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My V will listen and preform (almost always) to commands inside, but when we're outside he's oblivious to any commands I ask. Even when offering treats he's not really interested in them, only sometimes.

I'm also training him to walk properly on the lead but it doesn't quite sink in that if he pulls, he gets nowhere.

He's only 12 weeks and a bit so am I expecting too much, I do know that consistency is key here.
 

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Hi Rebecca,
It took me a long time to really have this sink in (my pup is 8.5 months now), but think of training inside as your foundation (level 1) and outside as jumping levels. If your puppy isn't listening outside, it's not because he/she is being insubordinate, it's because he/she needs help with the training. If he won't even take a treat, it's waaay too distracting of an environment. You need to take it down a notch and find a happy medium-- something a little more distracting than your place, but not so much as what you're asking for outside. When you train outside, do it on concrete or asphalt (provided that it's not hot!!), because grass is more distracting with its absorption of smell, bugs, animals, etc. Also, change the treats outside to much more enticing ones-- these are your highest yield treats like boiled chicken, cheese, anything your dog LOVES. Keep these in your arsenal of high yield stuff only to keep your dog wanting them. If your dog loves to play or tug on a toy, you can use that as a reinforcement also. Work on attention getting exercises-- calling your dog's name and having him look at you and treating immediately. At first, even a slight turn of the head counts and then just increase your standard to get a treat. Just remember that as puppies, they are SO distracted. Vizslas love to please you and will try to do so but you have to help them get there by building up slowly. If he's not listening, give him an easier one rather than thinking that he's trying to ignore you. It helps to give a freebie at first, too, to get his attention.

A tip- heeling often doesn't set in until after 1 year of age. Don't worry! Just keep working on it each day (5 min or less at this age) and think about getting an easy walk harness. They give you so much control and he probably won't be walking totally well on the leash when he gets heavier, so you'll need some help. Just my thoughts. Good luck! Be patient-- they will mature slowly with time and these things will get so much better. I didn't believe it, but it's so true. At about 5 months old, you'll really see a spike in maturity.
 

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Hi laurita

Thank you so much for your post, it's very informative, offering me lots of advice :) Regarding the leash training, I thought it would be best to try and not get him into the habit of pulling?
 

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Rebecca,
It's probably going to be a long time before you get your dog to stop pulling. Especially for dogs who love to run like vizslas, walking well on a leash is one of the hardest skills to master. So the difficulty is- how do you walk your dog when neither of you enjoy the leash because he's pulling and you're trying to get him to stop pulling? There are tactics to get your dog working towards a better heel... it could click for your dog right away that pulling isn't going to get them anywhere, but for a lot of puppies, you just don't get very far in general so your walk takes forever or it involves a lot of jerking and pulling (which is aversive for the dog and when you pull them back, they pull harder). This is just what I do, because I've been reassured by others that a great heel comes with maturity. I use the easy walk harness when we're walking long distances that way it's enjoyable for us both. I use a british slip lead for heeling, training, and walking shorter distances. With time, I'm trying to phase out the easy walk harness for a good heel, so I keep working on the heel for longer and longer and with time, that heel should click and we shouldn't have to rely on the harness anymore. Our trainer said that it finally clicked for her english pointer at about a year and a half! If you work on it every day (for a short time), your dog can have an amazing walk so that your dog slows when you slow and speeds up when you speed up, stops when you stop, but it takes a lot of time and consistency, and most people don't have a great heel because it's so easy not to practice it. The other tip we've gotten, until we have a strong heel, is to raise the british slip lead high on our dog's head, so it's literally right under his ears. You have a lot more control if you need it to walk short to medium distances or if I need to walk my dog with a lot of distractions around because where the head goes, the body goes, too.

Just another thought about training outside with distractions-- you could take your puppy outside on a leash and as soon as he offers the behaviors you want (sitting, looking at you) without actually asking him, you could click (or say a positive word) and treat. this way you're starting to capture the behaviors that you like. Then once he starts offering them, because he sees that he's getting yummy stuff, you can attach the name to the behavior and begin to cue them. Learning outside is like learning all over again! Also, work on calling your dog's name and treating him when he looks at you. With time, require a faster and faster look to get a treat. With any of these cues that you are giving, ask for the behavior ONCE when your dog is looking at you. Don't keep repeating them thinking that your dog needs to hear them 5 times. If your dog isn't looking at you, you can pretty much guarantee (while they're puppies) that they are not going to do what you ask because their minds are elsewhere. It'll be the same thing when training with dogs around. You will have to start fresh and keep the training nice and casual at first. Try to keep it fun and offer some upbeat praise and nice treats. These things take time, but as long as you're practicing, even if it feels like you're getting nowhere, your dog will surprise you with moments of maturity and knowledge.

Good luck!

Laura
 

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:) @ 12 weeks do not expect too much. Their focus is limited and there are too many new stimuli out there.
My understanding is that they have a "puppy license" until 16 weeks old. That means they are allowed to do just about anything as long as it doesn't endanger their life.
 

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Our obedience instructor said it's normal to expect that the dog is "starting over" when you practice outside. She called it "go back to kindergarten" (i.e., make the exercises easier, and expect that you are almost teaching the skill over again because the dog hasn't generalized to the more distracting environment). Agree with Laurita's suggestions.

As far as heel, we were advised by our obedience instructor to practice in short bursts each time you walk, rather than expecting you (and your dog) to heel the entire walk at first--as Laurita says, that would just be miserable until the dog learns, which could take a while. So just short stretches of practice initially.
 

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Agree with all points listed so far especailly:
Slip lead behind ears - huge difference in effort used. Read up on different correction teqniques - with our girl not every training in every book works. We mish mash together for each activity - so might include harness, treats, correction, positive re-enforce, etc. "holding up" rather than "pulling / jerking to side or back" has really made a difference. We're 9mo. and we only get it sometimes. Agree that you should practice in bursts and maybe use check cord to start you off-leash foundation.

Check cord saved our lives i think early on.

12wks is just a youngin. Give it some time..
 

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Our V Pippa is 14 weeks and we are clicker training her. What we are doing to BEGIN to get her walking on the leash is this: We started in our backyard with a collar and a leash on Pippa. We started her in a sit at our left knee. Then, click and treat. Walk slowly around the yard. Every time her/his nose is at your left knee, click and treat (essentially set her up for success here...walking slowly, every time near the knee we clicked and treated). Pippa picked up pretty quickly that if her nose was near my left knee (i.e. walking a bit behind me) and we were walking she would get a treat. Then, we started on a walk in front of our house, then around the block, and now we are at a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood. We practice this 2-3 times a day. Pippa gets treats every time she is by the knee (although now I count to 30 and then treat....it's how I feed her her breakfast and half her dinner now!) Woo-hoo! :)
For times that we are on trails, etc. we use a Sensible harness which has been great. I know it is a long process and I haven't mastered by a mile, but I will take our 30 minute walks of semi-peace ;)
 

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Pippa gets treats every time she is by the knee (although now I count to 30 and then treat....it's how I feed her her breakfast and half her dinner now!) Woo-hoo!
For times that we are on trails, etc. we use a Sensible harness which has been great. I know it is a long process and I haven't mastered by a mile, but I will take our 30 minute walks of semi-peace
Great detail and explaination. 14 weeks is not too young to train. They learn the fastest as puppies and don't develop bad habits that have to be broken.

Woo-hoo!

RBD
 

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Great job! Clickers are powerful. We started using one for trick training and it's so much more precise than my own timing. Thank you for sharing.
 
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