wasn't teaching him anything proper about walking on a leash, but it calmed him down enough to walk well, without pulling and trying to bounce off in that Havanese puppy way. He is great at walking on a leash now, to our benefit. The issue we have is he will bark at a biker, and I instinctively pull back, which makes him think I WANT him to be anxious, and then he lunges. So the trainer was trying to show me how to get him more concentrated on me than the stimulus he's reacting to. And there are treats involved, LOL. And Roxie ALSO loves the circle thing, so I was just letting her do it because she's having fun. So maybe it isn't a bad thing to do while leash training?

I need to figure out how to walk them both simultaneously when we get to that time! So those are all great points about figuring out which side. Oliver is a right side walker currently.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-10-2020, 11:40 PM
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I thought the same thing when the trainer suggested a slip lead, that tightens when they pull. I heard so many horror stories about collars and even improper harnesses for small dogs. I almost didn’t do it! My expectation was low, and he was walking loose most of the time - his leash pulling was sporadic, usually when he saw another dog. She taught us where to place it and how to use it properly (he was almost 2!) and all pulling was “fixed” almost immediately. Later I went back to look up where to place it, and one of the most viewed YouTube videos showed the placement where I was sure the trainer told me not to get place it.

I do think there are situations where different training methods can be useful. It helped for us because it provides immediate feedback, both to correct the behavior and to reassure that there is still a protector connected to the leash. It is scary that so many people get this kind of direction from YouTube instead of hands on from someone who knows how to do it safely.
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