How do you do dog training using the umbilical method? What is it exactly? In this article, we’ll cover what it is, how to do it, and what if any gear you need.
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What is Umbilical Training?
Umbilical training also called tether training or tethering is a method of instilling confidence in dogs.
There are multiple means of using it. For puppies or rescue dogs it’s a great method to help them get used to you.
Take them to pee then keep them tethered to you when you go back inside. Simply connect the leash to your belt.
This lets you keep an eye on them. You can instantly see bad behavior and correct it followed by praise or a treat. Or you can instantly see good behavior and follow that with treats or praise.
Watch the video and read below for some other commons uses of umbilical training.
Umbilical Training For Aggressive Dogs
- Note – this training requires your dog to at least know the sit command and can do it even when they are distracted in an aggressive mode.
- Get a handful of treats
- You’ll need two people for this type of training (basic aggressive dogs to visitors)
- Setup the dog on an umbilical leash connected to a person within the room about 20 feet from the door.
- The leash should be short (4 feet max). Adjust your current leash to this size.
- Give the 5 treats to the guest.
- The handler stands in the middle of the room.
- The guest enters and drops the 4 treats spread out about once every 3 feet while walking towards the dog (make sure they are far enough away so they don’t get too close by the 4th treat).
- The handler walks the dog to the other room so the dog can’t see the guest.
- The guest sits down in the room with the fifth treat in their hand.
- The guest should now look away, never look at the dog during this part. Ideally, have the guest talk to a third person in the room (yes, aggressive dog training takes a lot of work!).
- The handler brings the dog in and takes them to the guest’s treats.
- If the dog is calm with the guest in the room the handler can let the dog have the first treat. If the dog is aggressive or stressed the handler will use the sit command. Once the dog calms down then let them have the first treat.
- Repeat for the other 3 treats – make sure they are calm before giving them each treat.
- The guest holds the fifth treat in their hand off to the side without directly looking at the dog. Remember, don’t look at the dog!
- For the final fifth treat in the guest’s hand, the handler can bring the dog over and only let them have the treat again if they are calm. Use the sit command if needed.
- The guest should not pet the dog even after the 5th treat.
- Repeat this 1-2 times. The whole thing should take about 15 minutes. Do this daily for 1-3 weeks. (Again, aggressive dog training takes work!)
What Else Is Umbilical Training Used For?
1 – Dog Walk Training
One of the most common uses of the umbilical method is to teach your dog to walk at your side or behind you.
This method is similar to using a no-pull harness. It gets your dog to stop pulling on the leash. However, it comes at it from a different angle.
With a no-pull harness, your dog won’t want to pull because they don’t like the leashing pulling back on their chest.
With umbilical or tether training, the leash is connected to their collar and from there to your belt.
That keeps the dog close and keeps you in control.
2 – Prevent Accidents in the House with Puppies or Rescue Dogs
The second use of this method is to stop your puppy or rescue dog from peeing or pooping in the house. While your dog is in the house keep them tethered to you.
That gives you the ability to keep an eye on them.
To use this method first take your dog to pee. Then connect the tether. Then go about your business.
The dog will be forced to follow you around. This is great for puppies or calm rescue dogs.
For more aggressive or scared rescue dogs you’ll need to use a longer tether and warm them up to it. See the video below for instructions and a demo for scared dogs.
3 – Help Your Dog Develop More Confidence
The third use of this method is to help your dog become more confident. Like the methods above, this is great for both puppies and rescue dogs.
These dogs are new to the world or maybe just to you (rescues). They need help and time to develop confidence and learn to trust you and the other humans in their life.
4 – Stop Your Dog from Chewing
As described above, tethering is a great way to teach your dog quickly. Why? You can see them doing bad things and correct them immediately using negative reinforcement.
In addition when you see them stop chewing you can reward that with positive reinforcement.
Watch the 3-minute video below on how to use tethering to stop a puppy from chewing.