I can't take the pulling anymore, suggestions please???

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Sweet72947, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    Norris is very high strung, and he will suddenly jump and try to run when we are outside on a walk. This is very unpredictable, as I never know when something is going to startle him. It could be a car door, or a child yelling something from somewhere, or the wind blowing on a wind chime. And lately, he's started flipping out about something when we go out my back door to pee in the common area. I almost lost him again yesterday because of it. Two of my friends were sitting on the couch, and I took Norris downstairs to take him to pee and when I opened the door, he bolted outside and down the wood steps and I had to let go of his leash, because he was pulling SO HARD it was either that or go face-first down the stairs. He stood in the yard and I called him to me, and he started dancing around like he wanted to play. So I said "Norris here!" while holding my palm face up (like when we work on hand-targeting) and he ran up to me. There was lots of praise. I have almost had to let go before on the front stairs, which are concrete, because I'd rather not go to the hospital.

    But I can't just keep being told "give it time" because it is NOT SAFE for me or him the way he pulls and the way he flips out. I don't think I could use a prong or a starmark collar on him, I think the Something Different on his neck would make him flip out. Norris does not do well with change. Norris is STRONG and I need something or some way to deal with the pulling.

    The other irritating thing Norris does on walks is constantly trying to pick up and eat things. I live in a poorer area, so I guess nobody here knows how to use a trash can and there is trash everywhere out by the street where we walk and he's always trying to pick up tissues, wrappers, moldy sandwiches, and I even had to fight him for a mummified squirrel carcass once.

    Help! Please :cry:
     
  2. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    Honestly, I think he'd probably react better to a prong than, say, a head halter, if he is that sensitive. At least, Chloe did. She didn't care when her prong was on, but when I tried a head halter she was torn between being shut down and hyper-reactive to everything.

    And while I don't think a prong is the best tool for a reactive dog (from your discription, I can't tell if he gets startled and is trying to bolt, or just gets super excited and wants to GO), it is much safer than the dog being able to drag you around.

    You could always try a front clip no-pull harness. That way if he throws his body into it he will just turn around!

    But, in the end, the collar/harness is just going to be a tool to give you control to work on training. I would start enforcing a "wait" before going of of any door. He must not bolt through the door, or it gets slammed in hs face. He can only exit upon your command, and then when he does he must redirect his attention to you as soon as he goes through. (I think Control Unleashed has a section on this? Or maybe it was Click to Calm. Can't remember.)

    I'd also work on a leave it command. Once he's no longer able to drag you to the goodies on the ground you will make more headway, but a solid leave it foundation would be your best bet.
    With my own dogs, I'm not above giving mild leash corrections to enforce my leave it, especially if it is that, or let them eat a nasty cigarette butt. Be sure to provide a high value reward every time they redirect to you instead of the gross thing on the ground. If I'm in a very enticing area I work on management - short lead and no sniffing allowed, because if they can't reach it, they can't eat it.
     
  3. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

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    Definitely a dog I think a prong would make worse. If he is already freaking out the prong is going to add to it for sure IMO.

    I would use a front clip harness or even just a simple leash wrap for now. I can control my danes and my previous crazy husky mix really pretty easily with those tools. I did use a prong on my husky mix and besides making her worse, she learned to just pull right through it. She was so over threshold she didnt even notice it and the only control it gives is the dog reacting to it. A leash wrap gave me very good control of her and helped keep her calmer as well.

    But yes, in the end training is what is needed to fix this.
     
  4. skittledoo

    skittledoo Crazy naked dog lady

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    I'm going to vote no prong in his case for the same reasons I wont put a prong on Bamm... I think it would be too easy for him to start associating the things he fears and wants to bolt to to the pinch feeling of the collar and more than likely it will make it worse and his fear will be escalated. If you choose to try a front clip harness we sell them at mine and Jeff's work so one of us can get you our employee discount.

    Norris is definitely a dog I would try the click to calm method on. You will have to start working on the training in places without things that make him super fearful and then build up to those scary things. You want him to associate those scary things with something good while you build up his confidence again. The biggest thing I've noticed with this dog is he is severely lacking in confidence and seems overall fearful in general.

    You can push through this though and let me know if you want any help with him on days we both have off. I would be more than happy to help.

    ETA: Also... like I mentioned when I was at your house last night... teaching him a solid "here" or emergency recall is extremely important especially since he is a bolter. If you don't have a long line to work with him on you can use one of mine. For emergency recall training I use the highest value treats I can find and ONLYYY use them for emergency recall training and not for other things.

    Teaching a solid leave it will really help keep him from grabbing things during walks too... like that mummified squirel ugh.
     
  5. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    Thank you all for your suggestions so far. Would one of you mind telling me what a leash wrap is and how to do it? Thanks :)

    As for the doorbusting, training on that presents special challenges. Norris is terrified of the main level of my house. I have three levels. The basement, which is occupied by my tenant and is off-limits to Norris, the main level which is the living room/kitchen, and the top level which is where my bedroom, bathroom and a spare room are. Norris and I hang out in my room all the time when I'm home. I only spend time downstairs when I'm cooking or I have friends over, which is infrequent (the friends, not the cooking). Norris will come downstairs to go outside, and that is the only reason. He refuses to spend any time downstairs otherwise. So today I attempted to work on having him sit before we go outside, and he wasn't having it at all. He is very food motivated, but he refused treats, had his head down, tail tucked, ears flat and was looking back and forth. I have no idea how to work on door busting when this is the behavior he is showing whenever we are on the main level.

    We did, however, work on some stuff outside. I attempted to work on pulling using the turn-around method, and he shut down. He laid down on the ground twice as if to say, "I don't understand, this is too much." So I stopped using that method, and just worked on teaching him to pay more attention to the handler by calling him to me and having him sit, or using my hand-targeting command "here" to call him, and giving him a treat. This helped. He will take treats outside, and he does generally well on walks, you just have to get really creative at times when it comes to training. Admittedly I haven't done much since I brought him home because he's such a scared dog, and I have been trying to figure out where to start. Norris does already know sit, down, here (hand-targeting) and he loose-leash walks about 80% of the time.
     
  6. frostfell

    frostfell Kung Pow Fish

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    Prong collar and big soft plastic muzzle. Oddly, Im having the same issue with my knucklehead except that her pulling very consistant but thanks to getting hit by a car recently my back and shoulders arent up to holding her back. i have on order a boxer muzzle and that will take care of the bizarre PICA
     
  7. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    http://dextersdays.com/2011/07/the-leash-trick/#.Ukyf4j_VGzw

    Here's a link to the leash wrap I assume is being referred to. I've used it with Gusto before when he's just so amped he can't control himself (walking past the groundhog holes, for instance). It does work freakishly well. I don't use it much, as I can't imagine it is all the comfortable, but I'd certainly do it to get down your stairs, or in situations like that.
     
  8. Dagwall

    Dagwall New Member

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    Working on training, doesn't even really matter what you train at this point, should help him being so scared. In general training helps build confidence, helps him feel like he has more control. Wish you the best with him.
     
  9. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

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    I actually just wrap under the chest/belly and back up through the ring on the collar but that way would work well too:)
     
  10. StillandSilent

    StillandSilent New Member

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    Try a freedom harness. Not only does it help with pulling, but its the only thing ive found that Gambit cant slither out of when he panics and tries to bolt. I don't think I would personally use . prong on him.
     
  11. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    A prong or NeckTech with a backup leash attached to another collar/harness. Two leashes and two points of attachment.

    The NeckTech is gentler than a prong if it makes you feel better.
     
  12. ForestPhin

    ForestPhin New Member

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    scared dog

    I also am going to vote against the prong. From your description, he sounds pretty fearful. I dont think a prong is going to do anything other than shut him down further and make him more scared than he already is.

    Personally on a dog like this I'd go to a head halter first, specifically a Gentle Leader. But, like any other tool they have to be fit and used properly. Second choice would be a good front clip harness like the Sensation/Freedom one. Avoid the EZ Walk (by Premier), theyre junk and dont fit 95% of dogs.

    I agree with whomever said this dog just needs more training in general. Again, going off your descriptions, he sounds like he's pulling out of fear and trying to escape, not because he's in the mood to be naughty. He also doesnt sound like the easiest dog to work with in the world... It sounds like maybe you might get a bit ahead of yourself and "lump", or ask too many things of him that he doesnt know how to handle at once. You need to make sure he can sit like a champ in your upstairs, on only one verbal cue, before you expect him to sit at the door that he doesnt particularly want to go out of. If its that bad, you could actually ask him to sit, and then reward him by letting him go back upstairs if you think he'll find that more rewarding.

    If going outside is that stressful at this point in time, I wouldnt ask him to do anything beforehand. You can close the door before he charges out if thats an issue, but that gets him to decide to wait on his own, youre not commanding him to do anything. Instead of the sit, I'd just get whatever apparatus you choose on and calmly take him out. He needs to have as many rewards as possible for complying to you. If you know he's not going to do something, dont ask him to do it, otherwise you are just eroding what you have already built up.

    Sorry, thats a lot of info. The basics of it all is get a tool to physically control him and train him in environments where you know you will get results before making it harder. Good luck.
     
  13. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    If he really bolts as hard and fast as it sounds like, head halter spells neck and/or eye injury. They are NOT a tool that's actually good for pulling. Reactivity and just a bit of redirection? Sure. Full-out pulling, not so much.'

    ETA: If you do decide to go for a head halter, still make sure to have a backup collar/harness and leash. He's gotten away from you before, and it sounds like he's set to do it again, so having a backup is very, VERY important.
     
  14. ForestPhin

    ForestPhin New Member

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    head halter

    Like I said, the head halter has to be fit correctly and you need to learn how to use it.

    If the dog is on a 6' totally slack leash, and suddenly goes from zero to 60 and hits the end of it, yeah, potential injury. Its not fool-proof, but no tools that actually work are. I worked at a high volume training facility and worked an average of 8-12 dogs a day. Probably half of them wore GLs (these dogs were in training for a reason for the most part) and we never had any injuries other than mild chaffing on those with sensitive skin. I trained some VERY reactive out of control dogs, on a regular basis, and I would choose a GL over a prong or other tools 99.9% of the time. No other tool gives you that much control.

    Why do you think people still use halters and bridles on horses? Because if you have their head, you have control.

    Again, any tool can be misused, some easier than others. But, common sense and education are the best tools you can use.

    ETA--I also agree that two points of attachment is not a bad idea. With dogs I had concern about bolting, I would attach the GL ring AND the collar rings together via the leash. Softens the impact if it is something the dog is likely to do.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
  15. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Horses and dogs have completely different structure. It's virtually impossible to injure a horse's neck with a halter, but it's incredibly easy to do so with a dog. Neck injuries don't always show up immediately, either.

    Regardless, the two points of attachment is pretty much a MUST for prong or head halter work, as both are prone to falling off when you don't intend them to.

    GLs are more likley to cause eye injuries, while Haltis are more likely to cause neck injuries. The best type of head collar to use, if you feel you MUST use one for a dog that pulls, is one that attaches to the leash behind the head, like the Sporn. It's less likely to cause neck injuries.

    [​IMG]


    And that's exactly what it sounds like the dog in question is doing. Plus the handler pulling on the leash (giving a leash correction) can cause injury too.


    I cringe at any trainer/training facility that slaps a head halter on every dog that comes in the door. That's laziness. Yes, they do have their place, and yes, I have used them on my dogs, but it is NOT safe for a dog that bolts.
     
  16. ForestPhin

    ForestPhin New Member

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    head halter etc

    The reason I am recommending the head halter to the OP is that the dog sounds like it has a lot more issues than just "pulling". Sounds like there is very little control in general, and in my experience, a GL properly used gives you far more control than anything else.

    A head halter should never EVER be used with a correction. Ever. Period. And I've never seen anyone promote that tool with that as a technique. Ever.

    You seem very fixated on injuries RE head halters. Yet, you are not at all concerned about injuries from misuse of a prong? Especially considering how difficult it is to properly fit a prong collar? Seems a bit pot calling the kettle black, doesn't it...?

    If you have studies or data to back up the head halter injury theory, by all means, I'd love to see them. I understand the logic behind it, but I have yet to see in person or read any documentation of it actually happening.
     
  17. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    As soon as you provide studies to back up your prong injuries, I MAY be arsed to dig up data on head collar injuries. Clearly I'm not swaying you regardless (and I'm not trying to, the OP is the person I'm trying to give advice to), so it's a waste of my time. Again, yes, headcollars have their place, but NOT with a dog that bolts. Once the dog doesn't bolt anymore, and is just reactive, then yeah, it'd be a great choice. But as of right now the ONLY headcollar I'd put on this dog is one that attaches at the back of the neck.
     
  18. StillandSilent

    StillandSilent New Member

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    I should also mention that when I use the freedom harness with Gambit, I do it with one end of the 2x clip leash on the back of the harness and one on his matingale collar. He's a bolter as well and its the only way I feel safe.
     
  19. frostfell

    frostfell Kung Pow Fish

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    for a dog that remains still, spooks, runs, and flips himself or yanks his owner down stairs, a headcollar is the last thing you want. hello whiplash and broken necks huzzah!

    i DONT know how to train around weird learned behaviors, because iv never gotten them in the first place, but while you are working on this anxiety, i wonder if a double leash system would work. attach a leash to the bottom post of the stairs that stays there. leash dog up, walk dog to the top step/before his triggers to bolt, leash him to the bottom-step leash, remove the one attached to you, and walk calmly down the stairs. if he bolts, hes only going to hit himself on a plain flat collar attached to a firm stair railing. once you are both safely on the GROUND, praise, releash to the one in your hand, proceed from there (either leaving or going back inside as a reward)
     
  20. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    When I used a halter on my foster, I had a leash attached to a buckle collar, and a short leash attached to the halter. I could still restrain his body weight with the leash and collar, but could control his focus and direct his face as well, in the event he started to flip out.

    I'd definitely recommend using a backup leash for this dog.

    This is a bit out-there, but is it possible for you to sit at the top of the steps with him and scoot down until you figure something better out? I wouldn't recommend a prong, either - a front clasp harness is a good idea...whatever you use, you'll probably have to condition him to it. A leash wrap might also freak him out/take getting used to. And until then, not falling is going to a priority for you.
     

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