Who is walk who here?! Please, help w/ leash pulling!!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by NeeleysAVLChicks, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Songster

    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC
    Ok, so we have a precious little pound pup, Hank. He is now about 7 months old, this is Hank...


    He has been WONDERFUL so far. We've got sit, lay down, stay all worked out and not to mention, he's awesome with the chickens...


    BUT, he is an awful leash puller! As soon as we get him on a leash, his nice laid-back personality switches to overdrive puppy trying to pull us all the way to Texas.

    We'd really like not to use a choke collar and I've been reading up on a couple training techniques, but I'm curious what worked for you guys???
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Well I've found a prong collar very useful in leash training. I always thought they looked like medieval torture devices, so never considered them. Then I began reading about them. Rather than putting pressure on one area of the neck like a choke collar, the pressure is distributed all (or most) of the way around the neck, therefore not nearly as much pressure is needed. Before I put one on my dog, I actually tried it myself. And while it wasn't comfortable, it didn't hurt. These collars are for training times only, not for full time use, and of course the goal it to eventually not need it for walks.

    One training technique I've read about, and it seems to work with my dog, is this: Have no plans to go much of anywhere for the first many "walks" you go on. Very simplified, every time your dog begins pulling, stop, and have your dog stop and sit. After he's got it together for those few seconds, try again. And once again, probably within 3 seconds, he'll start pulling again and you'll have to stop, have him stop and sit. If he's anything like my dog was, you may get 20 feet in 20 minutes...lol!! Keep lots of small, soft treats with you too, so that even if he's walking nicely for 2 seconds, give him a treat and praise. I give my treats right at the side of my left leg, so that he learns that's where he wants to be, right beside my leg.

    What you don't want him learning is that his reward for pulling is that he gets to go forward. Good luck! Especially for really energetic, hyperactive breeds, this is a tough one.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  3. Fuzzy_Hat_Farm

    Fuzzy_Hat_Farm Chirping

    Jun 4, 2009
    We have a 120-pound golden retriever that has literally drug me down the driveway until we got the Gentle Leader. It fits over the nose and around the neck. It works much like a bridle on a horse. The dog goes where his head goes and you control the head. It worked instantly with our dog and I love it! It comes with a training video on how to adjust it and place it on the dog.

    Good luck with that little cutie! He's just adorable!
  4. pbjmaker

    pbjmaker Crowing

    May 9, 2008
    Central Iowa
    When we took obedience classes this fall they taught us when they start tugging to turn around and go back the other way and also praise/treat when they are walking nicely even if it is for just a mili-second. They did say you might end up just turning back and forth for awhile [​IMG]
  5. SallyF

    SallyF Songster

    Jul 5, 2009
    Middle Tennessee
    I used the technique pbjmaker mentioned. I've often thought that if anyone could see me walking these dogs, they'd think I was crazy! Fortunately, we live in the country and the house is set back from the road and shielded by the tree line. I have a golden lab and a dog about Hank's size and energy level. Needless to say, living in the country, they are always catching scent of something and trying to pull me over to it. So we just start walking and go back and forth until they get tired of pulling and settle down. Of course, then they start poop-sniffing/eating. Between the free-range chickens, the rabbits, and the deer, there's always that form of entertainment/snacking!
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    What helped most with Russell (yellow lab who was about 5-6 months old when we adopted him) was:

    -- never, move your feet when the dog is pulling

    -- if he does not slacken the leash on his own in a reasonable period of time, as pbjmaker says you turn and walk the opposite direction. For a dog who like Russie was happy to just stand there leaning on the leash for potentially a long time on a regular basis, I used this as my default correction for pulling rather than even bothering stopping and standing; but that wouldn't be true of all dogs.

    -- reward attention. A lot. Every time. I use a clicker and kibble, but you could just use a verbal marker and any other treat that works for you. You may be using a *lot* of it for a while so remember you may need to deduct it from his meals-in-a-bowl. So, every time he looks at you on his own (don't call him, just wait for him to do it for his own reasons) click or say "yay!" and give him a treat immediately. Keep doing this. The more he remembers you're there, the less he will pull and the easier it'll be to fix it when he *does* pull.

    -- if at all possible, work on getting him to follow you off-leash, in the house or fenced backyard or whatever's available where you can safely let him loose (or just drop the leash). This allows you to work on training him to follow along with you without the complication of worry about pulling... if he wanders off, THAT is the problem not pulling, so you have to attract him back by turning the opposite way, maybe running, maybe patting your leg, whatever. The better he gets at following you off-leash, the less he'll pull on-leash.

    Another thing you might try -- I only recently read of this, and it seems quite sensible to me and had a buncha positive comments but I have not actually tried it as this is no longer a problem for Russie -- is to click and treat the dog every time he puts the least bit of pressure on the leash. Which may sound counterintuitive and like it would worsen the problem but the idea is that you are in fact *interrupting* the pulling before it gets started, and converting the first moment of a pull into a cue to turn back to you. You would want to be very *prompt* in clicking, not waiting til a hard pull was established; but others say it works and if I had a pulling dog right now I'd for sure be trying it.

    Russie went from nearly-pull-you-off-your-feet-sometimes to "reasonable" in about 2 months, and then from that to "really reliable loose-drapey-leash walking" in another 2 months. But, that's not just from working on loose leash walking, it's from doing a lot of one-minute-at-a-time-throughout-the-day work on attention and impulse control and so forth.

    Good luck, have fun,

  7. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    Quote:2x that is the method we used on our dogs and works well. Just don't give up or expect a quick response. It takes time.
  8. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    Put that pulling power to work and train him as a mushing dog! Dryland mushing is great fun and exercise for people and dogs. We do use prong collars on our dogs when we are just going for a walk.
  9. Godsgrl

    Godsgrl Ostrich wrangler

    Aug 27, 2007
    at the zoo usually
    Quote:X2. We just got a gentle leader, and the difference is amazing! Go get one!!
  10. Mak

    Mak Songster

    Dec 12, 2009
    Londonderry, NH
    I have also heard good things about the Gentle Leader, tho I've never used it. I did use a prong collar on our Lab at the beginning along with the instant praise and reward. I also (as mentioned above) gave the treat at my leg so he would get the idea that that is where the "good stuff" happened. Once he was off the prong collar- I only used it until I was sure he knew what I wanted from him- I kept up with the instant praise and reward. He still gets lots of praise, and the occasional treat, just to keep things reinforced.

    And your dog is a real cutie! Looks like he could be a mischief maker! Good on you for adopting!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: