Tag Archives: target stick

How Important Is It To Hold The Leash Properly For Training Your Dog

While working with a new client I was once again reminded how important holding the leash properly is for training your dog. I use four standard leash grips and one prompt.

  1. The alpha grip
  2. The double alpha grip or baseball bat grip
  3. The drop grip
  4. The left hand check (this is for dogs walking on the left side)
  5. Left hand prompt used with beginning dog that walk in front of the handler.
Double Hand Leash Grip Used For Dog Training The Alpha Grip
Double Hand Leash Grip Used For Dog Training – The Alpha Grip

The first four are most important for controlling wild out of control dogs. These five essential leash grips are important for all type of leash training. I use the same grips with slip collars, pinch collars, martingales, harnesses, and head collars such as the gentle leader. While the use of each type of restraint is different the leash grips used remains the same.

As I travel around the area I live I can’t help but notice a large number of pregnant women. I think we are in the midst of a mini baby boom. How does this tie into leash grips? Well, I have modified some of the basic grips to specifically work for pregnant women. If you are pregnant and especially if you are in the later stages of pregnancy I suggest you talk to your doctor before you do any dog training. Getting your doctors approval is even more important if you are training a large dog. Even if you have a small dog and we choose to use a target stick for training, leash handling is still a significant part of dog handling.

You will notice in the target stick training video I use a clicker. It may be of interest to know I have also developed leash handling protocols for working with the clicker as well. I awhile back I was working with a client on some target stick training who had worked with a fairly famous clicker trainer. What amazed me was that the clicker trainer never taught them proper leash handling for clicker training.

When you work with me you will see that I have broken all the training techniques into step by step procedures. This way anyone who practices can learn proper dog handling and training skills.

Wishing you the best in dogs and the best in life,
Andrew Ledford
So Cal Dog training
714-827-4058

Beginning Target Stick Conditioning With Clicker Video Baby Boomer Dog Handling

Target Stick Dog Training
Target Stick Dog Training

Beginning Target Stick Training Video

Using a target stick for dog training isn’t only for Baby Boomers. However, as I get a little older I find it mighty helpful for training small dogs. You may ask, helpful for what? Well when training small dogs bending over hundreds, even thousands of time a day can get tiresome. Bending in itself isn’t so bad, but moving a small dog around while bending can put extra strain on one’s back. The target stick lets you move or lure the dog without bending.

A lot of trainers see slip collars on most of the dogs in my videos and think I don’t use positive reinforcement. Well the slip collar is there for safety. A high quality slip collar is the safest collar for an urban environment.

Conditioning your dog to the target stick is most easily done using a clicker. Yes the little dog from Long Beach is back for some additional training. In the beginning part of the video I’m getting the dog to touch the stick at the very end. That is the target. I usually start this training very informally. As you will notice while the dog is on its bed. Once the dog is comfortable with touching the stick inside the house we’ll move to the backyard. The backyard training is not in the video. Then we go out into public. Training in public and around distractions adds a whole new dimension to the exercise and needs to be done at a speed that is right for the individual dog. Don’t go too fast. When transitioning to public training it’s better to over train with low level distraction than go too fast.

While I don’t usually talk a lot about clicker training I have been using a clicker before it was popular. When I first started doing clicker training they were call party crickets or party clickers. You had to buy them at toy stores. I think I still have a few of those lying around somewhere. My Labrador Retriever who was in television commercials and film was trained with a clicker. That dog was trained with an all positive approach for about the first three years I had him. We would work between two to four hours a day training new and basic behaviors.

Although I don’t call myself a clicker trainer I have developed specific techniques for handling a dog while using the clicker. I am amazed that a lot of trainers who claim to be clicker training experts have not done the same. How do I know they haven’t? Well I don’t really. However, when I work with clients who have done training with one of these clicker experts and they can’t handle the clicker and the leash or the dog at the same time, I have to wonder. Usually I will ask specifically about what kind of handling was taught, assuming they just need a prompt to remember. Often all I get is “I wasn’t taught that.”

As I mentioned Baby boomers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from using a target stick. Some sensitive dogs do better when they’re at a distance from people. For these dogs the stick can be a helpful intermediate step. The target stick is just one tool to help work thorough training problems or speed up the training process. There are some trainers who really like using a target stick and they have built whole target stick training systems. This can have some benefits. I have used different types of sticks, wands, staffs, canes, scepters, and wooden swords as training tools for years. When used with positive reinforcement and/or as positive reinforcement (something the dog likes) these tools can have a positive and dramatic impact on a dog’s behavior.

Wishing you the best in dogs and in life,

So Cal Dog training
714-827-4058