Walking.... Pulling.... - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-21-2018, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Walking.... Pulling....

Hey everyone,

My wife desperately needs help, because our 5 month is only going to get heavier and he's pulling on that leash on walks and is hurting my wife's hands, she suffers from bad carpel tunnel...

Any advice on how to get our boy to calmly walk with us without all the straining and pulling?

We have him on a martingale collar but he chokes himself through it in anxiety!


Thank you...

Ghost -- All white GSD/Husky, rescued at 21 weeks, weighing 36 pounds, 1-9-18
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-21-2018, 01:56 AM
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I went through something very similar. What I found out the hard way was that I had to stop walking the dog until she was trained. By that I mean that walks were always a struggle, but we NEEDED to go for walks, so we, my dog and I, were essentially working at cross purposes.

What finally worked for me was to realize that if I stopped the idea of walking somewhere, and concentrated on actually training the puppy instead, it was pretty quick to resolve the pulling problem.

Here's what I did. I used a collar similar to a martingale. I worked to teach my puppy to heel both on and off leash at home, without distractions. Then, when we walked away from the house, I would stop whenever the pup got out of position. I would, without saying anything, use my hands to put her back into the correct position, but then continue to stand in that spot for another full 2 minutes...without a word and without ever looking at the dog. Then we'd start again. The second she moved out of a proper heel position again, stop, move back into position, then stand still without a word for 2 more minutes. It literally too us 20=30 minutes to go 30 yds. But at the end of that 30 yds, she was actively looking at my legs to be sure she was in position. For loose leash walking, I did similar, but honestly, once the heel was working, she stopped pulling on the leash ever. It does take some time, and you have to view it as training, not walking. But I guarantee you if you do this, your dog will learn to stop pulling.

Good Luck!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

Tim
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-21-2018, 01:57 AM
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EDIT 2: Tim pretty much covered what I said, but I'll leave it up so you can read my version of his method and maybe it'll clear up a question if Tim seemed vague on an explanation

***

Training is going to be frustrating for both you and the dog

I've tried a few methods and this method is what works best for me. My pup turned 5mos earlier in the week

Take pup for a "walk." Remember that the idea is training. You are not trying to get to a destination. A 5min walk can turn into a 20-30min training session

Every time pup pulls, you stop. Gently pull pup back to your side and put in a heel position at your side. If you wish to add a "heel" command, you can. However, be consistent. I don't bother with a command. Stay stopped for 1-2mins (member I got this from waits 2-3mins!). No joke, sit there and just relax. Look at your watch if you need to

Start walking again and every time your pup pulls, stop, move him back into position, and wait for 1-2mins

This ultimately teaches your pup that he doesn't get to go where he wants when he pulls

You pup WILL become frustrated eventually and possibly whiny or nippy or whatever he may do. You just have to push through it. He will learn

When he is not pulling and walks by your side, you can praise/ give treat (I would have to stop when giving treat or my pup would then go back to pulling and choke on the treat, so I just don't give treats)

I've only done a few sessions, and she's learning. There're times when she'll walk next to me for 20' and then get distracted and want to pull. A 15min+ going to the park was prob cut down to less than 10min on the way back

Also, if you do some hard playing with your pup beforehand to burn off energy will help. There's a big difference in my pup going to the park vs going home because she was able to run and play fetch and get tired while at the park

I think my method is from @tim_s_adams. He may be able to cover anything I might have missed

***

EDIT, Looks like Tim beat me to the punch, HAHAHA!
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Last edited by Armistice; 01-21-2018 at 02:02 AM.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-21-2018, 03:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Armistice View Post
EDIT 2: Tim pretty much covered what I said, but I'll leave it up so you can read my version of his method and maybe it'll clear up a question if Tim seemed vague on an explanation

***

Training is going to be frustrating for both you and the dog

I've tried a few methods and this method is what works best for me. My pup turned 5mos earlier in the week

Take pup for a "walk." Remember that the idea is training. You are not trying to get to a destination. A 5min walk can turn into a 20-30min training session

Every time pup pulls, you stop. Gently pull pup back to your side and put in a heel position at your side. If you wish to add a "heel" command, you can. However, be consistent. I don't bother with a command. Stay stopped for 1-2mins (member I got this from waits 2-3mins!). No joke, sit there and just relax. Look at your watch if you need to

Start walking again and every time your pup pulls, stop, move him back into position, and wait for 1-2mins

This ultimately teaches your pup that he doesn't get to go where he wants when he pulls

You pup WILL become frustrated eventually and possibly whiny or nippy or whatever he may do. You just have to push through it. He will learn

When he is not pulling and walks by your side, you can praise/ give treat (I would have to stop when giving treat or my pup would then go back to pulling and choke on the treat, so I just don't give treats)

I've only done a few sessions, and she's learning. There're times when she'll walk next to me for 20' and then get distracted and want to pull. A 15min+ going to the park was prob cut down to less than 10min on the way back

Also, if you do some hard playing with your pup beforehand to burn off energy will help. There's a big difference in my pup going to the park vs going home because she was able to run and play fetch and get tired while at the park

I think my method is from @tim_s_adams. He may be able to cover anything I might have missed

***

EDIT, Looks like Tim beat me to the punch, HAHAHA!
First, I'm glad to hear this is working for you! Second, I like your explanation of the process better than mine! I've written this same thing now so many times that I find myself taking shortcuts and not explaining enough, so thank you for elaborating! I do think it's more of a owner/handler perspective than anything. This is the stop or turn around method mentioned by so many others. The thing that didn't make those suggestions work for me was the idea that you can actually train a good LLW or heel while trying to walk the dog...because you can't! It's got to be viewed as training...so that you're more focused on getting the point across to the dog, than you are concerned about getting in your 1 or 2 miles.

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

Tim
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-21-2018, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by tim_s_adams View Post
First, I'm glad to hear this is working for you! Second, I like your explanation of the process better than mine! I've written this same thing now so many times that I find myself taking shortcuts and not explaining enough, so thank you for elaborating! I do think it's more of a owner/handler perspective than anything. This is the stop or turn around method mentioned by so many others. The thing that didn't make those suggestions work for me was the idea that you can actually train a good LLW or heel while trying to walk the dog...because you can't! It's got to be viewed as training...so that you're more focused on getting the point across to the dog, than you are concerned about getting in your 1 or 2 miles.
Welcome!

I think this is the biggest issue. People don't really view it as training and become frustrated. I know I did. Once you view it as the training and not the destination, all the frustration goes away and is much easier on yourself

Maybe you should write a detailed thread about it, then redirect people to that thread when the question comes up Then you don't have keep writing it
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-21-2018, 01:38 PM
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I prefer changes in direction and circles. Standing still is boring and the attention wanders. Changing direction quickly forces the dog to focus on you. No talking, no tightening the leash, no warning. Pup moves ahead do a quick about face and move in the opposite direction. They very quickly learn to keep their eyes on you. If pup continues to move in front of you, circles with the dog on the inside. If the pup starts lagging behind in protest circles with him on the outside.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-21-2018, 05:48 PM
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I have to admit I don't have the patience for standing still especially in the cold, so like Sabis Mom I keep moving, changing directions and circling but I use treats and a soft sound like a whistle. Whenever the pup pulls, I stop and whistle, when the pup turns to me, I quickly turn so the pup follows then when he approaches, I give a treat. This is the method in Turid Rugaas's book : My Dog Pulls, What Do I Do? If my pup gets really excited like when he sees a squirrel, I do have him sit, have him focus on me by taking out a treat, then tossing it ahead and we go in a different direction. Since he tends to pull and lose focus more when he gets tired, I keep the sessions short and take different routes.


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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-21-2018, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by JLla84 View Post
Hey everyone,
.
My wife desperately needs help, because our 5 month is only going to get heavier and he's pulling on that leash on walks and is hurting my wife's hands, she suffers from bad carpel tunnel...

Any advice on how to get our boy to calmly walk with us without all the straining and pulling?

We have him on a martingale collar but he chokes himself through it in anxiety!


Thank you...
What also might help your wife's hands and your puppy's pulling is to use a front ring harness on your puppy. The front ring harness and how it works to deter pulling is explained here:

https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/is...7_21622-1.html


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-21-2018, 06:17 PM
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I have to admit I don't have the patience for standing still especially in the cold, so like Sabis Mom I keep moving, changing directions and circling but I use treats and a soft sound like a whistle. Whenever the pup pulls, I stop and whistle, when the pup turns to me, I quickly turn so the pup follows then when he approaches, I give a treat. This is the method in Turid Rugaas's book : My Dog Pulls, What Do I Do? If my pup gets really excited like when he sees a squirrel, I do have him sit, have him focus on me by taking out a treat, then tossing it ahead and we go in a different direction. Since he tends to pull and lose focus more when he gets tired, I keep the sessions short and take different routes.
The only real issue I have with treats is that for some dogs food is the whole world and they stop complying when the food stops, then you have the dogs who will never choose food(or you) over that a$$ hat of a squirrel that keeps taunting them.
The key to the way I use is that the dog teaches itself that if it takes it's focus off you a sudden direction change is in cards.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-21-2018, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Sabis mom View Post
The only real issue I have with treats is that for some dogs food is the whole world and they stop complying when the food stops, then you have the dogs who will never choose food(or you) over that a$$ hat of a squirrel that keeps taunting them.
The key to the way I use is that the dog teaches itself that if it takes it's focus off you a sudden direction change is in cards.
Yes, I understand what your point is and I didn't make mine too clear but after the first few sessions and Turid Rugaas also mentions this her book, it is important to space out the treats and not to give them everytime or the result will be what you said.


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