6-Month Old Just Wants to Go Home when Walking - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy 6-Month Old Just Wants to Go Home when Walking

So, I recently bought a 6-month-old GSD to save him from being put down. Kids named him Yojimbo. He has lived on a farm for the first six months of his life with his siblings pretty much running about doing what he wants - no training. We have managed to teach him to sit (not consistent, getting there though) as well as not to come into the house unless invited - all without treats as he doesn't like them - and I take him for 3x30 minute walks each day. I would happily take him for longer walks but he pulls to the point where he chokes himself on even a normal collar. Now, the strange thing is, he doesn't pull the whole walk ONLY when we pivot to go home. So walking away from the house he does not pull at all, he walks very nicely by my side with little to no correction. The leash is always loose.

The moment I turn a corner and head home (or the moment he realises we are heading home) he throws his full weight into pulling me home. I have tried walking in the opposite direction but in the end, I do have to go home so I stop every time he pulls until he returns to my side. But this happens every two steps. The one time he got away from my wife he ran straight home and went to his bed. When we go for a walk he is hesitant to leave the house but on the way in he would drag me home if I let him. I do not let him leave or enter the backyard ahead of any of the humans. And I am slowly teaching him to sit and wait before going in.

Not sure what to do next short of hiring a trainer (which will be my next step). But before that any suggestions going forward? To be fair he HAS improved in the last week but more so on the outward walk. He still puts his full weight into the pull when going home turning a 5-minute walk into a 20-minute snail pace walk home as I stop each time the leash goes taught. This is further complicated by the fact that treats don't work. He has no interest in treats and isn't even very food obsessed. So I am using praise when he obeys.

I do have a correction leash on him now - do I need to escalate to something like a prong or choke?

He is otherwise a great dog. Only the walk has been a pain (for both of us).
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-28-2017, 06:00 PM
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How long have you had him? He's had the run of the farm and now he's in a completely new world, new home, people, sights and sounds etc... it takes a while for some to adjust. I wouldn't ask too much from him yet, work on bonding and building trust. Also walks are gonna be boring compared to running free at his former home. I take a tug or ball on a string during walks and engage in a game of tug randomly or stop at a field and play fetch before moving on. It keeps my dog focused on me and makes walks less boring.

Last edited by Nigel; 11-28-2017 at 06:12 PM.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-28-2017, 06:33 PM
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If you can - try and do some bigger looping walks where itís not so obvious that youíre going home. Going straight, then turning around, will make it more obvious. Around some blocks might be a little more discreet. Just be patient, mine used to be the same (heís 6 months) but heís much better now. Sometimes heís the perfect dog on a walk, others he just wants to keep some tension/pull which is frustrating. Heís still young and going through phases of fear and rebellion. Be consistent, be patient, itíll get better! More work you do now will be 100x easier than trying to fix stuff later!


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-28-2017, 06:42 PM
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At what age is it appropriate to use a prong collar when one knows how to use it?
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-28-2017, 06:48 PM
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At what age is it appropriate to use a prong collar when one knows how to use it?
there's two schools of thought here. One is the dog shouldn't wear it unless he already knows the command, the second is he should wear it all the time and learn the commands thru it's use. The old crank and yank method. Supposedly the dog will obey commands faster in an attempt to beat the correction but all I see is stressed dogs. I personally would wait until the dog has a good understanding of what I'm asking, regardless of age.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-28-2017, 06:49 PM
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All my shepherds have wanted to go home as soon as we turn around on a walk. Even my current pup who never pulls, when we hit that turn around point he picks up the pace and gets near the end of the leash (although doesn't pull) to get home. I've kind of given up on it... as long as he isn't pulling me and respects the leash boundaries I guess he can be excited to get home. Make sure you don't feed immediately when you get home or play ball or do something to encourage it... Playing ball before hand might wear him out who knows? I think most the time he is just excited to get back to his bed . When your guy pulls you can try turning around or acting like a tree, that worked great for us. Key in my mind is to never let them get away with it in the first place. I didn't put a prong on my dog until he was maybe 7 months old. At 10 months old we are phasing out the prong and he does well most the time on a flat collar. If he starts to pull slightly I just say UH UH! And he stops pulling now. In the beginning I would say UH UH as a warning and slight pop with the prong.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-28-2017, 08:40 PM
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He has had limited socialization and the farm was his sanctuary. This has been replaced by your home. I would not put a prong collar on him to control his desire to go home as it will cause more and more stress on an already stressed dog. The reason he want to go home is that his is afraid of the outside world. When you leave home, he has you for somewhat of a security. Dog: "But wait....now we are heading back to my sanctuary? I don't want to linger any longer!!! Pull, pull!"
This is what I would do: keep him home for a few weeks to calm him and yourself without any expectations. Build a bond with play and gentle training, have fun!!. Then gradually move outside your yard, play and train, have fun. Realize that you have a puppy! Enjoy him for who he is but take your time. Move further while you are happily engaged with him. Build on success and don't punish set backs. He needs to learn that the outside world is a fun place. If you want to use treats, I would not feed him from the hand but throw them a few yards from where you are so he gets comfortable getting away from you. Only on the way out. On the way back you could throw them the opposite direction from going home to slow him down. Another option would be to drive him somewhere, where he cannot guess which way home is and work with him there.
He may never be a very confident dog away from home but just give it your best shot. Keep us updated.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-28-2017, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. We have only had him for a week. If I donít walk him wonít that lead to an excess amount of energy and more acting out?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-29-2017, 01:31 AM
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Thanks everyone. We have only had him for a week. If I don’t walk him won’t that lead to an excess amount of energy and more acting out?
If you have a yard, you can start there and in the house as well. He has to figure out where he lives and belongs and to whom before you take him into the world full of craziness. They don't need just mindless tiring out. There minds need exercise too to make for a content dog. You have years and years ahead of you. Slow steps makes for the fastest progress.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-29-2017, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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If you have a yard, you can start there and in the house as well. He has to figure out where he lives and belongs and to whom before you take him into the world full of craziness. They don't need just mindless tiring out. There minds need exercise too to make for a content dog. You have years and years ahead of you. Slow steps makes for the fastest progress.
Makes sense. I haven't owned a dog since I was a kid - at least 25 years - so steep learning curve.
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