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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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stressful walks!

We just adopted our GSD on April 18th, and this is the first dog we've owned. We take her for 3 or 4 walks a day, and they're so exhausting - - every bird, squirrel, and especially every dog she sees, she starts straining to get away, gagging herself on her collar the entire time! I have even had places on my hands rubbed raw from trying so hard to hold her back! If she's this strong at 6 months, I'm afraid of what it will be like when she's fully grown! We want to start obedience training, but we can't get her used to riding in a car. Everything is on hold until we can take her places. Does anyone have any tips or advice on how we can handle this until she's in obedience training? Thanks!

"In a perfect world, every dog would have a loving home, a best friend and a window to look out upon the world together."

Joon GSD - 6 months - adopted April 18th, 2009
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 05:53 PM
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Re: stressful walks!

Would you be able to find a trainer that could come to your home and work on her issues with you at home (riding in the car, pulling on the leash)? After those are worked out, you could do group training to work on socialization. I think if you're truly at your wits end this may be the best solution for you.

Good luck. Keep us posted on what you decide.

Ashley,
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 05:59 PM
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Re: stressful walks!

How about getting books or videos on training to get started.It's better then nothing.The main things to work on are heeling for the walks,Focus so she will pay attention to you, not every other thing that moves,sit,down and stay.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 06:10 PM
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Re: stressful walks!

Heidi was like this when we first got her too. In fact, one time she made me trip and fall as she cut in front of me while pulling to see some dogs that we passed on one of our walks. I scraped my knees and sprained one of my toes. It was extremely frustrating.

What helped me was: obedience classes, the Sensation Easy Walker harness, clicker training, and TIME. Hand in there! It WILL get better!

Karin and Dave

Heidi, 9-year-old GSD
Adopted on 10/14/07 from:
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 06:53 PM
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Re: stressful walks!

Quote:
Originally Posted By: JoonsmomWe want to start obedience training, but we can't get her used to riding in a car.
What happens when you put her in the car?
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 07:02 PM
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Re: stressful walks!

Basu was like this for the first year after we adopted him, even with OB classes. I thought I was going to need shoulder surgery (he was 80 pounds)!

I second the suggestion of the Easy Walk Harness. Do you have a fenced in yard? A vigorous game of chase or ball for 5 minutes before the walk might take the edge off.

Also, re the car issue: one good technique is to use the car as a sort of tunnel, throwing toys and treats through the car so she has to run through it over and over. Then short drives that end with MAJOR rewards (like real chicken or a hamburger or some sort of super high value treat) and then gradually lengthen the amount of time spent in the car.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 07:10 PM
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Re: stressful walks!

I agree with BowWowMeow. The Easy Walk Harness by Gentle Leader is wonderful. Also, you need to teach her to walk. When she pulls, stop. Do not go forward until she eases off. The other trick is to change direction. You'll spend an entire walk and go nowhere, but she'll get the idea. Especially if she loves to walk. She'll learn to behave because she wants to walk. We had the same problem and solved it this way.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 07:56 PM
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Re: stressful walks!

I took storm for obedience. He was okay on the choker for awhile, then decided that he could still pull, choke himself, and almost pull my arm out of the socket.

I went with the Gentle Leader headcoller. What a difference!!! The hardest part with this tool is getting them used to having something around their muzzle.

"Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole".....

Roger Caras
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: stressful walks!

When she gets in a car she drools like a faucet and eventually throws up. She gets so worked up we just quit trying to take her places. She has been through a rough patch lately and we don't like to upset her any more than necessary. We're hoping once she's used to us and her new home, things will improve.

"In a perfect world, every dog would have a loving home, a best friend and a window to look out upon the world together."

Joon GSD - 6 months - adopted April 18th, 2009
Murgatroyd - cat - 5/90
Reggie - cat - 7/05
R.I.P. Muzzy - cat - 5/90 - 6/05
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 11:33 PM
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Re: stressful walks!

Can you fit a crate in your vehicle? This can help. If not, tie her to the back seat floor. If she can't look out, it can help.
She needs to learn that you are good leaders. If you want to take her in the car, then she should go. Don't make a huge deal if she "stresses" out. Dogs learn to respect and trust their people. The less fuss you make the better. Mark the good behaviors she offers with a nice word or a pet. (even if it's the fraction of a second that she lays down in the car.) Ignore the bad.
As for the walks, I also stop the minute my dogs stop pulling, and go nowhere until they focus on me. I have good treats ready to reward good behavior. My dogs all wear the Premier head collar, BUT, they have had it on since 8 weeks of age.
It is a great tool but can be frustrating to work with an older dog with. The harnesses that Premier has seem to work better on dogs that won't tolerate the head collar.
Have faith! They really do want to learn!

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