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    Thread: Loose leash

    1. #1
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      Loose leash

      Need some help.

      Diggity is a strong puller on leash. I am working on loose leash with these methods:

      If I feed him constant treats, he walks nicely by my side. I try to space out the treat dispensing, but if he’s not getting constant treats, he starts pulling again.

      I also try stopping and waiting when he’s pulling. The last few walks when I do this, he stands there and leans forward, but then sits down and looks back at me. Then I start walking and he starts pulling again. Cycle goes on. Is the fact that he’s sitting and looking at me progress?

      Last thing I’m trying is turning around and walking in the other direction when he pulls, but I get the same result as above.

      I am now using the Balance harness, which keeps him from choking himself, but doesn’t help the pulling.

      Is there anything else I should be doing? Labradorks, you said something about turning around in a circle. How exactly do you mean?

      My trainer thinks I should switch to an easy walk nose harness. I’d like to do that as a last resort.

      Thanks!


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    2. #2
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      Harness's will actually make them pull. I've found that a properly fitted prong collar will fix the pulling pretty quick. A prong collar used in conjunction with the direction changing and periodic stopping and starting works very well.

      I know there are some here that aren't fans and to each his own.

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    4. #3
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      If the dog gets out of position (I do not wait until the dog is pulling to respond) I walk in a circle (dog on outside) until the dog is back where I want them and then move forward again. I may use food for a puppy or in a challenging environment. You have to be consistent. So, chose what position looks like for you and don't accept anything less. For loose leash walking like through the neighborhood, I make sure to give the dog potty and sniffing breaks and use a cue (go sniff or go potty) then when done I cue again (let's go). With my older dog, I did use a head harness for maybe a year when he was 9 months and only in certain circumstances as he was would lunge, but that was mostly based on my own lack of experience and criteria. One thing that has helped is that I never let my dogs pull and if they do, they don't go forward, so they don't even know that they are capable of pulling me and getting to what they want. If your dog learns to pull to get what they want, then you may have to use something else, because they learned it works, and it's hard to unteach. With my puppy, he has no idea that pulling gets him anywhere. He still tries, of course, because he's a puppy and he gets excited. It's not a quick fix; it takes time to teach. I've used prongs in the past when I had adult Lab rescues that were completely untrained and being on a leash was actually dangerous, plus, I didn't have a yard so I was forced to leash walk for potty breaks and such. For some dogs they are fine. I don't want to use one. I'd rather go through the process of training and anyway, it makes the most sense, especially as I am often on grounds where they are not allowed -- several of my trainers do not allow them on their property and they are not allowed at AKC events.

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    6. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by barry581 View Post
      Harness's will actually make them pull. I've found that a properly fitted prong collar will fix the pulling pretty quick. A prong collar used in conjunction with the direction changing and periodic stopping and starting works very well.

      I know there are some here that aren't fans and to each his own.
      His sister’s owner uses a prong collar. She says it is helping a lot.


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    7. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by Labradorks View Post
      If the dog gets out of position (I do not wait until the dog is pulling to respond) I walk in a circle (dog on outside) until the dog is back where I want them and then move forward again. I may use food for a puppy or in a challenging environment. You have to be consistent. So, chose what position looks like for you and don't accept anything less. For loose leash walking like through the neighborhood, I make sure to give the dog potty and sniffing breaks and use a cue (go sniff or go potty) then when done I cue again (let's go). With my older dog, I did use a head harness for maybe a year when he was 9 months and only in certain circumstances as he was would lunge, but that was mostly based on my own lack of experience and criteria. One thing that has helped is that I never let my dogs pull and if they do, they don't go forward, so they don't even know that they are capable of pulling me and getting to what they want. If your dog learns to pull to get what they want, then you may have to use something else, because they learned it works, and it's hard to unteach. With my puppy, he has no idea that pulling gets him anywhere. He still tries, of course, because he's a puppy and he gets excited. It's not a quick fix; it takes time to teach. I've used prongs in the past when I had adult Lab rescues that were completely untrained and being on a leash was actually dangerous, plus, I didn't have a yard so I was forced to leash walk for potty breaks and such. For some dogs they are fine. I don't want to use one. I'd rather go through the process of training and anyway, it makes the most sense, especially as I am often on grounds where they are not allowed -- several of my trainers do not allow them on their property and they are not allowed at AKC events.
      Thanks, that explanation makes sense. I didn’t realize you did a complete 360. And you’re right on the point that if they learn pulling works, they keep doing it. He’s a “blowing leaf lunger” and those lunges come out of the blue, so I’m sure those victories have added to his pulling.

      What do you (or others) do when you’re walking on a path and you encounter another person and a dog? That’s probably the worst time for him to pull because he wants so desperately to interact with that other dog. Often times in those situations there’s nowhere to go to divert away from the person by the time I encounter them. It’s often made worse because so many people walk their dogs off leash and the dogs come running up to greet Diggity. And it’s the only time that he’s not focused on food.


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    8. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by bmathers View Post
      What do you (or others) do when you’re walking on a path and you encounter another person and a dog? That’s probably the worst time for him to pull because he wants so desperately to interact with that other dog. Often times in those situations there’s nowhere to go to divert away from the person by the time I encounter them. It’s often made worse because so many people walk their dogs off leash and the dogs come running up to greet Diggity. And it’s the only time that he’s not focused on food.
      I try not to put my dogs in that situation. If I see a dog coming and we're on a sidewalk, I cross the street. But, I have taught my dogs very early on to sit near me and I rapid fire treats to the puppy. So, my dogs will see people or other dogs and actually come to me. It's a conditioned or trained reaction to the situation. I also don't really leash walk my dogs around the neighborhood because it just teaches the dogs all kinds of bad behaviors. If there are other off leash dogs, my dogs are typically off leash, too. I don't like the on leash / off leash dynamic.

      So, in a nutshell, I'm super picky about where I take my dogs for walks or exercise and I typically know what to expect.

    9. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by Labradorks View Post
      I try not to put my dogs in that situation. If I see a dog coming and we're on a sidewalk, I cross the street. But, I have taught my dogs very early on to sit near me and I rapid fire treats to the puppy. So, my dogs will see people or other dogs and actually come to me. It's a conditioned or trained reaction to the situation. I also don't really leash walk my dogs around the neighborhood because it just teaches the dogs all kinds of bad behaviors. If there are other off leash dogs, my dogs are typically off leash, too. I don't like the on leash / off leash dynamic.

      So, in a nutshell, I'm super picky about where I take my dogs for walks or exercise and I typically know what to expect.
      Most of the places to walk around here are trails. We don't have many sidewalks in town. (As a runner, this frustrates me to no end, but that's another story!) As I've written in other posts, my previous dog was totally different from Diggity in that she was not very interested in other dogs and just wanted to walk with me. So very early on, she was fine off leash. Diggity on the other hand, is like the mayor. He is Mr. Social and from a young age, spots people or dogs far far away and wants to go to them to say hi. I actually try to find trails where I hope to NOT run into other people, just so I can work on his loose leash. But, today is a perfect example of how that didn't work out. We went out for a walk on a trail near my house. It recently snowed, so there are very few places right now that are walkable. We started out and within 5 minutes, encountered two off leash dogs with their owners. They wanted to turn around and walk with us, but I said "thanks anyway, I am training my guy, so I am going to peel off" but in the 5 minutes we were on the trail together, Diggity became amped up and it was near impossible to get him to refocus on me and walking nicely. I am doing a semi-private training class with another couple who has a young lab and we are primarily working on loose leash using each other's dog as a distraction, but by now, Diggity knows the other dog well enough that he is super behaved in class around that other dog. It is just hard to translate that behavior to dogs we encounter unexpectedly.

    10. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by bmathers View Post
      Most of the places to walk around here are trails. We don't have many sidewalks in town. (As a runner, this frustrates me to no end, but that's another story!) As I've written in other posts, my previous dog was totally different from Diggity in that she was not very interested in other dogs and just wanted to walk with me. So very early on, she was fine off leash. Diggity on the other hand, is like the mayor. He is Mr. Social and from a young age, spots people or dogs far far away and wants to go to them to say hi. I actually try to find trails where I hope to NOT run into other people, just so I can work on his loose leash. But, today is a perfect example of how that didn't work out. We went out for a walk on a trail near my house. It recently snowed, so there are very few places right now that are walkable. We started out and within 5 minutes, encountered two off leash dogs with their owners. They wanted to turn around and walk with us, but I said "thanks anyway, I am training my guy, so I am going to peel off" but in the 5 minutes we were on the trail together, Diggity became amped up and it was near impossible to get him to refocus on me and walking nicely. I am doing a semi-private training class with another couple who has a young lab and we are primarily working on loose leash using each other's dog as a distraction, but by now, Diggity knows the other dog well enough that he is super behaved in class around that other dog. It is just hard to translate that behavior to dogs we encounter unexpectedly.
      He's still a puppy. It takes time.

    11. #9
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      Last thing I’m trying is turning around and walking in the other direction when he pulls, but I get the same result as above.
      The key to changing direction is to do it BEFORE he pulls. So he never knows which way you are going to go. Most dogs want to go with you, somewhere, anywhere, so you practice changing direction to keep them alert and tuned into you. We were given a practice - Mentally map out a square on the ground, hit the corners by walking straight, diagonally, about turn. Away from distractions when you do it outside.
      Hidden Content

      Oh boy. A stick in the SNOW! Hidden Content

    12. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by Snowshoe View Post
      The key to changing direction is to do it BEFORE he pulls. So he never knows which way you are going to go. Most dogs want to go with you, somewhere, anywhere, so you practice changing direction to keep them alert and tuned into you. We were given a practice - Mentally map out a square on the ground, hit the corners by walking straight, diagonally, about turn. Away from distractions when you do it outside.
      Interesting. So I need to do this in a field where I can change direction more easily. A narrow trail won’t work at this stage.


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