Having trouble walking on a leash properly - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 04:32 AM Thread Starter
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Having trouble walking on a leash properly

We just got a german shepherd that went through numerous homes being mistreated and he has no idea how to walk on the leash, there was a few problems with toilet training (now resolved); however he still suffers from extreme anxiety when i leave the room even if there is another person with him, he was also very malnourished and cowers if we pick up items such as a belt, hair brush etc..

Whilst trying to walk him he will sometimes walk at heel if we use the blue rope lead we have, however any kind of distraction sets him off, like a car or bike etc, and ends up pullin the rope too tight and we don't want him to strangle himself. We have a head harness that we haven't used yet as he cries every time he sees it, when we put it on him he tried to scratch it off so we took it off so that he didn't hurt himself.

While running in open areas he is completely fine and if I stop he stops too, he won't walk at all, let alone walk at heel. We have 2 leads a blue rope one and a chain with a leather handle, the chain attatches to the head harness and the blue rope one just goes around his neck.

Any help would be appreciated cause we need to get this under control now, he's 8 months old.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 08:16 AM
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Chain leashes are too heavy to hold and on the dog, so I'd throw that one away. Most of us use the cotton (not nylon) flat leashes or leather. Easier to hold and carry.

Have you tried a no-pull harness? Many dogs prefer them to the head halters.

superjuan: No Pull Harness Review: Part 2 - Reviewing the Easy Walk Harness

No Pull Harness - Dog Care - Compare Prices, Reviews and Buy at NexTag - Price - Review

I'd also be keeping him a bit hungry (never leave food down in a bowl) and start using REAL treats (cheese/chicken/beef/hotdogs) by having them in my pocket all the time in a ziplock. So everytime I pick up a brush, I then give him a treat. Pick up a belt, give him a treat.......start ACTIVELY re-training him that you picking up something is yummy fabulous to replace his current 'pick up something = scary bad'.

More hints/suggestions on these sites:

Working with Timid Dogs

Timid Dogs - the Best Approach - VeterinaryPartner.com - a VIN company!

How To Work With A Timid Dog

How to help a timid rescue dog - Dog Training - Helium

Because he's so young, IF you really 'work' on this (not just accept it) and learn the active leadership role to guide him thru at an appropriate rate for him, you can greatly improve his bravery and confidence!




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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 10:30 AM
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I second Maggie's recommendations. You can probably get a quick fix result by throwing a prong collar on, but it would definitely be better to overall rehab your dog before you start applying prong corrections.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggieRoseLee View Post
Chain leashes are too heavy to hold and on the dog, so I'd throw that one away. Most of us use the cotton (not nylon) flat leashes or leather.
Why cotton as opposed to nylon? Where do you acquire cotton collar/leashes?

Paula
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Thor - GSD (3/12/12)
RIP Duchess - Shetland Sheepdog (12/25/88 - 2/14/04)
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 10:40 AM
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My problem with Nylon has always been the fact that it burns my hands.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 10:45 AM
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i think you need a behaviourist
and a trainer.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 11:27 AM
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I agree, a prong collar will help a lot. Be sure you get on fitted properly and learn how to use it. One good thing about it is that you clip it around the neck so you don't have to pull it over his head. It gets instant results but you have to be gentle with it, just a quick tug. I use a leather leash, really don't know anybody that uses a chain one. Good luck!
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 11:38 AM
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I'd start with a properly fitted prong collar and a nice leather leash. That will keep him from knocking you down while you train him. Once he starts settling down, you can wean him off the prong collar by leaving it on him but putting the leash on another collar. If he has a bad day, just hook back up to the prong.

Find a good trainer that uses only positive training. Clicker training is great for rehab work!

Here is a great video on clicker training an abused mule.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 12:15 PM
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Thanks for saving him. You found a good site and good advice. Personally I'd sit on the floor and hand-feed him until we bonded and save the training for later. A few hours/days/weeks of good food and "Good Boy" may go a long way toward creating a bond where he'll be more secure and do anything for you.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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We took him to the vet today on the blue rope collar, I tied a little knot to stop it tightening and choking him and it seems to work ok. The only problem is that he always wants to go faster, a good 10-15 minutes of running seems to tire him out and slow him down to a jog but I don't want to do that every time I walk him.

Any tips on getting him to slow down and eventually walk at heel? Could also use some help with getting him to focus as he often doesn't hear or look at me so it's hard to get him to do what I want, whenever we're at home or somewhere quiet and he is watching me 95% of the time I only have to tell him to do something once and he does it.

The vet recommended letting him walk off lead but i'm not confident enough he will recognize a recall, he is very attatched to me though but the problem is just getting him to focus.
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