Treating During Loose Leash Walking Practice (Stupid Cold Edition)
December 9, 2014 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Our 10 month old pup, Kesugi, is still struggling with loose leash walking. We were doing reasonably well with the combination of a Gentle Leader and very frequent high-value treats, but then real winter hit. Now what do we do?

It's just too damn cold to go out for a couple miles and take the mitten or glove off, reach in the pouch, put cheese in a dog's wet mouth, rinse repeat X1000; this means that I am not getting much exercise myself, since rather than freeze my hand off I just cave and take him to the fenced dog park with a Chuckit for an hour. I'm totally happy to be out in the cold, just not with frequently naked hands.

What dogwalking hack am I missing? He is really food-motivated so basically anything will work as long as I don't have to take my gloves off. Do they make, like, tiny kibble guns or something?
posted by charmedimsure to Pets & Animals (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How about a flip mitten?
posted by tchemgrrl at 9:00 AM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

*Peanut butter or meat slurry on the end of a long spoon. Either put a whole dollop on there and he gets a few licks every time he does well, or if he doesn't have that kind of control, put the whole jar in your pocket and dip in as needed

*Reverse Idea - stuff gooey stuff in a Kong - you hold one end of the Kong, he licks the other

*Get one of those food rolls or a long crunchy treat and let him take a bite out of it

*teach him to take treats gently (aka, without slobber!) from your palm. Get a treat bag big enough to stick your gloved hand into

*Train loose leash walking indoors
posted by muddgirl at 9:11 AM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

When Kesugi pulls on the leash, are you correcting him with a gentle reminder?

I'll take Annie out and if she pulls on the leash, she gets a gentle but firm uh uh. Then lots of play and treats when we get to a stopping place. She was a little older than Kesugi when we started loose leash walking and I think age was on her side, too.
posted by mochapickle at 9:13 AM on December 9, 2014

Form-fitting leather gloves, like these? And then leave them on to do the treat-giving.
posted by Andrhia at 9:13 AM on December 9, 2014

Response by poster: He gets verbally corrected every time he pulls, and he never ever gets any further by pulling; I stop in my tracks. We do not do any leash corrections with the Gentle Leader as it is self-correcting. He is a dog who was literally bred to pull, however- he is a multi-generational sprint sled dog mutt- and it has been a remarkably slow learning process.

I'll add: he is basically fine with loose leash walking indoors, and we need the distractions the outdoors provides, since ignoring them is a skill we really need him to have.
posted by charmedimsure at 9:25 AM on December 9, 2014

Have you tried clicker training? I ask as it will help you mark the behaviour so the rush to get the treat out is less harried. Your dog will know OK, that's the good thing I should be doing, YAY I did the good thing a treat is coming and you don't have the mad rush to get the treat in their face the second they are good to reinforce the behaviour. Once they are used to the idea of the clicker it can buy you some time when fumbling for treats in your pocket and you can get them used to the clicker in the nice war house.

There is also this you might find handy. I have never used it myself but have seen it used & it seemed to work fine.
posted by wwax at 9:26 AM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You need a squeezy tube full of nummy slurry! No need to remove mittens.

A good article about their use and filling here:
posted by mymbleth at 9:27 AM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Glittens. Or, get a pack of cheap-o gloves, leave them on during the treating, and just wash/rotate them.

You could also walk the pup to the dog park for a long play session for tiring-out purposes, then train on leash in the house. Get a long lead, and tie it to your waist as you go about your business (they also make waist leashes).
posted by melissasaurus at 9:28 AM on December 9, 2014

Thanks for the clarification, charmedimsure.

Besides getting creative with treats like the food tube, there are other heated venues with distractions - pet stores and some hardware stores are popular ones. It will feel really strange walking up and down the aisles of a pet store working on LLW, but I got used to it pretty quick.
posted by muddgirl at 9:32 AM on December 9, 2014

Best answer: Trigger finger mittens. There are non-military styles, too, with regular thumb and separate forefinger. We treat our dog with dry food pellets (regular dog food); seizing one in mitten works fine. Yes, you have to wash the mittens from time to time.
posted by xaryts at 9:33 AM on December 9, 2014

Response by poster: We are using the clicker for a lot of stuff, but I'll clarify that the issue here is not that I am worried about speed with the treats; I just don't want to have frozen hands.

Lots of new ideas here- thanks! So far I'm intrigued by the trigger finger mittens and goop tubes. I think glittens would still tend towards too cold and slobbery, and form-fitting gloves probably won't be warm enough when it's 0 degrees F.
posted by charmedimsure at 10:11 AM on December 9, 2014

Depending on your hand size, you can probably find latex gloves that will fit tightly over your existing glove. It will protect the glove from goopiness and keep your hands nice and toasty. You can find them in dark colors too, so you won't look too conspicuous with one white glove.
posted by annaramma at 10:17 AM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ooh - I know this one! PetSafe makes a dog treat called Lickety Stick that's basically yummy (to a DOG, I cannot stress this enough) broth-type stuff in a roll-on applicator like for underarm deodorant. They're easy to use with gloves and the dog licks the container and not your hands. My dogs love them.

They smell super-raunchy, though, which I suppose is why they're so irresistible.
posted by workerant at 12:33 PM on December 9, 2014

Response by poster: Oh, hey, I think you might be my hero workerant. Just ordered some and I bet it will work; lord knows he loves a raunchy-smelling treat. I'll try and remember to update either way and have the other methods as backup.
posted by charmedimsure at 7:43 PM on December 9, 2014

Response by poster: Yay! The weird licky thing does indeed work pretty well, even with mittens on; we'll see how fast it freezes when it's 0 F out, I guess, but it's great at 30 degrees at least. . Thanks!
posted by charmedimsure at 7:05 PM on December 17, 2014

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