How to Correct the Off Leash Stick Around Command & Off Leash Heel Command

QUESTION:

Could you help me clarify some techniques when it comes to non- stationary commands? How do I correct a “Stick around” command when my dog breaks the allowed perimeter when we are out walking when he has the shortest Freedom Training Line attached to him?

This is what I have been doing: I say “No,” run up to him, and then do a line correction followed by a verbal “Stick around” command. However, when I do this, sometimes my dog attempts to run away as I approach him.

Also, if my dog is walking in a heel position and he falls a little behind (i.e. out of the heel position) because of being distracted by something behind him, should I say “No!” go back and correct and then should I re-say “Heel” again instead of “Okay” right after the discipline?

 

ANSWER:

When you’re at the stage of working with the shortest Freedom Training Line, you would correct an “acceptable radius” infraction by saying “No!” (firmly and loud enough for the dog to clearly hear) as soon as the dog has gone too far, walk up to the dog calmly (don’t run or look anxious), and then implement a collar/line correction at the point of infraction. Then, give your proper “Okay” release and continue – this is important; never “release” casually in any situation.

However, if the dog is looking to run/bolt – or does start to do so – as you calmly walk toward him, it indicates that the dog is not yet ready for the shortest line. It shows he’s not sufficiently respecting you to accept his chastening for doing what he clearly knows is not allowed. In this case, you need to go back a few steps in the off leash freedom process. This requires going back to a longer line – sometimes you might even have to go right back to the longest Freedom Training Line (depending of the severity of the dog’s disrespect for your authority.)

I always encourage people not to rush things. Those that do so can end up working with the shortest Freedom Training Line too soon. They miss out on laying down enough training foundation for the dog to maturely cope with off leash freedom.

It’s not a great concern, though. Sometimes it’s a little difficult to judge with certain dogs. So, just be pleased that you’ve recognized an issue and do what you need to do to nip it in the bud now. You’ll successfully re-set the training process where it should be and simply continue from there. Keep up the great efforts!

P.S. I encourage you to review the relevant training sections in my DVDs as you’ll see me demonstrate all of the above. Sometimes people miss some of the finer points of the training with just one viewing. That’s why I always strongly encourage people to watch both Perfect Dog DVDs at least twice through in their entirety before beginning any training.

 

REPLY/QUESTION:

Thank you, Don. That really helps. Also, if my dog is walking in a heel position and he falls a little behind (i.e. out of the heel position) because of being distracted by something behind him, should I say the same “No!” and go back to correct him? Should I then repeat “Heel” instead of “Okay” right after the discipline?

  

ANSWER:

You don’t need to use “No!” is this case of a small infraction with the off leash Heel command. You would simply – and again, calmly – lean back/walk back, grab the line, and implement a collar/line correction (or two if needed) at the same time as saying “Heel!” in a calm but gruff tone.

Don’t forget to verbally praise the dog after a few steps of him getting back into a nice Heel position. As my Perfect Dog DVDs instruct, use a high-pitched, happy tone.

Again, I encourage you to review my training section on this command and you’ll see me demonstrate all of the above a number of times.

– Don Sullivan, “The DogFather”

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