Leash Dilemma..Yikes - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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Leash Dilemma..Yikes

Yeah, I know that I am not experienced with gsd's and blah blah blah.
Here goes:
I step on Thors front feet when were walking. This is because he pulls away from me and wants to be ahead. I shorten the leash so much that I am practically just walking him by his collar and he doesnt let up. SO his front foot is coming in my path and I step right on his foot.
He lunges on his leash and pulls and drags me.
I am trying to walk him a few steps and make him sit...after he sits for 10 seconds without moving, he gets a bacon.
Well....its not enough. Most times I have to sit on his butt to get him to sit and he doesnt seem to care to much about the treats cause he is so excited about everything else.
What am I doing wrong? Do I need to change my technique??
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 08:23 PM
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You need to take a huge step back and re-evaluate what you are doing.
How often is he walked?
What sort of distractions do you see on your walks?
How much exercise is he getting?
How old is he?
What sort of collar is he on?
How much training does he get per day?

I could go on and on..but a general day to day schedule of how you interact with him would help greatly.

Without knowing anything about his life, I would say start with NILF and get signed up at some puppy/dog obedience classes. Its fun and will help your bond and get him to be more interested in you.

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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1. He is walked daily for 30 minutes, by himself, I dont take Rogue.
2. We see people, kids riding bikes, the occasional car, and other dogs behind chain link fences barking their heads off, he is also interested in bushes, mailboxes, leaves. we also see a cat every once in a blue moon.
3. 30 minute walks/and 45 min to an hour play outside with me. he also gets a lot of intense play with rogue for about an hour a day.
4. he is 9/10 months old
5. he is on a choke collar
6. i work with him on sit and lay for 10-12 minutes a day (he isnt getting lay yet)

What do I need to re-evaluate?? I am ready to get this right with him so I can run him like I do with Rogue. She just "got" the leash after about a week. I didnt really have to work with her at all!
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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The 30 minutes of walking is hardly walking though cause I am always making us stop and it just seems to get him anxious which is why I make him sit (or try to make him) and I meant to write choke chain (not collar)
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 08:54 PM
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OK if your reward (food) is not enticing, you need a better quality reward. Toy? Steak? Boiled chicken?
And get him excited about this stuff in backyard training - so he WILL find it rewarding.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 09:03 PM
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Do you have a place to run him out before you walk? If you can do some hard fetch to get him panting HARD, you can work out some of the crazies before going for a walk. A choke chain isn't the best way to walk- they will buckle down and pull and really choke. Good alternatives are no-pull harnesses or a prong collar. Middle's suggestion of finding more rewarding food is great. Some dogs like hot dogs better than bacon. My dog really loved it if I sauteed bacon in some olive oil with garlic powder. Brought out the scent, flavor, and made them that much more enticing.

Also, be sure to walk BRISKLY to keep interest and reduce the fighting, at least until you're well into the training and getting good results. We humans walk at geriatric snail paces so it's no wonder the dogs get tired of our shenanigans.

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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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When I try to jog a bit, he really starts tuggin trying to run, and he pulls me down that way. Running him before the walk is a good idea and I will also try hotdogs, I know he loves those! How do I keep him from being treat dependant though and what should I do when he pulls me? Also, what do you mean about choke chains not working so well?
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by marinehoney View Post
What am I doing wrong?
Pretty much everything!

Do I need to change my technique??
YES!!! Sorry, I'm not trying to beat up on you, I just want to stress that when you're teaching your dog to walk nicely on a loose leash you pretty much have to abandon the idea of simply "going for a walk". Every second you're out there with him you're training him - and that can either be actively teaching him to do it the way you want him to, or teaching him that he doesn't have to. Your techniques seem to be accomplishing the latter, not the former. Think about it from his point of view - what he's doing is working for him! He still gets to go where he wants to go when he pulls, so what incentive does he have to change what he's doing?

He wants to be ahead so he pulls, and you shorten the leash. How is that teaching him not to pull?

You walk a few steps and make him sit. He gets rewarded for sitting. What does he get for walking nicely and not pulling?

If you have to practically sit on his butt to get him to sit he either doesn't fully understand the sit command (he may not have generalized it to all circumstances and situations), or you haven't worked on it in a low distraction environment until it's solid and then gradually increased the level of distraction and difficulty, so you're asking him for more than he's capable of doing (an exercise in futility), or you haven't reinforced focus and attention enough so there's no foundation to build on once you increase distractions, or he simply doesn't care what you want him to do because he doesn't have to - there are no consequences, good or bad, for compliance or non-compliance. Or, all of the above!

I'm not sure how long you've had him, but if you're working on getting him to lay down on command for 10 or 12 minutes a day (just once a day?) and he's already 9 or 10 months old and still won't always do it, then you need to re-evaluate everything.

For one thing, I'd be doing LOTS of short training sessions every day. If you can do 5 or 10 minutes 3 or more times a day, that would be great. How exactly are you working on teaching him sit and down? Where do you train him (in the house - what room/s? in the yard?)?

We have lots and lots of threads about teaching loose leash walking, have you read any of them? I can find some for you if you haven't seen them yet - they have lots of links to techniques that WILL work if you're committed to trying them and sticking with it.

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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 09:21 PM
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This may sound odd... or maybe not lol

Once we finally got Woolf on a leash as a pup, he did the usual pull ahead, to the side, to the back, and plopping his butt down. You get the idea, a total nightmare to walk. I backed up and worked with him in the backyard on leash. Keeping the leash loose, walked a square, quick 90 degree turns, kept it unpredictable, reversing direction, changing speed, slow walk, running, average walk speed. He had to keep his eye on me or he would find himself walking the opposite direction at the end of the leash.

I had tried the stop and sit or reverse direction while walking, they didn't work, this did. Of course, DH had way to much fun laughing at me lol

Check out these videos for training tips

Last edited by Twyla; 04-09-2012 at 09:28 PM. Reason: to add a link
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Wow thank you for that!
You are completely right about rewarding him for sitting, its not teaching him to walk!

We have had him for one month, and maybe I do need to work on him more than once a day. He was allowed to do whatever he wanted until now.

I train him alone in the backyard and there isnt really a lot of distractions, only some barks or an airplane. Should I train him in the house first? so there are no distractions?
He sits nicely in training, but when we walk, he doesnt care at all what I say and he will choke himself the whole time.

Okay, so if pulling on the leash doesnt help...what do I do? Stop when he gets ahead of my thigh and stand there til he comes back? Or turn and walk the other way maybe?

When I teach him to sit I say SIT and first I was putting my hand on his butt to get him down. He sits and after 10 seconds of sitting and looking at me. i give him a treat.

When I am trying to model lay down I pick up his front legs and put them on the ground or else he gets all nervous and anxious and doesnt know what I am doing. I may need some advice for laying cause obviously I am doing something wrong.

THANK YOU so much for your advice!
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