Tyler Muto: Conversational Leash Work Explained

This was taken from Tylers site. He is an AWESOME trainer!!! Check out his material. This is a post of his on his method of leash work. Really cool.-

If You Aren’t Listening, It’s Just A Lecture

Around this time last year, I coined a term, and a system I called Conversational Leash Work™. The idea behind this approach to leash handling is to utilize the leash to have an entire conversation with the dog, to guide her through her choices and give feedback about those choices both good and bad in a non-confrontational manner.

Since then, I have seen many people use the term Conversational Leash Work™ in reference to handling that does not exactly fit the principals of my system. The average professional that I have seen state that they are doing Conversational Leash Work™ is actually doing nothing more than traditional leash pressure work.

There is nothing new about Leash pressure work, or the idea of conditioning a dog to give-in to leash pressure rather than oppose it. This system allows the dog to learn to accept the leash as negative reinforcement, and teach her that she has the ability to control whether that pressure is “on” or “off”.

Typical leash pressure work goes like this:

1)   The handler puts a slight pressure on the leash in a certain direction and waits. (The dog typically shows a bit of initial resistance)

2)   The dog eventually gives in to the pressure and moves into the leash, thus making the pressure go away.

3)   The handler praises the dog and (optional) marks the behavior and gives a reward of a treat or toy.

The treat/toy reward of step 3 is optional because the release of pressure is the initial reinforcement. There is no need for further reward for the system to work.

What is happening here with the leash is essentially a lecture. The handler speaks (adds pressure). The dog listens and takes notes (moves into pressure. The handler then praises the audience for being such good listeners and moves on to the next bit of the lecture.

Conversational Leash Work™ takes the leash handling one step further.

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