Pulls when he wants to get somewhere! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Pulls when he wants to get somewhere!

Ok--help needed!!! Blue has been through 3 different training classes. In the last one, even the instructor (DogSmith instructor) could not get Blue to do what she wanted and she's the professional! Blue will literally pull me over to get where he wants to go. I've tried the gentle leader (he still pulls although not as hard), a prong collar (ha!--he just ignores corrections with that and will just about choke himself out trying to get where he wants to go). He ignores treats and has actually spit them out during training if he is more interested in what he wants to get to. We've also tried the NILIF method but without much success. And I've tried the "turning around so he doesn't get to go where he wants" method too but he just pulls even harder when we turn back around to go in the direction we were originally headed. He is 2 years old, 100 pounds and soooo strong! He's very friendly and thinks that every dog he sees is a friend to play with even though I do not allow him to go up to every dog we come across. If we are out somewhere like Petsmart or the beach, or at the local outdoor concerts, etc. he pulls and pulls until my fingers hurt from trying to hold him back. My husband is a bit better at controlling him since he is bigger than I am, but usually this is done with a harsher correction and a stern tone. The Dogsmith instructor wanted us to use the high-pitched happy voice and honestly, Blue just ignored that...even when she tried it on him herself. Any ideas of what to do to get him to be a normal dog when out in public instead of pulling me around like he's a draft horse? I'm at my wits end! I wish there was a doggy bootcamp around here for issues like this--I think I would seriously consider sending him! He's good with basic commands, like sit, down and stay, but heeling and walking on a loose leash in public have been so challenging! If anyone else has had success with a particular training method of making a dog stop pulling on the leash, please share!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 05:18 PM
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Did you try the HEAD collar or the harness with Gentle Leader?




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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 05:25 PM
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Did you put the prong collar on correctly? It shouldn't be loose, but rather snug near right behind the ears of the dog and right below the jaw.

The misery of keeping a dog is his dying so soon. But, to be sure, if he lived for fifty years and then died, what would become of me? - Sir Walter Scott
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 05:56 PM
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did you start training and socializing Blue
when he was pup?? did you work with him everyday???

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Blue will literally pull me over to get where he wants to go. He is 2 years old, 100 pounds and soooo strong!
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Did you try the HEAD collar or the harness with Gentle Leader?
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Did you put the prong collar on correctly? It shouldn't be loose, but rather snug near right behind the ears of the dog and right below the jaw.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 06:31 PM
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Have you tried backing up or "penalty yard"? I tried most of the methods you mentioned with my terrier, including turning around when he pulled and "be a tree" and training collars none of them worked to stop him pulling. If I turned around he'd just pull in the other direction. He was a puller for years and you may not think a 25 lb dog could be that strong but he could easily pull grown (large) men.
The one thing I finally found that worked was a variation of the "penalty yards" method. Penalty yards usually involves making a 'start' and 'finish' line about 20 feet apart, and putting something the dog wants at the 'finish' line. When you walk forward, as soon as the dog pulls you either walk backwards until the dog stops pulling or walk backwards until you get to the 'start' line (those are two variations.) When the dog gets to the finish line they get the item you placed there. Other variations I've seen used a clicker and whenever the dog's not pulling you click/treat.

I say what I did was a variation on this because I only took part of the idea. I did try with a start/finish line first but it didn't work so well with my dog because he got so focused on the item at the 'finish line' he would not even pay attention when I backed up, and he would get frustrated when we kept going back to the start line.
So what I did instead was go on a walk (with a buckle collar) and as soon as he began to pull, I would start briskly walking backwards without saying anything. I would keep walking backwards until there was slack on the leash. As soon as there was any slack I would switch to moving forwards again. When the leash tightened, I would reverse and walk backwards again. I didn't use a clicker or say anything or jerk on the collar- the reward was he got to move forward towards whatever the next thing he was interested in on the walk happened to be and the "punishment" was moving away from it.
Our initial walks were very short and I was almost walking backwards more than forwards, but he caught on pretty quickly that if he pulled towards something he wanted, he would just end up further away from it. Now the one important point is for this to work I had to do it VERY consistently, ANY time he pulled we would go backwards. He was a smart dog though so pretty soon we were not walking backwards as much even on longer walks, and then I would only have to back up a few steps for him to remember not to pull and then finally we would only have to back up once or twice at most on a whole long walk and I could walk him on just a buckle collar with no problems. You could do this with a training collar but I wanted my dog to walk WITHOUT a training collar or leash corrections, so I did it without one. A Gentle Leader might work but again I think that would teach your dog to walk nice with the GL but not necessarily with a regular collar.

Here are some of the other variations of penalty yards:

Use the No-Pull Recipe also known as Penalty Yards to teach your leash puller to walk calmly at your side or anywhere within his leash length using clicker training

http://www.dogscouts.org/uploads/Tea...g_and_heel.pdf

Online Dog Training Lessons - Loose Lead Walking and Heeling


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 07:05 PM
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Have you watched any videos on teaching your dog NOT to pull? You probably have, but here is a link anyways:


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Cool

Thanks for the tips and suggestions...yes, we used the head collar...he will walk with it on, but then people think he's wearing a muzzle and it just seems so uncomfortable even though I know it's not. I'm dreaming of being able to walk him with just a regular collar! The strange thing is he walks really well when we are in our neighborhood but in public places he's just so determined to get where he wants to go. We've always taken him places since he was a puppy and he is very well socialized with other dogs, cats, kids, you name it, Blue loves everyone and everything. We have worked on obedience with him since the day we got him but this one thing has been so hard to overcome! We just adopted a rescue German Shepherd female and even though she's been living on the streets for at least half of her life (she's about 4 years old) she walks better on a leash than Blue does! And I believe I have the prong collar fitted tight enough but maybe I need to take out a link or two. I'm going to try the penalty yard idea that Chicagocanine suggest and see what happens...
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2011, 06:04 PM
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I am batteling this right now with my 2.5yrold. She was similar in that she would choke herself out pulling so hard and just the same food was no motivator. I made some progress yesterday with the stopping method. The turnaround did no good, she did the same as soon as we resumed our original direction she would take off even harder. The main difference is that she heels off leash with no issues.

What I did yesterday was everytime she would pull I would stop, make her back up to my side and the start moving again. It took over an hour to walk around the block, but by the end the pulling was less frequent and less intense. I have also found practicing in a familiar place is good too, she is less apt to want to explore.

One more thing I found that helped was letting her run a while first and get some energy out. When she is a bit tired she pulls less and is more willing to back.

My thought process is that she is bred to herd so I think they natrually want to lead.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2011, 10:41 PM
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Have you tried a front-attachment harness?

This dog is pulling b/c it gets him what he wants. Effectively, you've taught him that if he doesn't succeed by pulling a little bit, what he should do is pull harder.

A front attachment harness may give you enough leverage to help implement the "penalty yard" idea. Or go ahead and use the head collar/halti/gentle leader for this training.

If need be, recruit help from a strong friend and make sure that Blue does *not* get to go where he wants by pulling there.

Christine

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 01:44 AM
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One more thing I found that helped was letting her run a while first and get some energy out. When she is a bit tired she pulls less and is more willing to back.
I second this. If your dog won't run and play hard before walking on his own, then try an intense game of fetch. Really wear him out first, then go for your walk.

Or, get a bike, and a walky dog attachment. For the first part, run him. Then, un-attach him and take him for a walk.

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