Pulling...What am I doing wrong?!? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Pulling...What am I doing wrong?!?

I know she isn't stupid, so there must be something I'm doing wrong, she will NOT walk on a leash without pulling. She just won't! Here is a list of the methods I have tried:

1. Zig zag walking. She just changes directions as well and races back to the front of the leash before I even have a chance to praise her for having slack in the leash.

2. Being a tree. As soon as I move again she IMMEDIATELY starts to pull again. Today I tried being a tree again. We walked for an hour with me stopping each time she put pressure on the collar. Finally I gave up, there was no 'breakthrough' no realization that putting slack on the leash is what gets us moving again. So I turned around and just let her pull, what took us an HOUR of being-a-tree walking took about 10 minutes to get back to the start of the trail with me letting her pull. So this means in that one hour, I spent roughly 50 minutes as a tree and 10 actually attempting to walk.

3. Prong collar with no corrections, it dulls the pulling significantly but she still pulls.

4. Prong collar with light corrections when she pulls, the same as above. I don't want to use harsh corrections because she is a soft dog and will shut down.

5. Gentle leader, she was fine with it in my apartment but as soon as we left her comfort zone she went into shut down mode.

6. Easy walk/sense-ible harnesses, both dull the pulling but she still pulls.

7. Flat collar with corrections, useless.

8. Clicker training, again, no response. It doesn't help that nothing motivates her, she has zero toy motivation and very low food motivation.

9. Verbal corrections when she pulls and praise when there is slack in the leash. She will stop pulling for a split second when I "EH AH!" at her, then forge ahead immediately before I can finish telling her "Good!"

10. Out of frustration today I grabbed her by the scruff and physically put her next to me. This is the only thing that has worked for more than a split second, she didn't pull for a good 10 steps or so which I immediately praised her for and but she still ran back to the end of the leash...plus I felt like sh-t because it scared her.

11. Walking and giving her a constant flow of treats. This just confused her, she has very low food motivation anyways and she would drop treats and try to stop to sniff and pick at the ones she dropped, and I had to hold the leash super short to keep her at my side where I could hand her the treats.

I want her to enjoy her walks, she doesn't have to be a robot marching along next to me, but I would appreciate going for a walk with her and NOT being in pain. Even with the band aid tools dulling the amount she can pull, I still get home sore from the constant pulling. I understand that she won't learn it overnight but I've had her for almost 2 years now and she still just doesn't GET it! The ironic thing is she would probably do FINE off leash and stick fairly close to me but of course that isn't safe or even legal.

Brenna: GSD Born 7/16/06
Mollie: Beagle
Fezzik: GSD/Husky/Golden?
Chewy: Shih tzu/Yorkie
Crunchy: Pug/Schnauzer?
Monty: GSD born 5/24/14
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 07:03 PM
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Re: Pulling...What am I doing wrong?!?

doing "all" the things your doing may be confusing to the dog,,)
But I see your reasoning in trying them )

This is what I do, and it HAS been working as Masi can be a puller when the mood suits her..

I do this 20 minutes EVERY day (masi is 10mths old by the way)(per my new trainer)
,,you may end up 'dizzy' from this,,but it does work in the end..

Start out with no distractions,,6ft leash, and I have Masi on a mini prong) holding only the 'loop' of the leash,,no talking at all, start walking like your on a mission ),,if she pulls (since this is what yours is doing),,the minute she is ahead of you, change directions,,KEEP changing directions if she forges, and absolutely NO TALKING,,(dogs tend to not like being ignored, the eventual premise is,she is gonna wonder what the heck your doing?LOL)

If she lags, pick up the pace,,it's imperative that you keep changing directions when she gets ahead of you, do this for 20 minutes straight, at the end, whether she's been good or bad,,stop the exercise and praise her ))..

I worked on this for a week daily, with masi, and it mentally, as well as somewhat physically wore her (AND ME!) out,,but got her up atleast next to me and not pulling..

I've found if we are not consistent with one method,,throwing in a bunch of different ones confuse the dog..may take a few times to find a way that does work whether it's clicker, flat collar, whatever,(which it sounds like you've tried em all)

Masi is no good right now on a flat buckle,,and believe me, I've tried a few different ways and it just wasn't working,,now that she's 70+ lbs,,I need better control and this way seems to work for her and me at the moment..

Good luck..
diane

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 07:15 PM
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Re: Pulling...What am I doing wrong?!?

Yes, Jakoda's method will work.

dog will get the idea that they must follow you..

When you change directions put a little muscle in it. No warning, just quickly reverse.

You'll be a little dizzy, but it does work.

Anne

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 07:23 PM
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Re: Pulling...What am I doing wrong?!?

I agree with Diane and Anne, this is the method I use as well

good luck

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Pulling...What am I doing wrong?!?

I should clarify, the methods have been spaced out and tried one at a time in an attempt to find something that works.

The method you described sounds like the zig zagging that I tried, but maybe combined with a prong it will work better. I see a very dizzy future for myself. lol

ETA: Thank you to anyone who took the time to read all of that, I didn't realize how long it was until I looked back over it. haha I just had to vent, I got so frustrated today with her pulling.

Brenna: GSD Born 7/16/06
Mollie: Beagle
Fezzik: GSD/Husky/Golden?
Chewy: Shih tzu/Yorkie
Crunchy: Pug/Schnauzer?
Monty: GSD born 5/24/14
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 07:54 PM
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Re: Pulling...What am I doing wrong?!?

I use the stopping and turning method Diane describes, with a prong collar.

With Otto, he walks nicely away from the house, once he realizes we're headed towards home, he starts pulling. Let the turning begin. I work up a sweat doing it. Takes me 10 minutes to walk out 3/4 of mile, half hour to walk home!

I also cross the road - again further from the house. Especially on our block, I NEVER walk him down our side of the street or he'd try to drag me home. He's been like this since he was a wee pup - 4 months old, he started getting low to the ground and putting everything he's got into trying to take me for a walk.

With Morgan (many Moons ago), I found the pulling stopped if she didn't know where we were going. She was in less of a hurry to get somewhere becuase she had no clue where we were going. Sometimes we'd take a left off the driveway, sometimes a right. Sometimes we'd go down one block and up the next block that runs parallel to ours. I used to totally mix it up and confuse her. Now I have one dog that walks beautifully (the puppy is embarrassing so Morgan always walks with him so people don't think I'm a bad dog handler!)

BTW - Posting did nothing for either dog except make them want to jump on me.

-Jenn

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 08:15 PM
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Re: Pulling...What am I doing wrong?!?

Don't you hate pulling? The method mentioned is certainly good. If it doesn't work for you try one of these:
1. With dog at heel position, step forward. As soon as your shep is about 2 inches in front of you, reach down, take the collar and lift her front legs up while you keep moving. Put her down in heel position and keep going. Not a prong collar, of course. A flat collar will work fine for this. You don't need much strength and all you have to do is lift her a little. Sort of like a little skip. This method works because most dogs doing dominant walking don't like loosing contact with the ground, even a little. So you are showing her heel position, while adding a mild correction at the same time. Praise her hesitation when she gives it to you. You should know quickly if this will work or not. If you don't see improvement in about 20 lifts, try plan B.
2. Take a cane or umbrella with you. When she starts to forge, let it swing in front of her. If you bump her with it, you waited too long. Some dogs just hate to run into things, and will hesitate because of it. You jump in with tons of praise of course when she does the right thing.

Good Luck,

Wendy
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 11:25 PM
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Re: Pulling...What am I doing wrong?!?

I have some trouble with Kelso from time to time with pulling.

Like you, Brenna's mom, I have tried alot of the methods you have, spaced out over his 2.5 years.

while not always convienient, I try to exercise him a little before the walk (like playing ball), and that helps a TON! Can you do that?

-Steph

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 11:42 PM
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Re: Pulling...What am I doing wrong?!?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: SunCzarina
With Otto, he walks nicely away from the house, once he realizes we're headed towards home, he starts pulling. Let the turning begin. I work up a sweat doing it. Takes me 10 minutes to walk out 3/4 of mile, half hour to walk home!
Anna's doing the same thing...looks like we're heading home, the pull is on. So we worked on this tonight. I think we walked about a mile in an hour.

She's getting it though, and it was a great workout for mommy and puppy. Oy!

--Wendy, I'm not sure about the first method you mentioned...I need to think about it.


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-10-2009, 09:53 AM
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Re: Pulling...What am I doing wrong?!?

Tiffany, I don't always explain things well, so let me try again. :-)

The dog's forward motion is what causes the lift. That's why it doesn't take much strength. Same as if your dog is rushing at the door, you pull him back using the collar and the dog's forward motion translates into an upright energy.
Because you keep moving forward, while the dog doesn't, it happens very quicky, in the amount of time that it takes for your body, already in motion, to move a couple of inches. All you're really doing is pulling the dog back to heel position.

Hope this helps you understand it better. These are not my first choice in training methods (I'm a positive reinforcement gal ) but when you've tried everything else and it hasn't worked, this may be the right choice. It works very quickly, without hurting the dog.

Keep up the good work with your shep. It sounds like you're well on the way to mastering the loose leash walk:-)

Wendy

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