Many dogs respond to their owners’ commands at close quarters. But the further away they get, the more deaf they seem to get. How many of you have spent considerable sections of walks chasing after your dog that refuses to stay close to you and obey commands?
Line training is a training technique to teach your dog to stay within a controlled boundary and whilst in this area, be attentive to your commands.
How easy is line training?
This training technique can be made to look easy, when carried out by an experienced trainer. However, it is an art that requires patience to master. You will find that training is more fun and pleasurable for both of you, if you make sure you master each stage before moving unto the next stage; so do not attempt to rush through the training stages, it will only frustrate you and the dog.
What do I need to line train?
All you need to start line training is a web training line (or web lead) and some training tibits such as Coachies . Web leads are a lightweight web line with a catch to attach to your dogs collar. The come in lengths from 6 to 30ft, we usually recommend a line of 20-30ft.
For the safety of your dog web leads must never be attached to choke chain type collars or head collars. It is also worth wearing a pair of gloves during training to avoid rope burns. If you find during training that your dog continually bites or plays with the training line, then make sure you exercise your dog before training to help him release his pent up energy. You may find that spraying some Anti-Chew Spray on the line helps.
What are the stages in line training?
Stage 1: Training the ‘STOP’ and ‘THIS WAY’ commands
The STOP command is important so that should your dog become tangled in the web lead, you can stop your dog and untangle him. It is also a very useful command to have for day-to-day control. Practice this using a short 6ft lead. Walk forwards and give the queue ‘STOP’, then come to a halt. When your dog stops, treat and/or praise him instantly. Repeat this regularly during walks over a number of weeks in different environments (parks, busy streets, etc).
The ‘THIS WAY’ command is the opposite of the STOP command as it teaches your dog to follow you. When you employ the STOP command to stop your dog, use the THIS WAY command to start moving forwards again. Practice this over and over many times, using the THIS WAY command every time you change direction. Repeat the training in various different environments.
Stage 2: Basic direction changes:
Attach the web training line to your dog’s collar or harness and allow it to drag behind to accustom your dog to this new lead. Give the queue ‘THIS WAY’ as you change direction. Praise your dog the instant they follow you. Remember you want your dog to follow you rather than recalling them to you. So you must praise the instant your dog changes direction towards you.
Over a number of sessions practice changing direction randomly, gently pulling and releasing the line when your dog is at a distance more than ¾ of the line length. Accompany this gentle tug with the THIS WAY command and praise the instance they change direction towards you. Remember that this exercise is simulation being off lead, so you should endeavour to keep the line loose at all times.
Stage 3: Stop the verbal cues:
You now need to teach your dog to watch you rather than listen. So once your dog is stopping, looking and following you without prompting, gradually drop the verbal ‘THIS WAY’ command and only use it when necessary. However, continue to praise your dog when they follow your direction changes.
Stage 4: Remove the training line:
When your dog is following you with minimal prompting, let go of the line and allow it to drag on the ground. If necessary, press one foot on the line if your dog moves beyond the controlled boundary. Practice this over a number of sessions and in different environments. Make sure you start from stage 1 and build up slowly in new environments; you want the dog to succeed and learn from the experience rather than to set high expectations that the dog will be unable to meet in new, more exciting environments.