Loose leash - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Loose leash

Loose leash training... the bane of my existence.

My GSD is 2 yrs old and I've had him from a pup. We've been to 3 sets of classes and he really is a pleasure most of the time.

When comes to walks though he just wants to be up front with the leash tight. He doesnt drag me down the street and he does stop if I stop but he WILL NOT keep the leash loose. I've been working on this since day 1.

I've tried stopping and waiting till the lead is loose he just looks at me and when we start to walk again, he walks straight to the end or the leash to keep the leash tight.

I've tried walking in different directions and as soon as we turn back in the direction of home he's at the end with the leash tight again.

ONLY if I have the treat bag in sight (or sound) will he loose leash walk... so I know he knows what he should be doing, he just won't do it without food.

I've tried gradually taking food away but as soon as he realises there's no or little food coming, he's not interested. Praise seems to spur him on to walk faster/get to the end if the lead.

Any help with techniques or advice is very welcome!

I should also add that he doesn't listen to easy commands on walks like sit, down. I usually have to wait a good 10-20 seconds while he just stands there ignoring my existence until he complies. Not sure if this is just an age thing or if I need to increase training sessions.

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 11:13 AM
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Have you tried a pinch collar? My dog is like yours, forges ahead most of the time. I pop her hard, she comes to heel then forgets about it in short time. It's been my biggest struggle with her. All I can do is keep working on it. I may have to go back to using an e collar for loose leash walking but hate to correct her that much.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 11:35 AM
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A good prong collar, knowing how to properly use it, and consistency should solve this problem rather quickly.

We do an hour of group training every Saturday (with a GSD focused trainer) and a good part of the weekly training is correcting the handlers bad habits. It is flat out amazing to watch your dog do something perfectly when given proper guidance, as opposed to the blank stare when your not communicating correctly.

Almost every week we have someone new show up with a poor quality (chain store) prong collar, frustrated because "it's not working"

Herm Sprenger is the one you want, learn when to use dynamic pressure (pop,pop) vs static pressure (up pressure until your dog sits) etc.

My dog thought she was a sled dog, introduced a prong collar at about 7 months old and she is an absolute pleasure to walk now.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 11:36 AM
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@leanne1601,

You have a couple of things going on.

First, is opposition reflex. When dogs feel tension on a leash they pull into it. If you allow the leash to become tight, your dog will pull by instinct. You mentioned that you went through three sets of classes, I'm guessing group classes?

You also wrote:
I should also add that he doesn't listen to easy commands on walks like sit, down. I usually have to wait a good 10-20 seconds while he just stands there ignoring my existence until he complies. Not sure if this is just an age thing or if I need to increase training sessions.

This is your other problem. No offense intended, please don't take this the wrong way, but your obedience is really lacking. A dog should be allowed to go 10 - 20 seconds before obeying a simple, basic command like sit. Why would you wait so long? Why not take some enforcement action?

When my dogs understand a command, like sit, down or come they have 2 seconds to perform that command. If they have not performed the command with in 2 seconds, they are simply being disobedient and need to be made to perform the command. I do not repeat commands, everything is back and white with my dogs. If I say "sit" the dog has to sit with in 2 seconds. There seems to be a lot of grey areas with your dog and you allow him to decide when he is going to obey your commands.

The upside is the this is very easy to fix. The problem is with you and your training and management. Your dog knows that he really doesn't have to obey your commands in a timely fashion and you tolerate it. You need to up your obedience, get better focus and engagement from your dog and be much more consistent. As I said, this is a very easy thing to accomplish. You really need to take a more proactive approach and make obedience fun for your dog, while instilling firm, fair and consistent rules.

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance”. George Bernard Shaw

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 11:37 AM
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We had to get a trainer and he had us use the prong or pinch collar and pop him and turn around every time he tried to get ahead. We have him sit, then say "heel" and start walking, the moment he gets ahead, pop the collar and turn back around. Keep doing it every time he gets ahead. He explained that they want to go forward so they are pulling and by you turning back it makes them realize that if they don't walk next to you and they get ahead, you are not going forward and go back which is opposite of what they want. We practiced that up and down the street every day and it really worked, he is like a new dog now.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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I haven't tried a pinch/prong as my trainer is pro positive but I have seriously considered seeking advice off someone who will explain and show me how to use one properly. I know my dog knows what he is supposed to be doing, he just chooses not to do it, which is grounds to use a prong if my research is anything to go off.

My pro pos trainer told me when he ignores me to wait it out but don't allow him access to anything until he completes the action, only then can he be allowed to move on. However, he cant have access to anything he wants uness he's quick to respond. Clearly this isn't working for him and we need to take another route to success.

When the leash goes tight, I'll stop and he will stop, he'll look at me and when the leash is loose, I'll start to walk again. It only takes a couple of paces for him to make the leash tight again. Some days he's worse than others and some days he's great but is rather the great days out numbered the bad.

No offence taken to any comments.. I definitely agree that I need to up my game. I want him to do what I ask straight away an if that means we need to put more work in then i will do just that. I love my boy to pieces but it seems we both have areas that need improvement (mainly me ha)

Thanks for offering your advice and letting me know I'm not the only one struggling with loose leash walking!

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solamar View Post
A good prong collar, knowing how to properly use it, and consistency should solve this problem rather quickly.

We do an hour of group training every Saturday (with a GSD focused trainer) and a good part of the weekly training is correcting the handlers bad habits. It is flat out amazing to watch your dog do something perfectly when given proper guidance, as opposed to the blank stare when your not communicating correctly.

Almost every week we have someone new show up with a poor quality (chain store) prong collar, frustrated because "it's not working"

Herm Sprenger is the one you want, learn when to use dynamic pressure (pop,pop) vs static pressure (up pressure until your dog sits) etc.

My dog thought she was a sled dog, introduced a prong collar at about 7 months old and she is an absolute pleasure to walk now.
Do you still need the prong or is it something that can be taken away and replaces without a relapse in behaviour?

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 02:28 PM
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@leanne1601, you said:

My pro pos trainer told me when he ignores me to wait it out but don't allow him access to anything until he completes the action, only then can he be allowed to move on. However, he cant have access to anything he wants uness he's quick to respond. Clearly this isn't working for him and we need to take another route to success

That is really bad training advice. This is why your dog behaves the way he does. I'd suggest finding a trainer that understands how to really train a dog and how to train an owner.

Skip the pro positive trainers, you don't own a skittish poodle. Find a trainer than can work with you and your dog. It's not all clickers and treats when owning dogs.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 02:56 PM
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As Slam said, there need to be consequences for the dog not obeying the command in a timely fashion. I train exactly the way he does: once the dog knows the command it has 2 seconds to respond. No response it gets corrected!

Yes, you CAN do away with a prong collar once the dog is obeying you consistently. I trained a 3 year old 85 lb. GSD that had never been walked on a leash before with one. Was able to do away with the prong within a month or so. Every so often, he'd forget his manners, so I'd bring it back out again. The change in his behaviour the minute I put it on him was AMAZING! I didn't even need to pop the leash - he'd just become the perfect angel! It was "Oh, oh, my owner means business! I'd better smarten up!"
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 03:54 PM
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My trainer recommended using a chain (choke) collar. I can tell you that our younger, Arrow, was a NIGHTMARE to walk. I was the only one that could handle her, and even then...I didn't like it. Now, with the chain collar, walks are easy and manageable. It takes a couple of corrections when we first get out the door, but she is quick to adjust and walks loose leash probably 90% of the walk. And this is a dog that 2 months ago would leave your arms feeling like you just did the most intense workout imaginable.

You may have to do a mix of training, our trainer has adjusted our approach with Arrow. After our training sessions, Arrow would sulk/pout for an hour or so. She would just go lay in her crate by herself. So we use a mix of correction and rewards with her. But I would agree with the above posters in saying that you need to change the method.

2 GSD's - General and Arrow
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