• KajaKaja
    Posts: 206
    Hi guys! Alright so this is perhaps the most discussed part of training ever, haha. And this is why I turn to the forums for advice: you've been there, done that!

    So my shikoku Kaja is what I would call 'acceptable' on leash. A little about her:

    - It takes her a little bit to get accustomed to it when we start on our daily outings (slight pulls, does a little dash, etc), but after she cools down walking with her is easier.
    - When walking proper, I alternate between three to five feet of leash, and when things are going really well she walks slightly ahead of me with a bit of slack.
    - We've worked her to only walk on the right hand side, which she has done well with.
    - Sometimes I take the 50 foot line and let her gallop around in the park or walk far ahead of me on trails... not sure if this is counter intuitive to leash training.

    This is all fine and dandy when there are no distractions, of course. When there are distractions? When we come across a bunny or deer, she has to 'sit'. For bunnies, I was told by a trainer to reward her for the sit by doing a quick and non-committal 'chase' after the animal. The dog likes the thrill of just going at it for a little bit, and that's their reward -- and will encourage future sits. I don't know if that's true, but that's what we've been doing.

    The problem comes when it is other dogs on the approach. Kaja will pull, bark, whine, do her little growls... she wants to go say hi. It gets so bad that she will be on both hind feet doing a little dance at the end of the leash, pulling on her harness. I've seen very conflicting advice for this behaviour:
    -some folks tell you to sit your dog and calmly pet them while the other dog passes.
    -some folks tell you to walk in the opposite direction of the dog approaching you
    -some folks tell you to squeeze a squeaky toy and distract your dog, then encourage a sit
    -some folks encourage distance and then rewarding your dog for paying attention to you when you get to that point.*
    -some folks tell you to judge the oncoming dog and then do a meet and greet (this one I think requires an already trained dog though...).

    *Of course it can be hard to get Kaja's attention because of her laser focus, haha.

    Oh! And Kaja will sometimes bark at people passing us on the street?? I admit with it being winter the big coats and all can be a little unusual for her to see, but she alllwaaaaays barks at our neighbours when we pass. Always.

    So what's your guys' take on the various methods mentioned above? What have you found success with? Or failure with? My previous dogs (albeit herding/bird breeds) were very easy to train on leash in comparison. Though I don't think Kaja and I are doing too badly in the walk department overall, this particular issue is definitely something I think we need to work on.
    Post edited by Kaja at 2016-01-14 01:12:49
  • jigzzorjigzzor
    Posts: 121
    I have never gotten katsu to be a good on leash or acceptable even for that matter. So it would really love help as well :P if anyone can pitch in on an idea, (i'm useless). The problem with katsu is he has absolutely no motivation to listen to us on the outside. No food, toy, or excited human can distract him from his ultimate goal.

    The phrase "You wanna go for a walk?" is very sacred in this house. Once he gets into that I wanna go for a walk phase, he will pout, complain, and get us to walk him if that phrase gets said out loud. He was never a good leash pup even at 4 months old, he was more interested in exploring and hunting squirrels, Fast track a year later, He's the exact same. Squirrel = all focused in, Dogs = all focused in, Marked area's = all focused in. The fact of the matter is, for katsu the walk is probably the favorite thing of all time katsu would love to do all day everyday. So I spend at least 2 hours doing walks with him daily until I get too tired.

    Miyuki however has potential, she's food motivated, toy motivated, and always comes when called for. the only time she won't do this is if we walk both her and katsu at the same time. Not sure why she behaves this way with katsu around, but none the less she can do it!
  • KajaKaja
    Posts: 206
    @jiggzor Yeah! Getting Kaja to listen with outside distractions was and still is really difficult. I think the 'sit' thing only works because I make her do it for everything else, too. If she wants something she has to sit! And it was easier to train her this way because touching her backside immediately makes her drop her butt, hahaha.

    But it's still a struggle to reward her for good behaviour, or to initiate a distraction with treats or whatnot. I offer up what I can, she can take it sometimes or completely ignore it other times. :/
  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1825
    My Kishu are "acceptable" on a leash.

    TK is a saint.
    To be fair, though, I HAD to train TK to perform and respond well on a leash because he will approach and bite strangers, otherwise. He is extremely reactive to people on a leash. He was awful when I first got him.

    So the way we saw the best results was by teaching targeting and "follow me." Maybe you guys can try the same and see your results? It may not help with pulling, but should make Katsu, Miyuki, and Kaja more aware of you during walks.

    The very first step is teaching a "touch" (or targeting) command. I taught TK by squishing a treat to my palm with a thumb and "luring" him into the behavior. When his nose hit my hand to go for the treat, I'd mark the behavior with a positive and release the treat to him. Once we did it a couple times, I added my word in ("touch!") right before he touched my palm. When he became somewhat reliable, I started decreasing the presence and rate of treat-dispensing and wouldn't use the treat in my hand to lure him in anymore.

    Once he had a reliable "touch!", I started practicing with him everywhere. In the yard, on walks, anywhere I thought he could focus. You don't want to, say, start training on targeting in a too-distracting environment or expect a dog to go from doing their targeting indoors in one room without distractions to doing it on the street with every distractions, so I had to build TK up.

    Once I did that, we started on walking and targeting. I'd put my hand down and have him do the same thing while we walked. I gave this a different command (after repeating the same basics of "touch", just while walking...) - "follow."

    It's really helped him mind me better on walks. He still reacts to some things, but it's 100x easier to get him off it now that we've done all this training on targeting.

    I'm thinking about teaching the Kishu ladies a little more (they know basic targeting skills, but not like TK) and see if it helps them focus on me at all...
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 || www.kishu-ken.org
  • TheYetiTheYeti
    Posts: 166
    We have done the 'touch' and 'leave it' commands with Rollo, and those have helped greatly with walking. He has become a very good on-leash dog. Though I think our figure 8 slip lead that works like a halti has helped.

    He now only pulls when he either sees wildlife, other dogs, but mostly when he has to poop. He hauls pretty strongly on the leash if he has to go. After he finally finishes his business he's great again.

    The 'leave it' command works great for him. I can get him to drop or leave food containers left on the sidewalk about 95% of the time without correcting him with the leash. It's not hard to gain his full attention when on leash, so I think our training has been pretty successful.
    To err is human, to arrr is to pirate.
  • jigzzorjigzzor
    Posts: 121
    Katsu is great with drop it outside and is great with touch indoors. The only problem I have is him not being food motivated at all, even toys he'll still ignore. Being even around outside of our apartment he still won't respond, you can give him a steak outside and he'll still ignore it and proceed to walk and explore. I might try with dog safe tasty human foods as treats, he seems to always want what i'm having as long as it smells delicious.
  • GrayJJGrayJJ
    Posts: 271
    @Kaja this is the exact issue I had with Takeo (per a brief mention in his thread) and something we've been working super hard on.

    He walks with a slack leash now if I'm alone, and even if we meet other dogs - which was next to impossible before, given a similar reaction to Kaja upon seeing any dog even in the distance. Small dogs are still pretty bad, I think it's more prey drive at that point.

    Now, I don't expect him to "heel" on walks. I like my guys enjoying sniffing and scenery, but I don't like being dragged down the street (of course). I think the rearing up on hind legs seems like a breed habit in a Shikoku -- though I know passerby's think I have a crazy dog..

    I ended up going with clicker training, bcuz Takeo responded really well to it!
    I did a lot of sits, sit + wait to teach him patience, first with dogs in the distance (I.e. across the park) and working up to reducing the distance.
    I also use "touch" a lot! He really enjoys them and I use them often for walking check in's, to help reel him in and get his attention. We practiced it a lot, everywhere, randomly in/out of house.

    We still do get random dogs that get him excited, and when it happens I find that speeding up (getting a touch) and passing quickly is more effective for his attention than trying to sit+wait causing some barrier frustration. Then we always do a sit right after so he can focus and calm down.

    I hope that sort of helps!
  • KajaKaja
    Posts: 206
    Sounds like some AWESOME advice, guys!

    @grayjj Thanks!!! I'm going to give it a shot. Kaja likes clicker training, so hopefully this will fly.

    @crispy That sounds like some pro advice! So to clarify, you squish a treat between thumb and palm... and then mark it with 'touch'. Then it progresses from touch->touch with distractions->touch while walking->follow?

    I will definitely try that! :)
    Post edited by Kaja at 2016-01-16 02:29:20
  • KajaKaja
    Posts: 206
    Well the initial 'touch' lesson went well! She picked up 'high five' while we were at it, rofl.

    The difference between 'touch' and 'high five' is a tricky one for her just like 'sit' and 'lay down' used to be... or before we learned the difference of 'lay down' and 'lay down on your side'. It's always fun seeing her gears turn. Hahaha.

    Sorry, I get excited when she learns a new trick -- and touch is so cute, too :>

    edit: Ah, if only walking on leash nicely were so easy to train! We did not too bad today, she didn't lunge ahead to get to a dog this time.... just got really perky xD
    Post edited by Kaja at 2016-01-16 04:21:37
  • We also used "touch" as a lead-in to loose leash walking in Mosura's manners class. She really enjoyed the part where she gets to become Pacman. Take a step, get a treat, take a step, get a treat... lol.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
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  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1825
    That's it, @kaja! Good luck!
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 || www.kishu-ken.org
  • jigzzorjigzzor
    Posts: 121
    I also would like add that i've started to exercise katsu a lot before doing training with him and it really helps a ton. He's more responsive when he's not bouncing around with the shikoku overdrive.
  • KajaKaja
    Posts: 206
    I also would like add that i've started to exercise katsu a lot before doing training with him and it really helps a ton. He's more responsive when he's not bouncing around with the shikoku overdrive.


    I notice that too. I will often take Kaja running up and down a hill a dozen times before we do the real walking. xD

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