Leash Training Problems

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by krisykris, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. krisykris

    krisykris New Member

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    I'm having some major leash training issues. Bentley is 4 1/2 months and STILL pulls on the leash and will pull on it to the point of gagging himself (he's a small dog). I just can't seem to get him to walk beside me.. any tips?
     
  2. xo_PuPpYlUvEr_xo

    xo_PuPpYlUvEr_xo Brittany

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    I'm not really sure, but I would like to know as well, because my Cody does that still and he's 10!!! What I am going to do for him is buy a harnest, so atleast he can't hurt himself when he pulls... Also, you can buy a retractalbe leash, so if you wants to go somewhere you don't he can, without choking himself, and you can still put it on lock if he gets too far! Just my 2 cents, LOL
     
  3. krisykris

    krisykris New Member

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    I have a harness, but he hates it and refuses to walk. I also have the retractable leash, but he still just pulls and pulls no matter if it's on the short or long length. Thanks for the help though and good luck w/Cody! :)
     
  4. xo_PuPpYlUvEr_xo

    xo_PuPpYlUvEr_xo Brittany

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    Thanks sweetie, good luck to you too! I know someone here will have an answer!
     
  5. MomOf7

    MomOf7 Evil Kitty taco eater

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    I use a slip lead. It acts like a choker but is softer since its made of soft rope.
    What I do is I will walk with the dog and change direction often. When I change direction I pull pull pull...call come come come...or heel whichever command you want to use. I would use heel so that come is used for when they are further away from you. When pulling you should have the slip lead up against the back of the head and not down towards the shoulders. This gives you more controll over the head and you dont have to wrestle so much with body wieght. So lets say your walking and your dog pulls. You pull back in short small pulls with the command to heel. Keep pullling untill the dog is in heel position and continue to walk. Do this everytime your dog pulls and when its at heel praise praise praise. Your dog will learn that the comfortable more fun zone is where you are.
    I would walk in what I call a square. So you are constantly changing direction so the dog has to pay attention to you. Go forward 15 feet then turn and go forward 15 feet then turn untill you have done a square. When turning pull pull pull and encourage the dog to heel with a positive heel command. Eventually you will not have to pull or pop the collar to get your dog aligned with you. Dont always go in the same direction and at first do this in a area where there are minimal distractions. Keep your training sessions very short. I would start with doing only one square then lots of play after the session. Always end on a good note and always praise when the dog is obeying the command.
    Im sure I am forgetting something so I am sure someone else will chime in.

    If you cannot visualize what is being said go to a puppy class. This will help you as a owner and trainer. I highly suggest the puppy class.
     
  6. krisykris

    krisykris New Member

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    Thanks Momof7, that is actually really helpful. I'll look into getting a slip lead and start on that :)
     
  7. Roxy's CD

    Roxy's CD New Member

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    That's what I use.

    As soon as the leash got taut, I'd turn around and walk quickly the other way holding the leash tight. Yes, they get a leash correction. As soon as they catch up, "Good boy! Good heel!" lots of praise, so they understand that's the position you want them in.

    The first few times don't plan on walking far! :) You'll probably have about 20 foot of sidewalk you'll back and forth down 100 times, but it does work, quite well.
     
  8. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    I've spent the last few months bemoaning the fact that Meg pulls on leash. It doesn't really present a huge problem for me, as she is almost never on a leash (I generally hike her off-leash), but I really wanted her to be good. I finally decided to do something about it, and after about four sessions, she has almost stopped pulling.

    I really didn't want to use leash corrections on her, so I strapped on my treat bag, grabbed a clicker, and went out. The first couple of times, I didn't go far at all - maybe 15 or 20 yards down the sidewalk and back. I'd click and treat whenever the leash was loose, and just stop and stand still if she reached the end. She probably got a couple dozen treats on that first walk, but she did well. She already knew the clicker, and she really "gets" training and learning, so I think that helped. One of the big things to keep in mind if you try this is that you don't want to teach them that the reward is for stopping the tension. In other words, don't let your dog hit the end of the leash every time, then come back and get a treat. Click and treat before they hit the end. At first, that meant treating every couple of seconds.

    Like I said, she caught on very fast. I took her for a fairly long leash walk tonight, and after the first couple of clicks, she really only hit the end when she was tracking some smell or she saw dogs. With the dogs, I was able to get her back to me verbally and treat as I walked by. With the smells, I would verbally get her attention, and then tell her "okay" and follow her so she could sniff.

    I just wish I had taken the time to do this months ago! Good luck with your pup:)
     
  9. Tinaweena

    Tinaweena New Member

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    Not sure if I'll get in trouble or not....but I use a Prong collar. It's a godsend, I can take Boone everywhere with me now and not worry about him pulling, jumping up on little kids, or just generally getting himself into trouble.
    Of course we do practice his healing without the prong, and off lead totally.
    But it has solved the problem of pulling, and now our walks are very enjoyable.
     
  10. silverpawz

    silverpawz No Sugar Added

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    I'd also suggest a prong. You can even get a Mini prong for small dogs and they work quite well. They key is fitting it correctly, it must be snug up behind the ears, but not tooooo tight. Too loose and it won't work, too tight and that's not good either.

    Personally I think it's the easiest way to stop a dog from pulling on the leash and in the end many dogs only get one or two quick self-corrections before they learn the ropes, leaving plenty of room for praise and rewards for good behavior.
     
  11. MomOf7

    MomOf7 Evil Kitty taco eater

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    Prongs work if you know how to use them. I would hesitate getting a prong without a trainer to teach you. Slip lead should work just fine for you. Its a 4 mo old puppy.
     
  12. Herschel

    Herschel New Member

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    Why hurt your dog with a choke or a prong collar?

    Get a collar or harness with the buckle in the front so that if the dog pulls, it is immediately turned around.

    http://www.premier.com/pages.cfm?ID=29

    By the way, I've noticed that using a retractable leash ruins any leash training that I do with my 5 month puppy.
     
  13. silverpawz

    silverpawz No Sugar Added

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    Very true. But using one is not rocket science. You fit the collar, hold the leash with about a foot of slack and go on your way. The collar does the rest for most dogs.

    Keeping a little slack on the leash at all times is what some owners have trouble with, but if you're not popping or pulling the collar, you really can't go wrong as the dog will self correct if he hits the end, no need for actual 'corrections' on the part of the owner. In my experience novice owners can do more damage with a choke chain then with a prong by constantly keeping it tight and chokeing the dog. Seen it happen way too often.

    I have used some of the more popular harnesses designed to flip the dog around and I have not been impressed with them. Far too easy for a dog to back out of one and then he's gone. For some dogs I'm sure they're magic, but for others they're simply dangerous due to the escape factor.

    If you want a no-pull device and are dead set against using a prong, then I'd try a Good Dog collar, or a Canny Collar.
     
  14. Tinaweena

    Tinaweena New Member

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    A prong doesn't hurt the dog. At class I was hesitant about using it until the traner put it around my arm and gave me a good "correction" with it. It got my attention, but did it hurt? Nope. Was I left with any scratches or marks? Nope.

    A choke chain, can hurt a dog. Collapsed trechea in small dogs is very common from the use of choke chains.
     
  15. smoore

    smoore New Member

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    Hi all, first post. I have a problem with my dogs pulling also and am trying to plan training to fix it. One is just an enthusiastic mutt who at 50# managed to pull my stepson flat on his face. Said stepson doesn't like to walk the dog anymore :( The other is a 25# norweigan elkhound who pulls on a regular leash/collar despite choking herself. It's like she doesn't even want to zig-zag and sniff, she's just straight down the sidewalk/path like a sled dog. The choking is very scary sounding.

    Can she crush her own throat on a regular collar? Would a slip lead possibly be bad for her for training if she does have some sort of throat damage?

    I fear the previous owners probably abused her with a choke chain as she gets the same choking/coughing problem sometimes just laying her head on the couch for petting.

    I have a couple of the halti brand "gentle leaders" and while this does alleviate the pulling and choking, the dogs still keep them fully taut without having their heads pulled to the side. They also detest the things, I have to threaten them with "you'll have to stay home!" to get them to submit to the "gentle leader". I think I'll look into prong training but I'll have to ask the vet about the elkhound. I sure don't want to harm her.
     
  16. Tinaweena

    Tinaweena New Member

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    Prongs sound perfect for your two. Please do look into it, but consult the vet about the eklhound first. Read up on prong training, I'm sure you'll find they are powersteering for your dogs.
     
  17. Sadie'smama

    Sadie'smama New Member

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    I'm also trying to break Sadie (4 month old lab/border collie mix) to a leash. She has a stubborn little mind ! :) I was thinking of stopping at Feeders Supply today and picking up a harness and try that. I've been told that if you can master the leash/walking that other things come easier. Do you all think this is true?
     
  18. mamasobuco

    mamasobuco New Member

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    Gotta tell ya, I am a Dog Wisperer fan and we tried Cesar's back pack idea and it calmed our boys down. They are about 90% perfect. AND, they LOVE their back packs! Our walks are so much fun now. We stop in the middle to rest and their water and bowl are in their back packs.
     
  19. Sadie'smama

    Sadie'smama New Member

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    Yes, yes, yes. I love the Dog Whisperer. My sister just got me watching him and I've been taping his episodes now everytime there on. I've learned a lot from him, just in how a dog thinks. It's all in the pack leader. I've been working with her and she does seem to be doing much better. She knows sit, come and she will fetch and bring it back to you (now getting the object out of her mouth for another fetch is another thing) :)

    My main goal now is to teach her to walk on the leash without acting like I'm killing her and to teach her "down". When people come over she jumps on them and wants to lick (progress there, she used to bite). I'm trying to teach her to not do that. After a couple of minutes, she gets used to the new person and goes on about her business. Which right now is trying to dig a hold in the backyard to China.
     
  20. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    This is a small dog, right? I would NOT advise a prong collar. If this dog can't pull you out in front of a truck, there is no need. It is a controlling device and is used for situations when the dog is not trained. It will not train your dog though. The dog walks nicely to avoid discomfort or pain. Dogs learn better when they work for reward than they do to avoid an aversive.

    Retractable leashes encourage pulling because they're taut. Dogs instinctively pull against pressure. So, when there's pressure or tension, the dog is going to pull against it. If this is a small dog (I don't know how small) a harness is the safest thing. You don't want to damage the trachea.

    At home, in your livingroom, start teaching him "watch me." He needs to pay attention to you on cue. Hold a treat in front of his nose and draw it up to your face. The second he looks at you, give the treat. Do this at random times throughout the day, start adding the cue, "watch" or "watch me." Go outside, adding a tiny bit of distractions, then add more. Really get him to look at you on cue. Get it solid. This should be one of the very first lessons for a pup because without attention, he can't hear you giving him a command for something else. LOL. He's off in La La land, sniffing things, looking at birds, watching people. Keep working on that every day while you're getting him to walk nicely. At first, he'll only be able to look at you when there's nothing else much going on. But then, you can try it while outside with him sitting next to you, then while walking across your yard...little by little, adding distractions. Soon you'll be able to say, "watch me" while you're walking, every few steps. This will keep him attentive and waiting for your next instruction. It will really help him not to pull. He should, however get to have some time during a walk....lots of time to have fun and do how he wants, sniff things etc...within reason of course. No pulling allowed. LOL.

    That said, I like Boston Banker's idea and whoever said to keep changing directions. That helps too. The dog wants to go forward in a bad way. Going forward is rewarding to the dog. Don't reward the dog for pulling. If you reinforce behavior you don't want, you're going to get it. Stop frequently and ask for a sit, change direction before the dog comes to the end of the leash, reward very, very often at first for the dog keeping a little slack in the leash. Most people only reward when the dog has walked for quite a distance nicely, but just when they're thinking about rewarding the dog, he begins to pull and they miss out on a chance to reinforce. If your dog takes one step nicely, pop him a tiny treat....keep walking...another 2 or 3 steps, another treat. Show him what you want. Frequent reinforcements are what the dog needs to go from the guessing stage of what you mean to the stage where he is seeing that a certain way of walking IS what is getting him the treat. Prevent the pulling from being reinforced by rewarding with going forward when there is tension in the leash. You can stop, make zig zag turns, reverse and go back the same way and retrace the same boring path he just took, same boring smells, sights. If the dog wants to go for a walk, go forward, he needs to be shown that only by keeping along side you (aprox) will he get to go forward. Reward often....every few steps for a while. As he gets onto it and is walking better for 10 steps, say....you can then space out the rewards.

    Add a cue only after he starts getting it 80-90% of the time. Get the behavior first. When you start using a cue, choose one which you'll use all the time for loose leash walking. ie: "Let's go." "Heel" is a very precise position and that comes later. Don't try to get a formal heel until his loose leash walking is good.
     

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