Dear Mr. Katz:
I have a 4 month old female pup, AmStaff/Boxer (we think - she was a rescue). She responds well to all training, EXCEPT for walking and heeling.
We've practiced loose-leash "turning on a dime" technique described in your book and audio tape at length, but she refuses to cooperate.
It's not a matter of distraction - when I attempt to train her in this style, she pulls back with all her strength. When loose leash is snapped, she sits, paws braced, or lays down on her back. These responses are immediate.
I've tried instantly righting her, and continuing training, but she responds as above just as quickly. This can go on indefinitely. I've tried correcting her with a low "No," and praising her if she responds correctly for even an instant. I've tried using treats to get her to at least walk with me briefly...... all to no success.
What else should I try? Thanks, Geoff
It's a good question you've asked.
First, you DO NOT want to work dog around distractions at this point in game.
Second, you should not be telling dog, "No!" and jerking leash for this behavior. Instead, you need to simply glue leash to your belt and keep walking.
Now here's where your problem will arise: You've already inadvertently taught your dog that if she kicks and screams long enough (or rolls on her back and throws a tantrum)... that eventually you will stop walking and come to see what's wrong.
The only problem is... NOTHING IS WRONG!
It's like if I take you in a helicopter and drop you off in middle of desert and tell you that I'm going to leave you there, but will eventually come back and pick you up in half an hour (or 2 hours, or a whole day!!!) ... you will simply sit there and not attempt to remedy your situation, as you know that I'm coming back to pick you up. Eventually, this situation will end and I'll come back and your problems will be over.
However, if I instead drop you off in middle of desert and tell you that I'm never coming back... then all of sudden you're in a position where you MUST START TRYING DIFFERENT THINGS TO BETTER YOUR SITUATION.