Leash walking! (how to stop pulling?)
I have an almost seven month old GSD (Germany) and boy is he a bundle of energy! This is my first time owning a GSD but I researched before adopting him so sort of knew what to expect. Iíve been training him on all the basics since the first day we brought him home four months ago and heís really smart and tends to pick up quickly, but the thing that I canít seem to master is walking on a leash. I made the dumb mistake of taking him out for a walk a few times and allowing him to pull me because I didnít know any better, but Iíve since stopped and am now trying to correct my mistakes.
This is what happens when I try to train him though: First, if I even get the leash out he ignores everything Iíve ever taught him about not jumping up on me and jumps up and tries to grab it. Then heíll bite at it as Iím trying to clip it on to him. Once I have it on, sometimes heíll think itís play time and just plop on down and start chewing on it or playing tug-of-war and/or rolling around on the ground. When we finally do get to the Ďwalkingí part even in my backyard he becomes super distracted and stops listening after a few short seconds. And around our other dogs he suddenly becomes a lot more harassing and Ďaggressiveí while on the leash compared to when heís not.
Not unusual for a 7 month old puppy
I know it's not fun. But that sounds pretty much like all our puppies have ever been at that age. Time and exercise will work that out of him.
Pulling is a real problem with them when they get strong enough to really pull. My Zeus used to put his head down and pull like a sled dog.
I takes time, but constantly reinforcing the rules of walking will ultimately win him over. Here's a couple of tips though.
Walk him in the street with the traffic and you between him and the curb. This will keep him away from most of the things they like to sniff and will improve his focus on you.
Wear light weight trousers or shorts and put smelly treats in the pocket nearest him. Give him one once in a while when he's doing things right. Use a clicker to signify the right behavior and reward immediately.
Use a choke collar and correct often. Ultimately, it gets through.
Use a short 6 ft. leash and helicopter it in front of him when he tries to leave close heal. I don't recommend hitting him with it deliberately. But he will sometimes walk into it and get a light whack. That will keep him beside you instead of in front of you.
Every time (AND I MEAN EVERY DARNED TIME) he pulls away from you or gets distracted or actively pulls pull him back into position while wheeling around 180 degrees and issuing the heal command (Fulligan for ours).
I've done this so much that sometimes we did nothing that day but wheel around. It's pretty frustrating and no fun. So, be careful not to get angry and transmit that emotion to the dog. Just calmly walk him home and put him up.
BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO WITH A YOUNG DOG WHOSE LEARNING HOW TO WALK LIKE A GENTLEMAN IS TO START THE WALK OFF RIGHT WITH THE DOG IN A CALM AND SUBMISSIVE STATE.
I used to see all the sort of excited misbehavior you describe until my breeder told me to do the following. Firstly, if he won't be calm about being collared and leashed or if he acts up while you're trying to prepare him for a walk stop...wait 10 minutes...start over...all the while remaining calm and commanding.
Secondly, once you're out the door and have issued the heal command if he pulls it's game over until he settles down. Pull him to a stop by very aggressively pulling the choke collar. Do this several times until he's paying attention to you.
Then make him sit and stand in front of him blocking his view and say "Easy, easy, easy" while waiving your hand in front of his face like he was an errant child until he begins to calm down. I don't stop this until he finally looks up at me instead of looking around, drops his ears back in submission and tries to lick my hand.
Rinse, repeat if he starts pulling again.
Then walk him briskly. About 90% of my problems walking with Zeus when he was younger was eliminated by me simply walking faster. Plus I lost some weight.
My dog is 6 years old and I'm starting from scratch. Throughout his life and developement I was lacking in the attention and time and consistency needed to fullproof his obedience. I was dealing with alot over the past few years so I relied on devices (like his prong) for walking but he still pulled but held him back enough for minimal control. So now I've switched to a choke chain (for that minimal control I need so he doesn't rip my arm off) but now I am retraining him with patience and consistency. I've noticed any type of excitement coming from me (negative or positive) brings his drive up and his energy level skyrockets so now I'm trying to remain completely neutral. When he pulls I stop and just stand still. And he tries everything to get my attention but even the slightest eye contact "rewards" him so I do my best to become as neutral as possible and not reward negative behavior (even correcting him rewards him because he's getting a reaction out of me) and let him get it out. His jumping, chewing, pulling until he settles then we move on. He's slowly learning the jumping, playing, hitting me, doesn't solicit the response that he wants from me and the only thing that will is his state of calm. I'm trying to teach him the only way for him to get what he wants (to move or to interact with me on some level) is to get to a calm state and to remain there). Its taking ALOT of patience and consistency but I feel I owe it to him because though I was physically present in his former years mentally and emotionally I was absent and he deserves clarity for all the years of chaos we've been through.
Timing, praise, corrections, paper leash, proper training collar that's the right size.... so many little things that make a huge difference if not right.
Personally I find going to a great trainer makes this easier and much less frustrating for all. In the meantime I can best manage the situation with a Gentle Leader harness
You been able to work on - - >http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...s-puppies.html
Thank you for the advice, everyone. I'll try a few of Longfisher's ideas to start off. Hopefully after a few weeks things start to improve.
Have you tried a harness? I have a 5 month old and she is starting to pull as well. I found the harness helped with control and she realizes she can't go to far without it getting tight and pulling her back. I also plan on trying a clicker.
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