Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Sacramento, California
Re: Why is he doing this/how to stop it
The problem is that your dog knows he's going home. While you have the right idea by stopping, and such, the problem is that you are still going home, and he's smart; he knows what you're up to, and those circles aren't going to fool him, no offense.
In my experience, stopping doesn't do much for perfecting the heel, either. It only works when the dog already knows for certain the proper position for a heel and every once in awhile gets out of position. There are much better techniques for stopping a dog from pulling. Try these:
1) Go past your house on the way home.
2) Instead of walking in circles, do a 180 degree turn and walk away from your home when he starts the "home pull", regardless of how far you really are from your home. In fact, do this ANY time he pulls. Be sure your 180 degree turns not only include turning away from him, but turning INTO him, as well. In other words, if he heels on your left, be sure that you not only turn right, but turn left. Turning left also teaches your dog not to get too far in front of you.
3) Start "focus" training as you heel. That way he pays more attention to you, rather than where he's going. For example, use treats or a motivational toy to have him look up at your face while you walk.
4) When you get close to home, or when he thinks he's close, start doing some figure 8's.
5) Most importantly, make him heel in your driveway, too, so he doesn't think that once he gets home he can do what he wants.
6) Take different routes to and from home, too.
7) You can even just train him up and down the street right in front of your driveway. For example, when you leave the house, turn right. Walk about 50 yards, do an about face, then walk towards home, but go 50 yards PAST your house. He'll soon get the message that the home route isn't so special anymore.
The point of all these exercises is to try and help you keep your dog on his toes.
Obedience, Behavior, Personal Protection Training
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Maya vom Hinterland - whelped July, 2008