Well, Luke is now 6 months old and we started bringing him to the dog park to help socialize him with other dogs and people. He's fine when we get to the dog park but we have to walk down a path through the woods to get there and that's where the trouble is.
He's very excited to get to the dog park so he'll try pulling on his leash. At home we use a standard, flat collar collar with a 6' leash which I realize offers no correction but at home it's not an issue since he doesn't pull in the yard with us. Before we go to the dog park, we switch his collar to a martingale collar with chain like shown in the picture below. The chain section of the collar will be all the way choked up on him and he's still trying to pull full force and breathing very heavy - he acts as if he's pulling us on a sleigh. We stop, say "no pull", bring him back to us and say "with me" as we start walking again. As soon as we start walking though, it's back to him all the way at front pulling as hard as he can. We slow down, stop, etc. but sometimes we just want to get to the dog park and get it over with.
Is there a better choice in collar that we should use? Is it the collar, our training or a combination of the two?
The second issue is barking. When he sees another person, dog or kid along the path ahead he'll start barking. His barking is more continuous if it's another dog. We've tried different techniques such as stopping and making him sit, trying to get his focus on us. We also tried making a u-turn with him, getting him to calm down and then try coming back but it's the same as if we didn't stop to turn around. We've also tried using collar corrections while saying "no" or "quiet" and/or getting him to sit but by this point he's already in barking mode. From what I've read, we should try to catch it before it starts, right? And finally, we've tried to walking briskly past the other dog and person. Some days are better than others but it's always a little unpredictable and frustrating going to the dog park.
On a side note, he barks on command when we tell him "speak". I was reading online about teaching him "enough" and I just started this in the house with a clicker and treats. I'm going to try bringing the clicker and high value treats with us next weekend when we go to the dog park.
Is this him being a puppy and something he'll outgrow on his own? A socialization issue? Training? Collar? Us and our technique - you guys can be honest with me!