Leash Training Your Dog

Leash training a dog, is effectively achieved by teaching him one simple fact-

Pulling will get him nowhere.

Instead, walking properly next to us, is the quickest way to get to his destination.

To teach this lesson, it is important NOT to reward our dog for pulling.

Do not let our dog drag us along, and do not pet or give him any affection while he is pulling. Teach him to walk on a loose leash first, before attempting to walk him close to us in a heel position.

Here are some leash training techniques:

Leash Training Technique 1

Red-Light, Green-Light

A simple way to leash train a dog and teach him not to pull, is to …

  • Stop walking when the leash is taut, and
  • Start moving again when the leash is loose.

We do not even need to say anything to our dog. Through our actions, he will figure out the rules of the game.

When we stop, some dogs may decide to roam around and smell whatever is available in the environment. To stop this, I usually shorten the leash and bring my dog in next to me. This does a better job at limiting his freedom, which makes this technique more effective.

In addition, I only start moving again after my dog does a Sit next to me. I use a shorter lead in the beginning, then slowly lengthen it if my dog walks nicely, and without pulling. By changing the length of the lead, we can control the amount of freedom our dog has, and further motivate him not to pull.

Initially, we may need to stop very frequently, so be ready for really short walks. However, it is important to be patient and absolutely consistent with the stop rule. Otherwise, our dog will learn that if he pulls enough times, we will give-in and let him go wherever he wants. This encourages him to pull more in the future.

Leash Training Technique 2

180 Degree Turn

Depending on the age and temperament of our dog, frequent hard stops may cause him to get frustrated. Too much pent-up frustration can make a dog act out in other ways, for example, he may resort to leash biting.

If we are leash training an easily frustrated or excitable dog, it may be more effective to use the 180-turn technique.

As soon as our dog starts to pull, quickly turn around and start walking in the opposite direction. In this way, the dog can release his pent-up energy, because he is still doing something physical – walking. At the same time, he learns that when he pulls, he just gets farther away from his desired destination.

If our dog walks properly on a loose leash for a few seconds, we can mark him for his good behavior (Good), turn back, and resume our walk. If he starts pulling again, it is fine to walk back and forth on the same stretch of ground until he learns not to pull.

Leash Training Technique 3

Hand Targeting

Start by training the dog to target our hand at home.

First, I put some dog treats in my hand, and make sure my dog knows that it is there. Then, I put my hand close to his muzzle and say Nose. As soon as my dog touches my hand with his nose, I mark him (Yes) and treat him. I repeat this exercise until I am confident that he has learned the command.

Next, I move a few steps away, put my hand out in the same gesture, and say Nose. When he moves toward me and touches my hand, I mark the behavior (Yes) and treat. I keep repeating this inside the house, then continue the exercise in the backyard.

Once we are comfortable doing this in the backyard, we can try using this technique outside, while leash training our dog.

If the dog pulls, non-mark him (Uh-oh), get him to do a Sit, re-target him on our hand, and continue the leash training session.

In this way, our dog learns that pulling is inappropriate, and walking close to us will get him affection and treats. We can treat less often, and slowly phase out the treats altogether, once our dog learns to walk calmly by our side.

Leash Training Technique 4

Collar Correction/ Leash Correction/ Leash Jerk

The most common aversive technique for leash training a dog, is to perform collar corrections (also called leash corrections or leash jerks).

A collar correction must be a quick jerk of the leash. There is only tension for an extremely short amount of time (a quarter-second or less), and then the leash should be loose again. Most people tend to do tugs rather than jerks, which will do little in leash training the dog.

Tugs may actually exacerbate the situation, because it places continuous tension on the leash. This tension may cause the dog to get tense and frustrated.

We must also be properly positioned for the collar correction, so that the force is always to the side rather than directly back. Jerking to the back may encourage the dog to lunge forward to oppose the force, thus causing him to pull even more.

To work well in leash training, collar corrections must be executed with the proper force, proper timing, and proper redirection. This is necessary so that the dog learns that pulling is wrong, without becoming afraid of his surroundings, or distrustful of his owner.

If not properly implemented, a collar correction may backfire and cause additional behavioral problems including dog aggression.

Only use collar corrections as a last resort for leash training. Only use collar corrections under the direction of an experienced professional trainer.

How to Stop Dog Pulling

Some dogs and some dog breeds will pull more than others. For example, I have two Siberian Huskies, and they both pull more than my Shiba Inu, because Huskies are bred to pull. However, by starting leash training early and being very consistent, even Huskies can be trained to walk at a measured pace by our side.

In the beginning, I leash train my dog in the backyard, where there are very few distractions. Once my dog is comfortable walking there without pulling, I move on to more quiet areas of the neighborhood. Another alternative is to walk during off-peak hours, where there are fewer people and dogs around.

By carefully choosing our leash training environments, we can set our dog up for success, and help build his confidence. Once he is comfortable walking in a given area, we can slowly increase the level of distraction.

Before we know it, we will be enjoying a wonderful neighborhood walk with our dog! :D

Related Articles

Comments

  1. Joao Diego says

    Dear friend,

    just would like to thank you… your website has been so helpful!!!! Our Shiba Inu is 4 months old and he is our first dog. I will keep posting his developments from time to time.

  2. Mahy says

    I have a five year old German shepherd, he is a really sweet dog but he has a problem walking on a leash. I have tried all the exercises I could think of, but he still pulls the leash when we are walking. He walks fine when we are indoors but once we are outside, he gets really excited and starts pulling and he’s really strong so it’s hard for me to control him. He also starts barking at any other dog he sees when we are walking and gets really angry and it’s really hard to control him. I need some serious advice. please help me and thanks heaps

    • shibashake says

      With my Shiba Inu I did dog-to-dog desensitization exercises to help him be more calm around other dogs and to raise his reactivity threshold. The key with my Shiba is to start small and only *very slowly* increase the environmental challenge.

      For example, in the beginning, I only walked him in very quiet and low stimulus areas in the neighborhood. We walk during off-hours and drive to more quiet areas if necessary. I also did shorter but more frequent walks in the beginning so that the walk is successful and neither of us gets overly frustrated. Then, I very slowly build up from there.

      To control larger dogs, some people use a head-halti. However, just like any piece of equipment, it has its pros and cons. It also has to be fitted and used according to instructions, or it may cause harm.

      Note however, that dog behavior is very context dependent so each dog and each situation is different. When in doubt, I consult with a good professional trainer.
      http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/finding-professional-help

  3. Prabahn Govender says

    I have a 3 year old german shepherd/labrador and he is very well behaved and trained, he does not leave my gate even if its wide open and no one is around and he never tries to go through gaps in my fence, i just got a siberian husky puppy and I’ve read that they love to run out if they get the chance, if my husky grows up alongside my other dog will he start to possess the “obedient” characteristics of my other dog

    • shibashake says

      Both my Huskies have high prey drive. They are good about recall when in an environment with few distractions, but if they see a cat, squirrel, or deer, their instinct will take over and they will be off and away before I can shout stop.

      More on Siberian Huskies.

  4. Heather says

    My dog Handsome, who is a English bull terrier, is almost six months old. He is very well behaved and responds well to treat training. He’s an inside dog and is completely house broken and crate trained. I walk him multiple times a day when he has to relieve himself and also once a day for an hour at the park. There’s never many people around or any distractions. For some reasons, unknown to me, he refuses to walk with my husband. Even with me there he will bull up and dig his feet into the ground in efforts not to move. We have tried to encourage him with treats and positive reinforcement . We’ve also tried punishing him for pulling back. What makes it worse is that it’s not constant. It’s just certain day when the mood strikes him. Im willing to try anything!! It breaks my heart that he acts this way.

    • shibashake says

      Who does most of the feeding, training, etc., while at home? How does Handsome act towards your husband while at home? Who does he stay close to while at home? How does he react to other people during walks? Does he react differently to men vs. women? Does your husband have a deep voice? Is your husband very tall? Has your dog always shown this behavior or did it only start recently? Did anything unusual happen during walks with your husband? Do you both use exactly the same type of training?

      We’ve also tried punishing him for pulling back.

      What type of punishment?

      My Husky, Shania, is sometimes afraid of certain men – especially larger men with deep booming voices or laughter. I did desensitization exercises with her, and that has helped. In our case, punishment will only make things worse, because it will only make Shania become more fearful.

      I also get my partner to participate in feeding her, grooming her, training her, playing with her, and more, so that they have the opportunity to form a bond and gain each others’ trust. I make sure to set up consistent rules for my dogs, and everyone in the family follows the same type of training and enforces the same rules.

      Dog behavior is very context dependent, so the first thing that I do while trying to change my dog’s behavior is try to understand what is causing it. Is it out of fear, over-excitement, or something else? If it is out of fear, what exactly are the fear triggers? Is it a size issue, sound issue (deep vs higher voice), inconsistency issue, trust issue, or something else. Details are usually important, so I look for all the little things (as well as big things) that are different when the undesirable behavior is triggered. I try to drill down as much as possible, and get as specific as possible.

      More on how I troubleshoot my dog’s undesirable behaviors.
      During my Shiba Inu’s difficult period, we also visited with several professional trainers. It helped to have them observe Sephy, evaluate him, and give us their thoughts on what was triggering his more difficult behaviors.

  5. Liane says

    Hi,
    I am hoping to gain some insight /support. I recently rescued a 2 yo female pit bull and she has no formal obiedience /structure training. She is described via her temperment tests as high friendliness and medium excitability. I have been using methodology similar to ceasar millan. We do well with low distraction areas. We have “claimed spaces” etc at the doorways and we go out and go in first. She does down/stays in the house and yard as well as going to her place when told and we utilize “place” when visitors arrived so she’s not in their faces until she’s relaxed and is “released” to visit. She also runs on the treadmill.
    Now for the problem… She does have probably a 5/10 leash reactivity mostly and always to dogs passing by. When I am on trails and off leash dogs have “bum rushed her” she is excited and never been aggressive. She will heel and follow with no distraction but when an oncoming dog is approaching no matter how “quick” I am with corrections it just doesn’t go well she will break the heel pull (not drag me or bark) toward the dog and I find myself “wrangling” her to forge ahead. It’s just very discouraging and frustrating. Thoughts?

    • shibashake says

      Wow! She sounds like a really wonderful girl.

      In terms of reactivity towards other dogs, desensitization exercises helped with my Shiba Inu (Sephy).

      I also manage his environment and set him up for success. To do this, I start small and slowly build up the environmental challenge. In the beginning I may do shorter but more frequent walks, in more quiet areas of my neighborhood (fewer distractions). We drive him to more quiet areas or adjust our walking time as necessary.

      In this way, I make sure that Sephy is able to stay calm, and learn from his experiences. If I expose him to too much too quickly, he will go rear-brained, lose control, and lose the ability to listen and learn.

  6. Juliet says

    Hi. My 4-year-old dog Rascal has been barking at cars and scaring the neighbors just by growling. I have just started to walk her on a leash, but she is always trying to get into trouble. What do you think I should do?

    • shibashake says

      How long have you had him? What is his daily routine like? What type of training is he used to? How much daily exercise does he get?

      My dogs do best when there is structure (a consistent set of rules) and a fixed routine. I make sure to properly teach them what the rules are, and reward them well for doing the right things. I also make sure to exercise them daily according to their energy level.

  7. Val says

    I have 3yr.old hound mix who has become aggressive lunging at a variety of trucks traveling through our neighborhood. Outside the neighborhood he does not pay any attention to the vehicle. He is normally a low key dog and walks well outside of this issue. Any suggestions would be appreciated

    • shibashake says

      Did anything unusual happen around the time his behavior developed? Did he have any bad experiences with trucks in the neighborhood? Does he also react to cars also or is it only trucks? Is he reacting to the sound or sight of the trucks? Does he react to other things in the neighborhood, e.g. other dogs, barking dogs, shouting kids, bicycles?

      Dog behavior is very context dependent, therefore the first step that I take towards changing my dog’s behavior is to try and understand where the behavior is coming from, and exactly what things trigger the behavior.

      More on how I change my dog’s behavior.

  8. Ledia says

    Hello..all the info provided is great & very helpful. I have an issue with my Husky. His name is Siro and he is about 10 months old. I have such a hard time putting a leash on him each time i take him for a walk. He gets very hyper…he constantly bits my hand and lays on the floor constantly moving. Help!!!

    Ledia

  9. Sarah says

    So I’m going to come out straight, I “inherited” a husky malamute low content wolf mix, when my step son left to live with friends, she was 4 months old she is now just over a year. A little about her personality, she’s excitable, runs like a flash, can lap our 2 acre property in about a min, she has a mate, a high content wolf, husky male, and they are inseparable!!! Because of the wolf in them they can’t be left unattended to roam free, so when we are not directly with them they are in kennels, but we bring them in the house when we are both home and let them run when were are both outside. They have responded to all training, except Sheeba, my girl won’t leash train, I have tried everything, including number 4 on your list! I’m now being directed towards pinch colars and frankly I don’t like this idea!!! I can’t let her off leash when not on property, she’s very excitable with other dogs and likes to hunt. Do you happen to have any other options?

    • shibashake says

      The head-halti is a possibility, but like anything else, it has its own strengths and weaknesses.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/dog-leash-training-equipment#halti

      Another thing that helps a lot with my dogs is to start small, in a very low stimulus area first (e.g. backyard). Once they are good with that, I very slowly increase the environmental challenge. I also do door manners and make sure they are calm before we leave for our walk.

      At the start, I do shorter but more frequent walks so that we have lots of successes and neither of us gets too frustrated. :D

  10. LeslieB says

    We have just adopted Henry. He’s a 9 year old basset hound/pekingese who was returned to the rescue organization after 8 years with the same family. We’ve had him only a few days and he’s finally starting to show his personality. It’s apparent he’s never been trained to sit, lie down or to walk appropriately on a leash. We’ve gone on several walks and he practically chokes himself as he pulls on the leash. He’s not a big dog and I’m not a weak person, but there have been times I almost feel like I’m leaning backwards to keep Henry from pulling me over. I will try some of the training techniques I’ve learned here, but I’m curious to what your thoughts are on training a senior dog. His inside manners are perfect, it’s just on a leash that he shows no prior training. Thanks!

    • shibashake says

      While training my dog, I always try to start small and go at a pace that my dog is comfortable with. I have a three legged Husky who is pretty energetic, so when I do training with her, I want to make sure that I do not put her in a position where she may inadvertently hurt herself.

      With my dog I first start leash training in the backyard, where there are few distractions and things are quiet. I find that smelly, quality treats are a good way to get my dog’s attention and keep her motivated. I imagine they would also work well with scent focused dogs such as Basset Hounds.

      Once we are walking really well in the backyard, I teach them door manners. We only go out when my dog is calm, and follows commands at the door.

      In the beginning, we only go to very quiet (low stimulus) areas of the neighborhood, and I go for shorter but more frequent walks. In this way, we can be successful, not get overly frustrated, and still have a lot of opportunities for practice.

      In general, my strategy is to start small, stay safe, and only slowly increase the environmental challenge when my dog is ready. I always try to stay calm, and make our outings successful, fun, and rewarding.

  11. Jackiee says

    Hello! My boyfriend just recently bought me a shiba inu puppy! I am absolutely in love with him. He’s currently 4 months and I’ve read all of your articles on how to train and take care of him. I do have a small problem walking him on leash. He walks beside me majority of the time however he would always go and smell everything he sees! I often wait but I want to keep the walk consistent so I tug on him a little. Sometimes towards the end of our walks I have to drag him back inside the house because he keeps smelling and picking up everything he sees! Is that normal? How would I go about fixing this? I don’t want to keep pulling on his harness everytime I want him to go. I try to calmly tell him,” okay! Shinobi time to go. Let’s go boy” but if something sparks his interest he just smells and investigates it. Any help would be great! Thank you!!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your Shiba puppy!

      In terms of moving, this rule helps with Sephy-

      An object in motion tends to remain in motion, and an object at rest tends to remain at rest.

      If I want to keep moving and don’t want to stop, then I pick up the pace, play the Find-It game, and make things interesting so that he will follow.

      More on what I do.

  12. says

    My 6 month old puppy does pretty well on the leash until we turn around and head fro home. He’s so excited that it’s a bee line to the house. I’ve tried the stop, 180, etc. but we get no where. It’s right back to pulling towards home. He’s also a very anxious dog and it’s hard to even get him to come out the front door to go for a walk. Any suggestions?

  13. Juno's Dad says

    Hey there, great blog. Question for you: I have a 13 week old Siberian named Juno (female). She is excellent and we have worked hard at training the last month. We have been working for 2 weeks on leash training and walks. We pretty much always have her on a leash in the house, and she does well in our inside leash training, coming with kibble enticement and she is very used to having a leash on. When we walk her it is another story. She will walk perfectly for 2-5 minutes and then she just sits. I can entice her to come to me with a hand target and kibble. She gets the kibble and a positive verbal reward and then sits again. She seems to be absorbing the outside world, she is looking around, smelling the air and seems quite happy. Sometimes after 20-30 seconds she will come as I am squatting in front of her with no leash tension and calling her in a calm voice. Sometimes she won’t budge. In the house she doesn’t do this. It is as if the outside distractions are too much. But we have been working on this for 3 weeks, up to 4-5 times per day and no improvement! I don’t get it. Do you have any advice? When she IS walking for the few minutes that it happens on a lead, she seems super happy. Sometimes she even lays down in the grass with a goofy/relaxed demeanour. Help!

    Thanks

    Juno’s Dad

  14. pankaj says

    I have a 2 1/2 year old labrador retriver he is trained by myself and follows basic instructions.When it comes to walking him out he forgets everything would pull literally drag me at times especially if he sees a family member coming or anither animal.I have tried couple of techniques but they did not work,including red green technique(my b coz i gave up too soon).also i tried walking him without leash couple of times,was shocked to see he ran away so fast.He would see me from far and run again and i finally caught him when he entered a under construction house.He even run away when gate is left open .now he is never off leash,is it fine or cruel to do so.also i love him so much why he runs away.plz suggest how should all this be solved.

  15. Nikola says

    Hello

    I have Siberian husky who is 2 years old. And we are practicing Red-Light, Green-Light Technics. We were doing that technique in quiet place for a while so we are going now on the streets. But when we are going out of yard he is quite excited so I wait until he calms down. But usually that takes quite long time and when he lays down and become little bit calmer I still see his tail is excited and he usually doing screechy voices what is quite annoying and making me only nervous. How long do I have to wait that he becomes submissive and what is best way to make him submissive. Also we have big problems when he sees other dogs. He becomes very excited and started to be very dominate.
    Hope you will give me some tips how to deal with those kind of problems.
    Thank you

    • shibashake says

      What helps with my dog, is to first practice walking outside in a more quiet environment. My old neighborhood was very busy with lots of cars, people, and other dogs. Therefore, in the beginning we would drive to a more quiet area to practice walking. This allowed us to do exercises outside, but not have too many distractions.

      When a dog gets to a new environment, everything is new and exciting. If there is too much happening outside, then it will be really difficult for him to calm down.

      It really helped for us to take things one small step at a time. In this way, both Sephy and I have more success, we build more confidence, and we build greater trust.

      My dog is also more calm when he has other outlets for his hyper energy. If I can drain some of his excited energy before the training session, then he is more calm during our walk. I also follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs.

      To help my dog stay calm in the presence of other dogs, I did dog-to-dog desensitization exercises.

  16. Jenny says

    Hi,
    I’ve been walking a 2 year old staffordshire terrier bitch, who has had very little training. I started walking her, as she had pulled her elderly owner over and broke her arm. She pulls like anything and I’ve been using the stop and wait for her to come to me tactic, which works most of the time but she does sometimes sniff around or only come part of the way back. She has got better at not pulling, but i’m not sure i’m using the right tactic which may be making me less consistent. I’ve tried the 180 and that worked initially but she has now started jumping up and trying to nip when we change direction. How do I tackle this? She quite strong and this nipping thing is quite intimidating… She also doesn’t seem to be interested in food or toys but is a very sniffy dog, can i use this to train her?

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, my Huskies also love to pull and they love to sniff. Therefore, when I stop, I shorten the leash and bring them in close to me. In this way, I briefly take away their sniff freedom. They quickly learn that-

      Pulling = We stop, don’t get to go anywhere, and don’t get to sniff,
      No-pulling = Get sniff freedom, and get to explore.

      When I walk, I adjust the length of the leash to suit my dog’s behavior. A shorter leash gives me more control and gives my dog less freedom. A longer leash gives me less control, and gives my dog more freedom.

      I usually start with a shorter lead. If my dog walks well, then I very slowly give him more freedom. If he starts pulling, then we stop. When I start walking again, I go back to the shorter lead and so on. In this way, I reward good walking behavior with more freedom, and discourage bad walking behavior with more control.

      As for leash biting, here are some of my leash biting experiences with my Shiba Inu.

  17. Sean says

    Hello! My second time looking to this site for help…My four month old husky/shepard mix has developed a very strange habit. I started taking him off leash in the woods behind my house to see how he would do, and to my surprise he stuck right with me..always came when I called. Would even repsond to things like”stop” or “leave it” which I thought was incredible for a dog of his age. Alas, all of the sudden he has started to ignore the direction Im walking In. Now, he doesnt bolt at anything or even run really..he just sort of trots in the opposite direction, or simply sits and stares at me..like he disagrees with the direction Im taking! haha. A few times I have caught him either running all the way back to my car , and sitting under it..( When were at our local park) or running all the way back to my house, from the woods behind us. Its very peculiar. I realize after reading I should definetly get him better on leash training before I can expect him to be obedient off, but are there any other tips/odd cases for/of this type of behavior? Hes very well behaved other wise..Sits, lays down, bite inhibition is very good. Sits , lays down, and stays at every meal time before feeding. Is pretty well house broken, and very loveable and friendly. HELPPPPP!

  18. Tricia says

    Hi! I have a Yorkshire Terrier who just turned 1. Every time I took him on walks he would start tugging on the leash until he was choking. He kept on making some of noise with his throat that sounds sort of like snorting… I was wondering if the sounds have to do with the type of collar I’m using? Or the way I walk him?

  19. Lucy says

    Hi i have a american staffy 1 yrs old and everytime i take him for a walk he trys to pull me every direction to smell everything also he keeps pulling on the leash everytime another dog big or small goes past him he only wants to play but i dont want him to how can i get him to stop

    • shibashake says

      I use the red-light/green-light technique and the 180 turn around technique with my dogs. I describe what I do in greater detail in the article above.

  20. animal lover120 says

    howdy, mah name is kaitlyin I have an husky her name is luna every time I take her for a walk she tries to pull me and when I stop she still tries to pull me how can I make her stop

    • shibashake says

      What type of leash are you using? How big is Luna?

      When my Husky pulls, I stop walking and also shorten the leash. In this way, she has to stay close to me and doesn’t get to explore while we are in a stop position. Consistency, repetition, and timing are all very important in leash training so I make sure to stop *every time* the leash is taut and I do not start again until my dog is calm and in a Sit position. I also start leash training in a more low stimulus environment (where there are fewer distractions). Initially, I have shorter but more frequent walks, so that I can keep my dogs attention, stay calm myself, and keep things consistent.

      I use a 6 foot leather leash so that I can easily and quickly change the length of the leash as needed. It also gives me much better control of my dog compared to a flexi-leash.

  21. Brandon Bassett says

    What kind of harness is it that you have on your shiba? I am looking to buy a harness for my baby :) if you could respond or email me it would be amazing. Thank you

    • shibashake says

      We tried many different harnesses with Sephy, mainly because he is so picky about wearing anything on his body. I believe the one in the pictures here is a step-in harness.

      We started with a no-pull (Easy Walk) harness, the one that has the ring on the front, but that was really a production to put on with Sephy. The step-in is much easier to put on, but even with that, Sephy did not want to have anything to do with it after a while.

      A bit more on harnesses –
      http://shibashake.com/dog/dog-leash-training-equipment#harness

  22. Nikola says

    Hello

    I have siberian husky who is now 2 years old. He is wonderful dog and every family member connected with him like he is a real person. He is showing all characteristics of siberian huskyes and we are really enjoying in that. But now we are starting to have a bit of problems. For the last year we were not going on leash walks because we were going on large grass spaces where he could run. He has really a lot of energy. But now we started leash walks and he is pulling really hard. And when he sees a dog he gets really excited and its hard to control him. Also when we are going on a free runs sometimes he doesn’t return on command. My question is, is it good to start with your leash training techniques that you described here? And can you suggest how can I distract him from other dogs when we are on the leash walks?

    Thank you

    • shibashake says

      1. Over-excitement

      I do dog-to-dog desensitization exercises to help my dog be more calm in the presence of other dogs. The article is about aggression, but desensitization can also help with over-excitement.

      2. Coming when called

      This article from the ASPCA has a good list of recall training techniques. However, Sibes usually have high prey drive. When they are chasing after prey, they are in instinct mode and will be deaf to commands or whatever else we may say. This is why most Huskies are kept on-leash, unless in a fully enclosed and safe area.

      Here is a passage from the Siberian Husky Club of America

      There is one final characteristic of the Siberian Husky which we must point out — their desire to RUN. There are many breeds of dogs which, when let out in the morning, will sit in the front yard all day. Not the Siberian Husky. His heritage has endowed him with the desire to run and his conformation has given him the ability to enjoy it effortlessly. But, one quick lope across a busy street could be the last run that he enjoys, ever. Because of this, we strongly urge that no Siberian Husky ever be allowed unrestrained freedom. Instead, for his own protection, he should be confined or under control at all times. Sufficient exercise for proper development and well-being may be obtained on a leash, in a large enclosure, or best of all, in harness.

      3. Leash training

      In my articles, I talk about my own experiences with my dogs. However, dog behavior is very context dependent – the temperament of the dog, his routine, his environment, etc., all have to be taken into account. What I usually do is I read up a lot on dog behavior and training techniques, pick the ones that I think are most suited to my dog and his environment, and then I may further tweak them to suit an individual dog.

      I make sure to always “listen” to my dog, and try to be responsive to his needs. I always try to set my dog up for success. For example, when leash training my Sibe puppy, I start inside the house. That way, she can get used to the feel of collar and leash, and walking next to me. In the house, we can both just focus on the walking exercises.

      Once she is walking well in the house, we try doing it in the backyard, then we walk in very quiet areas in the neighborhood, and so on. I always start small and only *very slowly* increase the environmental challenge.

      Here is a bit more on how dogs learn.

      Getting help from a professional trainer can also be helpful because he can visit with our dog, observe his temperament, routine, environment, and more.
      http://www.apdt.com/pet-owners/choosing-a-trainer/

  23. jennifer lamont says

    I need some advice about my dog, I can walk my dog quite well depending on how he leaves the house, he sees the lead and whines constantly obviously hes too excited in seeing the lead. I do leave it in livingroom so he can see it but once its on he gets very whiny. I have waited aroun an hour till he calmed down but still has a slight excitement in him. I use a Halti head collar which redirects his head and works a treat but when I take him with a pack (my friends dogs) he gets worse, has to try get to the front, and the whining starts again. I know the issue is how hes leaving the house, but I do have days when hes in the same condition as before and he will be great on a walk with the halti collar on him. Its mainly the pack walk he cant cope with. I need advice on why hes likes this with a pack walk, and how to calm the situation. Thanks

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, my Sibes are also a lot more excited and excitable when they go out together or with my Shiba Inu. I think they are more confident when out in a group, and they each want to get to the next interesting bush first. Group outings are also more unusual, so it is more exciting and there are more things to do when friends are around.

      I make sure to leash train them separately first. I only attempt group walking *after* they have mastered regular non-group walking.

      As with everything else, I always start small and set my dogs up for success. For example, I start training in a very low stimulus area. At first, I do group-walk training with one Sibe and my Shiba Inu. This is because my Shiba is very calm when out on walks, and he does not need to be the lead dog. My Sibes are a lot more excitable, so it is much better to pair each of them with just one calm walker. I start small, go in small incremental steps, and set them up for success.

      Once my dog improves, I can very slowly increase the environmental and ‘other dog’ challenge.

      Dog-to-dog desensitization exercises can also be used to help a dog stay calm when in the presence of other dogs.

  24. Lena says

    Hi we recently got a 3.5year old sibe who loves pulling as she was not walked much when she was younger and she weighs a tonne. What do you recommend in training her to walk properly (on paths and not smelling every blade of grass haha) . She doesn’t pull as much in the backyard but I am unsure of what to do next. Thanks and tell your sibes and shiba inu hi for me :)

    • shibashake says

      With my Sibes I mostly use the red-light-green-light technique and the 180 turn around.

      In the beginning, I start walking in a more quiet area, where there are fewer distractions. Once they get better with walking, I very slowly increase the environmental challenge.

      I also start with shorter but more frequent walks. In this way, I can stay calm and patient throughout, and they still get a lot of practice.

      For very strong pullers – some people use a head halti. But there are pros and cons to that.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/dog-leash-training-equipment#halti

      Hugs to your Husky!

  25. Misty says

    Hello,

    I am having a couple different problems with my German Shepperd/ Husky mix, Tho I have not had him sense he was a puppy my boyfriend and his ex have. his ex left him locked up all the time weather she was home or not, and My boyfriend works alot. So when I came in to to the picture his dog is now 4 years old and knew some of the basic commands. But now I am trying to work with him and he just seems to be stubborn and doesnt listen to him or I very well. I am 6months pregnant and would love to be able to walk with him with out him literally dragging me. He walks pretty well in the back yard/woods with me with out his leash, His problem i noticed is he wants to explore and sniff EVERYTHING. haha
    2. Is he hates being on his chain and barks and barks until you let him back in the house or just run, but when I do let him off I usually say to the house or the garage and he goes straight to the house or the garage, but to just let him out side for not even five min’s hes over in the neighbors yard eating the bread they throw for the birds or hes down the snowmobile trail and i have to call him 4-5 times for him to come back and we he does he has this thing were he looks at me from behind a tree or the side of their house like i dont see him. He wont stay in the yard and it sorta flusters me because when im out side with him hes pretty much by my side but i cant be outside with him all the time, and i dont want one day for him to get hurt or hit by a car.
    and the 3. and final question is being that im 6 months pregnant my pupper doo AKA Thor seems to i dont know if it jealousy or protectiveness but he does not like not only my boyfriend but none of our friends to come near me and give me hugs or anything. Hes got to have the attention and push in between us. He is also a beggar. But i have pretty much gotten him to kennel up when he hears dishes. But he stairs at you and creeps outta of his kennel and will sit right behind you and stair at you till you give him something or yell at him and hes still very stubborn about it he’ll do it 3 or four times. If you have any advise for me to be able to help him and work with him it would be great. thank you so much.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Misty,

      Thor sounds like a wonderful boy, especially given his history.

      1. Leash training
      I leash train my Huskies using the red-light/green-light technique and the 180 turn around technique which I talk more about in the article above. If my dog pulls, I stop moving and shorten the lead. As soon as he stops pulling, I start moving again. In this way he learns that –

      Pull = We stop,
      Don’t pull – Get to go where he wants.

      Dogs, especially Huskies love to explore and sniff, so we can use that to motivate them to do the right thing.

      2. Chaining
      Huskies are high energy and they also have high prey drive. They will want to explore and chase after small animals, e.g. squirrels, birds, and more.

      Two things help with my Huskies-
      a) A good amount of structured exercise. We play structured games in our backyard, they work for their food through interactive food toys, and we go on long daily walks.
      b) A secure fence line. The best way to keep my Huskies from escaping is to make sure that my fence line is secure. To save on cost, we can enclose up a smaller exercise area. In my old house, I did not really have a backyard, so my dog would spend his time inside the house, and we would go on more frequent walks.

      As you have observed, chaining or tethering can cause frustration in a dog and this may result in other undesirable behaviors, such as non-stop barking, pulling, as well as guarding. Here is a USA Today article on how chaining can encourage bad behaviors.

      3. Begging
      Dogs repeat behaviors that get them good results and stop behaviors that get them undesirable results. If I do not want my dog to “beg” then I make the behavior be unrewarding (i.e. they don’t get anything while begging). Instead, I tell them what to do instead, e.g. Down. Then I make sure to reward the desired behavior very well with food and affection. Consistency is very important in dog training, so I make sure never to reward behaviors that I *don’t* like, and to reward behaviors that I *do* like very well.

      What has worked well for my Huskies is to set up a consistent routine and consistent set of house rules. Then I teach them the rules and motivate them to follow rules by following the Nothing in Life is Free program.

      Here is a bit more on how dogs learn.
      This ASPCA article on introducing a dog to a new baby may also be interesting.

      Good luck and big hugs to Thor!

    • shibashake says

      My Shiba Sephy does not generally like water or being wet either, but when it is related to doing something fun, he actually does not mind the stuff. With Sephy, he will be motivated to go into the water if there is something there that he really wants, or if water is involved in a fun chasing game. I don’t force him into the water – he comes on his own to join in on the fun.

      With my Husky puppy Lara, I started small, by first introducing her to a little kiddie pool and made the experience fun and rewarding. Then I slowly build up from there based on what motivates her most.

      What does your puppy like most? What games does she like to play? What was her first water experience?

      won’t let my other dogs eat

      Can you elaborate? Does she show aggression? Does she try to guard the food? Do all the dogs eat together? How old is she? When did this behavior start?

  26. Melissa says

    Hi, please can someone help

    I have 2 huskies, my eldest girl is just over 1 and my youngest is a 9 month old boy, I am having massive issues with their behaviour, to the stage the rest of my family want us to give up the dogs, I am determind that I can train them and that they can be well behaved.

    One of my biggest issues is that they pull so much on the lead I end up in pain by the end of a short walk.

    I took the dogs for a 10 mile walk the other day hoping that it would quite them down but all they did was pull, I ended up with serve back pain for days and they weren’t even worn out. I am starting to loose the faith, please help me

    • shibashake says

      Hello Melissa,

      At the beginning of leash training, I walked my Sibes separately. They are a lot more hyper when they are together, and also a lot more reactive. When I walk them separately, they are each *relatively* more calm, and I can start the leash training process.

      For leash training, I use the red-light and green-light technique as well as the 180-turn-around technique. Consistency and repetition are very important. In the beginning, I would also do shorter, but more frequent walks. This allows everyone to recharge between walks but still have a lot of learning opportunities.

      I start by training them separately in the backyard. The backyard is a quiet and low stimulus area, so it is a good place to start. Once they are good with walking in the backyard, I move on to very quiet areas in the neighborhood, and so on.

      When they are good walking by themselves, I start by getting a friend to walk one while I walk the other. In this way, we start to practice walking together, but we still have good control over each dog.

      Huskies are bred to pull so they are more of a challenge to leash train. But with consistency and repetition, they will improve. Certain leash training equipment can also be used to provide more control, but after trying out many different things, I ended up just using a no-slip collar and leash.

      Other things that help with my Huskies –
      1. Making them work for all of their food.
      2. Following the Nothing in Life is Free program.
      3. Redirecting their energy into a variety of structured activities.
      4. At home, I set up a fixed set of rules and a consistent routine.

      How I trained my Husky puppy.

  27. Bonnie says

    Love and appreciate your site so much! I have a Shiba mix (well, we’re pretty sure) and we are working on the pulling, among other things, and she is very high energy. We love to hike, which definitely helps with energy thing, but I was wondering if you had a recommendation for a hiking harness. The first time we took her, and granted this was before we really started working on the pulling, we thought she would wear herself out but she never did! After many hours of rugged hiking she was still pulling! She ended up chaffing really bad wearing a basic harness that attaches the leash at the top. We now realize we have to master the walk first but thought we would ask about special harnesses and see what you thought…

    • shibashake says

      Hello Bonnie,

      Two types of harnesses come to mind-
      1. One is the Premier No-pull harness that has the leash attachment up in front. I tried this for a while with Sephy. It was a little bit better than a regular harness for pulling, but also harder for us to put on. Sephy is not a big fan of harnesses. :D

      2. The Ruffwear Webmaster harness. I used this for a while with my Sibe Shania. The nice thing about this harness is that it is a lot more heavy duty and fits very securely on a dog. The one that I got also had protective coverings on the straps to try and prevent chafing. However, the protective coverings do not always stay in place when a dog moves around, so I am not sure of their actual level of effectiveness. I didn’t have any chafing issues with Shania, but we didn’t do overly long walks during that time.

      This harness has a lot more material, and provides better support, but as a result, Shania also got hot while wearing it during warmer weather.

      A bit more on my experiences with harnesses –
      http://shibashake.com/dog/dog-leash-training-equipment#harness

  28. Alice says

    Hi,
    I have a 10 month old Siberian Husky and he doesn’t have any leash training. We use to go to the park when he was 2-3 months and he learned how to be on a leash, but we stopped going to the park, and he forgot how to be on a leash. When I tried to put the leash on him, the first thing he did was run away. He was scared. When I try to put his collar on he runs away. Can you give me any advice?
    Thank you!

  29. Allyson says

    Hi,
    I just found your site and I love your articles. I have a two month old beautiful black Shiba and I actually have the opposite problem that most people have. Rather than pulling, she just sits down all the time. Not when she’s tired, just when she feels like it. It can be right as we step out of the house or even while we are still on the porch. She is very stubborn but also a generally calm and submissive pup. I don’t know how to get it through her head that now is walking time, not sitting in the grass time.

    Ever had that problem with one of your’s?

    • shibashake says

      Haha, yeah actually both Sephy and Shania like sitting/lying-down during walks. They like to look at people, and smell the wind. I bring my iPhone with me and read books when they do this. :D

      When I need to go, then I move them along. Shania is very good about this. Sephy is a lot more stubborn and will sometimes refuse to move by doing alligator rolls or some other Shiba-move.

      Some things that help with getting Sephy to move along-
      1. Getting him moving from a sitting position is much easier. Then he can’t do alligator rolls or just refuse to budge. If he is in a stubborn mood, then I just prevent him from lying down.
      2. If Sephy is lying down then I lift him by his chest into a sitting position and move him along. When I need to go, I just go – at a jog.
      3. Sometimes, I scrape my shoe on the sidewalk. Sephy doesn’t like the sound of this and usually gets up.
      4. The Find-It game can also make walks more interesting and get him to move along.

      Let us know how it goes. Hugs to Shiba puppy!

  30. Melissa says

    Hi,
    I have a 2 year old bischon/bassett mix and he is terrible when it comes to walking. My father-in-law will walk him and our 7 year old pitt in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon if me and my husband can’t. Sadly we live in an apartment with no yard due to us living on the 2nd floor. My father-in-law lets the dogs do as they please when he walks them and I can’t seem to break him of that! The pitt walks very well with not having any training (stays next to you, knows when to walk and when not to, so on and so forth). How can I get my young pup to walk correctly with my situation? Looking forward to some responses =)

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, my Sibes especially need a lot of consistency in their walking. If I let them pull sometimes, then they will keep trying to pull even more. From their point of view, if they try and try, they will ultimately get rewarded with a “special pull time”.

      However, if pulling always results in a stop or worse, turning back, then the behavior becomes unrewarding, and they will be discouraged from performing it.

      I try to be very consistent with them, and I get everybody else to follow the same walk rules as well.

  31. Laura says

    Hi there! I have a 6 year old american pitbull i just rescued from the shelter. He’s a sweetie but when i try correcting him when pulling (60lbs of muscle isn’t fun and he’ll just tug forever at the end of a standstill leash-) he gets extreamly scared and shy and although he stops pulling he then just mopes and doesn’t want to go for walks. All i do is give him a firm “NO” and immediately his tail goes between his legs, he sits, and his head goes low. I don’t know his history but he’s not food motivated(takes yoguhrt just to get himto to eat) any help at all would be appreciated for my big softie.

    • shibashake says

      Hmmm, it is possible that he associates the word “No” with previous bad events. One possibility is to try using a different and softer no-mark.

      With my Husky Shania, I sometimes use the “Shhhh” sound to get her to calm down. If she is pulling too strongly, I hold her chest so that she doesn’t hurt herself, and this also indicates that I want her to stop pulling. As soon as she stops pulling, I mark the behavior (Good) and reward her well for it. This shows her that not-pulling gets her many rewards, but when she pulls, I stop walking and we just stand still.

      How is he with commands? Sometimes, asking for a simple alternative command can help, e.g. Sit. This gets the dog to do something else instead of pull and gives us another opportunity to reward our dog and help build his confidence. Positive obedience training is also a good way to bond with our dog and gain his trust.

      Another possibility is use a consistent hand gesture to mark or no-mark a behavior. Dog’s are great at reading body language, so they can quickly learn to recognize visual cues.

  32. Kellie says

    Hi I have just got an 8week old so Siberian husky what age should I lesh train her from she is doing well with potty training. I have an 7month old baby and misty is really protective of her is this normal husky behaviour thankyou

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your baby and new Sibe puppy! How exciting!

      In terms of leash training, I start by first getting my puppy comfortable with the collar and leash. I start this very early on, almost as soon as I bring puppy home.

      Once my puppy is comfortable wearing a collar and leash, I start leash training her in my backyard. It is quiet in the backyard and there are no distractions, so it is a good place to start. I *do not* walk puppy outside until after she has received all of her vaccination shots.

      When we start going for outside walks, I first go to a quiet, low distraction place in the neighborhood. Once we start to make progress, I slowly increase the environmental challenge. By starting small and going slowly, puppy has positive walking experiences, enjoys her time outside, and gains confidence.

      misty is really protective of her is this normal husky behaviour

      What does Misty do? Both my Sibes are not very protective of their people. They like greeting everyone, like getting attention and tummy rubs, and love getting cookies. My Shiba Inu has a stronger guard instinct, but I teach him that I will protect him and take care of things, so that all he has to do is alert me when he feels threatened.

      Hugs to baby and puppy!

    • Kellie says

      Hi thankyou for you advice on leash training misty howls when are baby crys and wants to sleep near her she likes sleeping under her baby bouncy chair I also have a 4 year old child and misty dos not do that with her but dos like playing chase and fetch with her she is neaver aggressive towards the baby or use she loves giving kisses n having a tummy rub x x

    • shibashake says

      Hahaha! This video is awesome!

      Do you have a video with him on a walk with the harmonica? It is really interesting that the tones serve as a reward! How long have you been doing this? Does he respond better if you keep changing the tones or if you keep to the same tones?

      Very interesting!

  33. Allen says

    Hi,

    I have the opposite of problem of most people. My shiba doesn’t pull all that bad, but when I redirect him or head in a direction that he is not interested in he just lies down. He is very stubborn and I usually have to pick him up and carry him for a little while before he will start walking on his own again. Any suggestions? Also, treats do not seem to be enough to motivate him to get up he just lies there until I carry him.

    Thanks in advance

    • shibashake says

      Hello Allen,

      Yeah Sephy used to do the same thing. Usually I just lift up his chest area so that he is on his front legs, then I just move along at a fast clip. No stops for a while after this.

      If he keeps doing that, I stop him from lying down. In the beginning, I used a harness during leash training so he doesn’t choke himself while pulling forward or backward.

      Sometimes, I would scrape my shoe on the concrete. Sephy does not like the noise and usually gets up. Other sound aversion techniques, e.g. shaking a can of pennies may also work. The problem with this, as is the case with most aversive techniques, is that the dog can quickly get habituated to it, which would then reduce its effectiveness. Therefore I only do this very occasionally.

      When Sephy walks well, then I reward him by giving him more freedom (longer lead), letting him stop more, as well as sit and watch people.

  34. Josephine says

    Hi I had gotten my Siberian Husky Puppy a little over a month ago he’s 4 months old. I’m still trying to train him to not pull on the leash while taking him out for a walk he’s getting better little by little. But my main problem at this moment is that he likes to nip a lot. He also likes to try and put his mouth over our hands and bite down (not bite to hurt though) .. Is this due to him teething he already lost 3 teeth. Can you please help me out here? Your website is very helpful THANK YOU!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Josephine,

      Congratulations on your new Sibe puppy!

      In terms of biting, it is normal puppy behavior. Puppies are infinitely curious, like to play, and as you say, can also be teething. This all leads to greater mouthiness. Some things that helped with my dogs-
      1. Bite inhibition training.
      2. Redirecting my dog onto something acceptable to bite on. This teaches a puppy what is ok to bite on, and what is not-ok. I always reward with affection and a game when they redirect onto the toy.
      3. Giving my dog an alternative command.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-biting-how-to-stop-puppy-biting#timeout

      Big hugs to your Sibe puppy.

  35. Gabe says

    Hello,

    First off, thanks for maintaining this blog. I’m a new Husky owner and am finding it very helpful.

    I’ve been trying to use techniques 1 and 2 above. How long should training sessions be? And, on average how many days do Husky’s normally take to learn not to pull?

    My dog is approximately a year and half old. Also, if someone else is walking the dog outside of my training and letting the dog pull, how much does that work against my training efforts?

    Thanks again!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Gabe,

      Congratulations on your new Husky.

      In terms of leash training, it depends on the dog, frequency of training, consistency, and execution of the technique. In the beginning I only walked Lara for about 15-30 minutes, but we did that several times per day. That worked best for us because any more, and we would both start getting frustrated and grumpy. :D But this would depend on both you and your Husky.

      When Lara got better with walking, we didn’t have to stop as often, so I slowly increased the length of our walks.

      Also, if someone else is walking the dog outside of my training and letting the dog pull, how much does that work against my training efforts?

      It is best if everyone follows the same rules and same training techniques. When we are inconsistent, the dog may get confused as to what is the desired behavior. For example, if he gets to pull sometimes but not at other times, he will likely keep trying to pull because in his mind, the next time may be when he gets to pull successfully.

      That is why consistency is so important in dog training. With consistency, we communicate more clearly to our dog so that he does not become stressed and confused. Here is a bit more on what I do while obedience training my dogs.

    • Gabe says

      Thanks for the reply!

      I think we are making some progress especially when I compare the first walk to our recent walks. The dog still pulls but not as much.

      I work with him almost every night for at least 30 minutes. I don’t know if my technique is correct, but I’m trying. I have been using a choke chain, but purchased a Halti harness because the lady at the pet store said it was the way to go. My dog hates it. I’ve used it only once for about 25 minutes so I really can’t tell if it is effective. What is your opinion of that type of harness for leash training purposes?

      Thanks again!

    • shibashake says

      Glad to hear that he is making progress. Huskies do like to pull since they have been bred to do so, but they are also very clever and will learn what behaviors will get them the best results. :D

      In terms of collars, I use the Premier martingale collar with a 6 foot leash while training my dogs to walk. I use the martingale collar for its no-slip properties and not for collar corrections.

      Choke chains and prong collars are primarily used to apply stronger leash corrections. When I stopped using leash corrections, I switched to using a flat collar, and then later a martingale collar.

      My Sibe also dislikes wearing the head halti. She would often stop walking and just plop down in protest. I only used the halti really early on during high-excitement park visits (only use the halti with a regular leash and *not* a flexi leash, which can cause damage to the dog). At the same time though, I continued with lower-excitement leash training exercises around the neighborhood, with my martingale collar. Once my Sibe improved on the leash, I stopped using the halti.

      Here is more on leash training equipment, including my experiences with the head halti.

  36. says

    My husband and I recently adopted a lovely stray from Tennessee from a rescue organization — we think she’s some sort of hound dog, and about 15 months old. We’ve had her for approximately two months. As she’s gotten more comfortable with us, she’s also gotten more “sniffy.” Our twice-daily walks have become something of a chore, since it sometimes seems like she wants to sniff something every three feet — a tree, the corner of a building, an apparently featureless patch of sidewalk. She’ll also sometimes stop walking entirely, which I assume means she’s afraid of something (though there’s usually nothing obvious we can see, like a dog or a person). When she walks on a leash, she walks beautifully — at our knee with a loose leash. She only occasionally pulls, mostly when she’s eager to meet a new dog. So that’s not the problem — what can we do to get her to speed up? Does she need more stimulation at home? She has plenty of toys and bones, and I usually give her food in a Twist-and-Treat or a stuffed Kong each day. We also usually play tug-of-war or fetch with her in the evenings. Is she just being a dog?

    • shibashake says

      Sounds like she is a scent hound, which means that it is in her DNA to follow her nose.

      One thing that may help is to do scent training with her. She would probably really enjoy that, it would give her an outlet for her tracking skills, and it would also put some structure around the activity. This Wikipedia page has some good scent training tips –
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_and_rescue_dog

      It is probably also possible to use scent to help her speed up during walks – maybe with Find-It or Fetch games integrated into the walk especially with a scent enhanced toy. Note though that scent hounds *will* follow their nose often to the exclusion of everything else – so it is usually best to keep them on-leash when there are roads or other possible dangers in the vicinity.

  37. Jessica says

    I have a gentle, submissive, wonderful Australian Shepherd. My neighbor has a female shiba inu. We have a shared drive way with my house against the driveway. My neighbor walks her dog down the driveway past my house on a daily basis. My dog is often laying just outside my front door or in the yard. Three times over the last 2 weeks or so, her dog has attacked my Aussie. The shiba was on a retractable leash and lunged, actually biting my wonderful dog (no true injury these times, yet). Now my dog is terrified of hers and runs to our door crying to be let in whenever she sees it. She can’t enjoy her own yard anymore. My husband asked her to use her front door and sidwalk rather than the driveway since this route would avoid our front door and prevent our dog from being injured. She says she will not change her habit of using the driveway.

    • Jessica says

      I feel that her dog is too aggressive to be allowed such leeway – it is poorly trained in general. Any thoughts or suggestions of how to deal with this frustrating issue. I want my dog to be able to play outside without fear or injury.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jessica,

      This is a difficult issue to deal with because it is more of a human issue rather than a dog issue.

      One possibility is to talk to your neighbor and see if she is willing to do desensitization exercises using rewards and distance with your dog. This way will be more challenging because it requires a fair amount of time and patience in dealing with both people and dogs. However, it will ultimately help both dogs coexist together more peacefully.

      Another possibility is to try and convince your neighbor to use a regular 6 foot leash. Flexi-leashes really should only be used for dogs that are very well trained. However, understandably so, people will be very sensitive about the upbringing and temperament of their dog. This option will also require a lot of communication skills, time, and effort.

      Another possibility is to report the bite incidents to Animal Care and Control. However, this will only escalate the matter. In my experience, getting into it with the neighbor becomes very unpleasant, very quickly. In the end, everyone walks away unhappy, and the situation ends up being worse than it was before.

      http://shibashake.com/dog/off-leash-neighborhood-dogs

  38. Jess says

    Hi!

    First of all I want to say thank you for creating this extremely valuable resource! As new parents to a Shiba Inu we are constantly coming to read your articles and have really benefited from all of your helpful tips and tricks–Shibas can be a real handful but they are worth it!

    I have a question about the type of collar we are using on our Kuma. He is a 9 month old Shiba and at first he was an absolute angel on the walk. We had tried a harness but all that happens is that he pulls so hard he stands up. Next we moved to a regular collar that we could put up higher on the neck. This worked well but continued to slip down his neck. Finally we have graduated to a slip choke chain. However, I really don’t feel this is doing him any good— Kuma still pulls like crazy and the chain is very difficult to keep high on the neck. We are considering getting an Illusion collar because he seems to respond well when the collar manages to sit high on the neck.

    We are at the end of our leash (pardon the bad pun!) and I would love to have your imput or suggestions. You always seem to take the dog’s best interest at heart :)

    Thanks so much for your advice!
    – Jess and Kuma

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jess,
      I went through a similar process with Shiba Sephy when he was young. I started with a harness, then I moved on to using collar corrections on a flat collar. Very quickly Sephy got habituated to the corrections and it would no longer have much of an effect, so I moved on to a martingale, and then to a prong collar. However, every time I increased the force of corrections, Sephy would just get used to it in a short time (maybe a few weeks) and it would no longer have an effect on him.

      My trainer at the time suggested using the choke chain.

      The problem with doing collar corrections on Shiba Sephy is that he is very stubborn and he is not afraid to fight back. The collar corrections were starting to frustrate him and he was starting to do really bad leash biting. Also, Sephy is very stubborn and he is willing to take the pain and do what he wants to do. The more physical I got, the more Sephy would dig in and fight back.

      After some soul-searching, I switched to using non-aversive techniques on Sephy. It was difficult at first, but Sephy responded much better to non-aversive methods. Previously, Sephy was very sensitive to handling, and would frequently use his teeth on me. Nowadays, he almost never pulls, no longer does leash biting, usually allows me to brush his teeth, and tries to lick instead of bite. Sometimes I can see him controlling himself. :D

      Currently, I use the Premier no-slip martingale collar together with a 6 foot leather leash when we go on walks. If Sephy does pull because of a squirrel alert, I would use a combination of the red-light/green-light technique and the 180 turn around technique. Those work very well with Sephy.

      Here is Shiba Sephy’s story in technicolor detail.

      Hope this helps. Big hugs to Kuma!

    • Jess says

      Thanks for the advice! I’m googling away to find out more about the martingale collar. We’ll win over Kuma’s stubborn attitude yet! He does the exact same thing Sephy used to do… he will pull regardless of pain just because he WANTS to. :) I never thought I would meet a dog as stubborn (if not MORE!) than I am!

    • shibashake says

      Hi Jess,
      I just wanted to clarify that I use the Premier martingale because of its no-slip properties. In the past, I used various flat snap-on collars and Sephy would sometimes manage to squirm his head out of those. I like the Premier collar because it prevents such Shiba escapes. :D

      I don’t do collar corrections with the martingale. Instead, I set its minimum size to exactly the same size as a regular flat collar.

      Good luck with Kuma! It will get better once Kuma realizes that the quickest way to get to where he wants to go is by not pulling.

  39. Cynthia says

    Hello! Thank you so much for this website, i have found it useful and very informative! I have recently adopted a 5 month old shiba girl, Sasha, she is a joy and a very smart dog but true to her nature, stubborn, independent and sneaky.
    One problem I have had while walking her is that she will find something that interests her, (ususally a bug, acorn etc) and lay down and want to work on it. I have been working on a “leave it” command but sometimes she gets to intrigued that she ignores. I dont like having to drag or pull her, and i feel this riles her up, she has been nipping at her leash lately which is new for her to do. And i feel she is defeating me if i just pick her up and move her to another spot. (holding her instatly calms her, she doesnt struggle or wiggle, she is calm and focused until i put her back down).
    thanks so much for any help!

    • shibashake says

      One problem I have had while walking her is that she will find something that interests her, (ususally a bug, acorn etc) and lay down and want to work on it.

      Sephy is like that as well! He is actually still this way. In fact, sometimes he will just lie down during a walk because he wants to look at people or passing cars. Then he won’t want to get up. He is very practiced at not moving. :D

      I think that your instincts of not picking Sasha up is a good one. I used to pick Sephy up a lot when he was a puppy to move him away from things, or to try to get him to stop misbehaving. Nowadays, he does not like being picked up because I think he associates being picked up with losing his freedom and losing his resources. I think you are very right to make holding your Shiba be a positive and happy experience. That way, Sasha will enjoy being picked up.

      Some things I have tried with getting Sephy to move along –
      1. Sound aversion – I scrape my shoes on the sidewalk which creates a scratchy sound that Sephy really does not like. This usually startles him and makes him get up.
      2. No lying down – Nowadays I don’t let him lie down unless I am prepared to stay in that position for a while. He can sit, but he only gets to lie down on rare occasions. I just use the leash to prevent him from lying down. I shorten the leash and hold it there so there is not enough slack for him to lie down. With Sephy, an ounce of prevention is really worth much more than a pound of cure. :D

      she has been nipping at her leash lately which is new for her to do.

      Yeah this was the most challenging issue I faced with Sephy. He would get frustrated whenever I stopped him from doing something during walks and start redirecting his frustration onto the leash. Later on, he would even redirect his frustration on me.

      I tried many many strategies before finally finding something that worked for Sephy. I held the leash close to his collar (so that I had better control) and walked him quickly home. This ends the walk, which is a real negative for Sephy because he really enjoys his walks. In addition, it redirects his energy into walking quickly so he is not focused on biting the leash.

      Once I found a strategy that worked, Sephy totally stopped doing it. That’s the thing with a Shiba – if they find a strategy that works they will keep using it until it stops working. Then they will come up with something else. :D

      Here is an article on my leash biting experience with Sephy –
      http://shibashake.com/dog/train-your-dog-to-stop-biting-on-the-leash

      Big hugs to Sasha!

  40. Sabrina says

    Hello,
    I am currently in a very drastic situation because I have two 7 month old Siberian Huskies which just keeps pulling and pulling on the leash. My family and I always take them out together for walks however, it can never last long because both of them just loves to walk first (as in like being in the lead).
    I have tried walking them individually, and the pulling problem has decreased however they are constantly still pulling with all their might. I want to ask if it is their true nature for Siberian Huskies wanting to be the pack leader and guide the rest first or is it just simply because they need leash training methods?
    Can you please give me some advice because it makes me go crazy. Thank You

    • shibashake says

      I think Sibes have a higher tendency to pull because it is bred into them to pull carts, people, and goods. It is not a dominance thing though – because when Huskies are pulling a cart, it is the driver that is directing his pack of dogs even though the pack is in front and pulling.

      Even though it may be a bit more challenging, Sibes can be trained to walk properly on a leash.

      My Sibe still pulls sometimes (especially when she spots prey) but she is much better now than she was before. The technique that seems to work best for her is the start-stop technique combined with the 180 degree turn around. At the beginning, it got a bit frustrating because I would walk one step and have to turn around. Then, walk another step and turn around :) But after being consistent and patient, it worked well for us.

      Sometimes, I will just get her to come back to me and wait patiently for a while before moving on.

      This way, the dog learns that

      Pulling = does not get to go in the desired direction but
      Not-pulling = gets to go where he wants to go, albeit at a slower pace.

      When I do the turn around, I do not pull directly back but try to navigate her to the side and then back – in an arc. Pulling directly back will make dogs want to naturally oppose the force and as a result make them pull even harder.

      I first leash train my dogs one at a time. I only start to walk them together after they are good with one-on-one walks.

  41. Dan says

    Hi I don’t know if youve ever had this problem but my shiba inu’s leashes keep coming off. I think its because he shakes all the time, but i’ve tried plenty of leashes. He’ll be shaking and i notice his leash on the floor and he just goes running. Its happened 4 times already and thank god ive always been able to catch him w/o anything bad happening. any advice?

    • shibashake says

      My Shiba has only shaken off his drag lead a couple of times when he is in the house. I have had some collar escapes though while walking him outside.

      Earlier on I tried a variety of nylon and cotton leashes, but I finally settled on a leather leash which I really like. I have two leather leashes now – one for each of my dogs. I like them because their clasp is more secure, and they are easy on the hands.

      I also really like the Premier no-slip collar – which is great at preventing my Shiba from pulling and escaping out of his collar.

  42. Keth says

    Can I vote “Choose to Heel” on the leash training poll? I’ve successfully taught many clients and their dogs the heel by teaching the dog it’s infinitely more rewarding to be in the heel position than to be anywhere else. No corrections, just super-duper rewards for being in the heel position (for mouthy dogs, I use a spoon with some kind of soft food on it, or a carrot stick to avoid raw hands!).

    • shibashake says

      Hello Keth,
      Reward training is a great way to motivate dogs to stay close during walks.
      The spoon is also a great idea to avoid raw hands and teach bite inhibition.
      Two paws up and a carrot stick! :)

  43. Laurie Poulopoulos says

    I could not agree more with the chokers. The chokers really have been ineffective for me with my experience with training and walking dogs. I also always use a harness with my mini schnauzers because they tend to think they are indestructible!
    As stated above, a combination of focus training, command training along with long walks on a leash are by far the best solution.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Laurie, Thanks for dropping by. It is good to hear from someone with so much experience in walking dogs.

      “I also always use a harness with my mini schnauzers because they tend to think they are indestructible!”

      lol – that is very good advice. A harness is especially appropriate for smaller dogs that pull a lot. I must add this into my article. Thanks!

    • Laurie says

      Yes, I do walk a bunch of dogs.. ;)
      I use them for my crew, and I also keep a few sizes handy just in case I meet up with dogs that pull. It does amaze me how some owners end up choking the dogs and causing stress during what should be a relaxing event!

  44. Eternal Evolution says

    another good article, i need to work with both of my dogs on the leash. They are good dogs and well behaved but i just never use a leash much. own 83 acres so i have a lot of room for my dogs to run and exercise on my property, but that’s no excuse not to have them properly leash trained.

    • shibashake says

      83 acres?! I am green with envy, and so are my dogs :) That’s like being in an off-leash park every day. I would just train their recalls and do off-leash walking with them for fun and bonding.

      What a nice setup. Did I say I was green with envy? :)

    • Eternal Evolution says

      Yeah the dogs love to run through the fields and back in the woods. They are inside dogs but they get plenty of time to run and play outside. The main reason i need/want to leash train them better is because from time to time i like to take them into town with me. My dogs are so sweet and goofy, both are about 50 lbs and they think they are lap dogs. :P

  45. maxina AKA:cutie patuti says

    i have a 4 months old pitbull and i used the i80 turn for like an hour and it never worked.i used a prong collar it worked but i felt sorry for my dog feeling pain so i stopped .i tried nose still didnt work.i havent tried green light red light but ill write bak if i do lata at 3 PEACE OUT

    • shibashake says

      Maxina, you bring up a very good point. Aversive techniques like leash jerks with a prong, usually brings more immediate results. However, they have their own set of issues.

      Reward techniques like the 180 turn, red light/green light, and hand targeting, usually takes more time, over more sessions; but may be more effective over the long term. Rather than doing an hour session, it may work better to do shorter, but more frequent sessions. Ultimately, the technique that works best for you will depend on your temperament, your dog’s temperament, and the type of relationship you want to have.

  46. jim10 says

    My dog is an angel about everything except she sometimes wants to pull. It is strange because if I take her outside and she gets off the leash or gets outside without one she stays perfectly with us. The issue only seems to be when we are going somewhere. But, it isn’t even all of the time. I have tried going in different directions and rewarding for being next to me. But, it doesn’t seem to matter. She seems to like the idea of being first even if she doesn’t know where we are going. Normally I also have a carriage and two young boys with me. I tried keeping her behind me, but then the kids will ask to hold her and sometimes they will want to run. I have a leash that can also be a choke collar. When I use that she is more than happy to keep pulling ahead and coughing. My vet had suggested the Halti. Maybe I should give it shot. Thanks for the useful Hub.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Jim. Your girl really sounds like an angel. After hearing all your stories about her, I really want to meet her. Do you have pictures of her that you can share?

      In terms of pulling, I have found that consistency is very important while leash training my dogs, especially during the initial training phase. This will be difficult to do with the carriage and two boys. Consider doing shorter, one-on-one, walk training sessions with her, using the flat collar/harness; and then use the head halti when going on longer walks with the boys.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>