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Morning All! Wondering what your tips and tricks are for a great leash walker? So far the only trick I've found is when he's able to follow the trail of another dog - but our neighbors aren't always so reliable (ha!).

I have been trying to give him commands along the way where he can stop and sniff but as you know sometimes he is more interested in sniffing than walking. Just want to make sure our guy is getting enough exercise...
 

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I would start by positioning the dog next to you, to your left, that's usually the best way, and hold the leash with your right hand. Have a fanny bag (or something) with small bite size treats (not hard treats, so that the dog's concentration won't break by having to chew). Have a few treats in your left hand. Give the command heel, let the dog sniff your hand for a split second and start walking, repeat the command every 2-3 steps and treat after saying it. The dog must associate between the fact that he is walking nicely by your side and the treats (and praises of course). That takes time, but I've learned it's the best way to teach them how to walk on the leash.
Obviously you shouldn't give a treat every time you walk him, but once he picks up the heel command, make sure you treat every once in a while so that he would have something to expect to....
 

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Our neightbor told us a trick that seems to work with Tucker. Walk in middle of the street. There is a lot less things to smell so he is not as distracted. Of coarse this only works on quiet streets. And he still manages to find things to smell.
 

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We have learned in obedience to let the Beagle be a Beagle and let him sniff. As long as he doesn't pull, we don't correct him. We live outside of town and have tons of wildlife in our neighborhood so the nose is always working!! That and I think the kids walking to school drop goodies just to see if Blue can find them!!

We learned heel, but we are training on a choke chain and I know most people don't agree with that type of training but it works. It was amazing the first 15 minutes Blue had it on, he knew what to do and corrected himself. Walking has been so much better. He has now learned that if we stop or before we start our walks that he needs to sit next to our left foot until we start moving. We have to remember to start with our left foot as movement with the right foot means a completely different thing.

Good luck with walking!!
 

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Maria, I agree, let the beagle sniff. It has been ten years since I used the choke chain to teach Bagel to heel or polite walk and if I have him sit, at my left leg, hold his short leash with my left hand, and tell him to heel, he still polite walks, still stops when I stop and still sits, but 99.5% of our walks are not like that, they are with a 25' or 35' lead, and his nose making the majority of the decisions. I can turn him, or herd him in general directions and we get where I want to go but he has fungetting there.
 

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Hi theregalbeagle,

When I saw your posting I was like awesome, I love talking about leash walking. Not because I'm a master, far from it. But because I have tried numerous things and it wasn't until now we've both (Bodie and I) have found our happy medium. Now when I say happy medium, I mean medium. He has a long ways to go to being a good walker. But I'm happy for now.

When I joined this forum that was my first question. I got lots of great suggestions from the users. And I tried many of them to one extent or another. What I found is I use a little of this, a little of that and what I feel works best for Bodie. And I think that's the one thing I want to emphasize here. There may be no perfect solution for you, but rather learning different techniques and trying them yourself.

We only use three commands when walking, lets go, leave it and drop it. But I'll only talk about two, leave it and let's go. When Bodie locks in on something I don't want him sniffing or putting in his mouth I say leave it. As soon as he does we hit the clicker and give him a reward. We rarely have to say it twice or yank the lead. Now bare in mind, most of our leave it training was done off the leash in our yard or driveway. Only on walks is it put into practical use.

The other command is lets go. What I do is say let's go, I give him 1-2 seconds to respond on his own, if he doesn't I give him a quick short yank on the leash to startle him. He almost always comes freely after this. By delaying the yank he has the option of moving along on his own and avoid the tug. I would say right now about half the time he gets going when I say lets go and doesn't require the tug.

But here's the key to all of this. You also need to compromise with your dog. You got yourself a beagle, a known sniffer who will stop on a dime. You need to give in to your dogs needs too. And when he does lock in on something I let him. I stand and wait patient...to a point. I can tell when he's locked in on something or just farting around. If that's the case or we've been their two long then it's lets go. By doing this I'm respecting his need to smell the world and he's respecting our need to keep moving.

When Bodie does gets going I don't try to slow him down or bring him back. Once he gets rolling let's keep the train going. I learned this from Bob (above). As long as I don't have to start running I let Bodie go and pull me. Quite honestly this is usually only at the beginning of our walk. After which time he'll walk at the same pace as me.

One last note, I don't know how old your dog is. But when we brought Bodie home at 8 weeks he would lock in on everything. We only walked in our cul-de-sac and every foot or two he was drawn too something. I think this was because everything was so new. Now at 16 weeks we can walk down a new street and he might go one or two houses before locking in on something and pulling me towards it. So I do think it gets better over time. There are still times we might only make it a few feet before locking in on something. But overall I'm pleased with our current progress and the pace of our walks.
 

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Originally Posted By: MariaWe have learned in obedience to let the Beagle be a Beagle and let him sniff. As long as he doesn't pull, we don't correct him. We live outside of town and have tons of wildlife in our neighborhood so the nose is always working!! That and I think the kids walking to school drop goodies just to see if Blue can find them!!

We learned heel, but we are training on a choke chain and I know most people don't agree with that type of training but it works. It was amazing the first 15 minutes Blue had it on, he knew what to do and corrected himself. Walking has been so much better. He has now learned that if we stop or before we start our walks that he needs to sit next to our left foot until we start moving. We have to remember to start with our left foot as movement with the right foot means a completely different thing.

Good luck with walking!!
I agree with this - although I use martingales which are a half chain half collar style, but adjustable so they can work more effectively then check chains as you can fit the collar more securely. I have nothing against check chains as long as they are used properly, like any tool. Its an old wives tale that they are used to choke the dog - they are used to 'check' the dog and its more about the dog associating the check noise with a correction than causing it any discomfort.

To me loose leash walking and heel are two different things, heel is when Daisy is at a precise spot next to my left leg and walks in time with me, always looking at me - like you do at an obedience trial. When we are just on walks, she walks on a loose leash and is allowed to sniff etc. I don't mind if she is sniffing as long as its on a loose leash. As soon as she pulls she gets a correction which means she can't sniff, when she is walking nicely she can sniff which is very rewarding for her.
 

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I use a martingale on Duke, too. Violet is on a harness, but I am considering switching her.

We also just them them sniff. We live in a tract housing development that is within 1/2 mile of the University's agricultural fields. So while we're in the neighborhood, I keep them on a short leash and they have to heel (or what counts for heeling in their book). Once we get to the fields, leashes get let out and they get to sniff their way through the walk until we tighten back up again for the neighborhood portion on the way home.

We make little stops on the walk, as their noses take over. Last week, we stopped for a second and when I was ready, I looked back and Duke wasn't moving and had a distressed look on his face. My first thought was that he was hurt or sick (and then the notion of having to carry him back 1-1/2 miles home struck! ACK). So I went back to him and he just looked at me and lifted his little paw. Sure enough, there was a sticker barely in there. His look was like, Mommy, fix it! So cute.
 

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The Bagel will three legged walk back to me for Dad - Fix it Please when stickers are encountered. We have an evil jumping cactus called Cholla and it has been known to hitch a ride on the Bagel Tail - not a pleasant sight! Bob has to react quick to save the Bagel from himself as Bagel's attempt at self removal leads to thorns in his mouth and loud Bagel protests. A nice safe agricultural field sounds like beagle heaven.
 

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I have seen the fix it please look several times. Around here it is usually blackberries. They hurt when they grab you. The people behind us have blackberries and it is a struggle to keep them out of the yard. Once you get them, it is practically impossible to get rid of them. If you want them for the berries, just go to any open field and you can have all you want and then some.
I'm getting off subject.

We go for some sniff walks where Tucker is in charge (usually to the High School fields) and sometimes serious walks. I find that if we don't do enough serious walks his all around discipline goes downhill. We do give him ample time to sniff on the serious walks. He is a beagle and he does like to check the p-mail in the neighborhood.
 
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