Instructor: Chrissi Schranz
You love your dog, but she can be difficult to live with: she jumps up on your visitors, she barks when she wants something, she pulls on her leash and ignores your recall. You're new to the world of dog training, but there's a number of things you would really like to teach your dog! Wouldn't it be nice to walk him around the block on a loose leash, if he greeted visitors politely, and came when you called? This is the class for you! You will learn how to teach your dog to be a polite and well-behaved family member with the help of a marker sound and food rewards.
There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.
Registration will begin at 9:30 AM Pacific Time.
For answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.
Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited.
Silver level for this class is offered as "Working Silver". In addition to asking GENERAL clarification questions about the class lecture materials, silver students will now have the opportunity to submit two short videos, one minute each, for critique and review. You may submit two questions. Each question MUST have a one minute video attached so the instructor can actually answer a question that they can see. The question must relate to a topic in the class and the video must be a demo of the question. Please see the discussion forum for a detailed explanation - feel free to sign up at bronze, read the explanation, and then come back here to upgrade to silver if that interests you, and if space is available.
If you are interested in a bronze level subscription, you can sign up at any time during the registration period.
Skills that will be covered in this class:
- Loose Leash Walking
- I know my Name!
- Settle on a Mat or in a Crate
- Appropriate Greetings
- Drop it! (Trade)
- Leave it!
- Wait for permission before exiting house/car/kennel
- Sit to say please
There are no prerequisites. The Perfect Pet is targeted to beginning dog trainers who want to learn how to train their pet dog with positive reinforcement.
- A food-motivated dog (the class relies on food rewards only)
- Clicker and lots of high-value treats
- Dog bed or crate for teaching settle
- New (!) flat collar and a harness for loose leash walking
Skill 1.3: Loose Leash Walking Inside The House (Easy Environment)
Your have practiced the foundation behaviors, and your dog is able to do hand touches and give in to leash pressure in various environments. You’re ready to start loose leash walking! Get your dog, 10 treats, your flat collar and leash. Find a spacious, distraction-free room or corridor in your house.
There is a number of different ways to successfully teach loose leash walking. The approach we are going to work with in this class is one that is particularly effective if your dog has already learned to pull, because the criteria are very clear: your dog is free to walk behind you or next to you on either side, but she can’t walk ahead of you.
Rule #1: Walk forwards as long as your dog’s front paws are behind the invisible line you imagine parallel to your toes.
When your dog steps over the invisible line, you will stop, turn sideways, and offer a hand target behind you. Mark as your dog touches the hand target. Use the food to turn him around, then start walking again.
Here’s what this looks like; first in normal speed, then in slow motion:
Practice this first standing still with your dog next to you. She should remain next to or behind you, but not cross the invisible line, just as if you were walking. Video yourself standing still and practice the hand touch technique of guiding the dog back into the correct position. Make sure you get the mechanics straight before adding movement!
Note: I don’t mind what side my dog walks on during loose leash walking. However, if your dog is obedience trained, you might want to work on the right rather than left side: we don’t want loose leash walking to turn into a formal obedience heel, and keeping him on your right side for loose leash walking helps distinguish this exercise from formal heeling (on your left).
Starting Easy and Raising Criteria
Rule #2: Mark every time your dog walks next to you, stop, and treat near or slightly behind your leg.
The following video examples and explanations will show you how to systematically increase the distance between clicks until your dog can walk 20 steps on a loose leash between clicks.
1 to 2 steps
This is Grit, my adolescent Mal, working in our corridor. She learned to walk on a loose leash when she was a little puppy, but I used a different approach for her (she learned that it was okay to walk ahead of me as long as she kept the leash loose). She also forgot some of her loose leash skills when she hit adolescence, which should make her a good demo dog!
In my first video, Grit is almost being too good. I only need to lead her back with a hand target once (the second time is because I dropped a cookie). If your dog hasn’t yet been trained to walk on a loose leash, you will probably have to use your hand target much more often! Don’t worry - that’s completely normal.
Pay attention to the 1 to 2 steps I make in between clicking and stopping/feeding. These additional steps are important in all phases of the loose leash program. They give your dog time to stop without accidentally crossing the invisible line. If you stopped the moment you clicked, your dog would likely make a mistake and cross the invisible line - we want to avoid this and set him up for success!
Stay at this stage until you can use up your 10 treats (= one session) without using the hand target at all. Success? Awesome! Let’s start reducing the clicks!
From now on, click only after your dog has walked next to you for 3 steps. Stay at this level of difficulty until you can walk through your house on a loose leash for an entire 10-cookie session without ever needing to use your hand target.
I click every five steps, but Grit needs the occasional hand-touch help. So I stay at this level of difficulty a little longer.
I click every five steps, and Grit doesn’t need hand-touch help for an entire 10-cookie session. We’re ready to raise criteria!
Stay at this stage until you can go an entire 10-treat session without needing the hand touch at all.
Walk five steps, praise, walk five steps, click and treat. Walk five steps, praise, walk five more steps, click and treat.
Can you walk 10 steps before clicking without needing the hand target in an entire 10-cookie session (which should be quite long by now)? Wow! Great job! Let’s raise criteria!
Walk 7 steps, praise, walk 8 more steps, click and treat. Walk 7 steps, praise, walk 8 more steps, click and treat.
Can you do this for an entire 10-cookie session without needing your hand target at all? Great work! Let’s raise criteria again!
Walk 10 steps, praise, walk 10 more steps, click and treat. Walk 10 steps, praise, walk 10 more steps, click and treat.
Can you do this for an entire 10-cookie session without needing your hand target at all? Wow! Great work! You’re ready to move on to the next step, which you will find in Lecture 1.4.