Leash walking/pulling with distractions - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-03-2018, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Leash walking/pulling with distractions

My 7 month old, Natty does really well with loose leash walking most of the time. I use a method which employs, "Cooperative Check-in" which requires him to look at me periodically when we are walking. He gets a treat when this occurs. If he doesn't check in, I say, "watch" and he'll look at me and get rewarded. This prevents him from getting ahead and pulling and keeps him by my side. We've been doing this for a several months and it works quite well. But it doesn't work when he wants to get somewhere really badly... e.g. when he wants water or to get to the play area, to get to the car for a ride, etc. Then he is totally focused on getting to the other location and ignoring me. In these situations, if he pulls, I can stop moving forward, turn 180 degrees and he walks beautifully by my side going the other direction. As soon as I turn around, I might go one stop before he lunges forward and starts pulling again. I've tried making him sit, but again, as soon as I take one step the pulling starts again. I end up getting very frustrated and it takes us forever to finally reach our destination because I'm continually turning and stopping. He just doesn't get it that if he stops pulling, we can go straight to where he wants to go. All the while, I'm rewarding him with a treat if he even takes one step in the correct manner. All of my German Shepherds have had issues with this. I have resorted to using head halters in the past, but Natty hates the halter and it really doesn't teach them to not pull, though it can be a deterrent. I currently use a Martingale collar with him. I'm open to suggestions and strategies that would help with this.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-03-2018, 10:43 PM
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When one of mine are really determined to get somewhere it's Sit,Heel until we arrive,Sit,pause,OK! to release.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-03-2018, 11:26 PM
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Did you get Natty at 8-10 weeks? He still hasn't got this after 7 months of consistent work?

Wow! Dude is seriously hard headed!!

I'd try a prong &/or working it every single day.

I was in a hotel for 6 weeks with my current pup when he was 4-5 months old, too young for a prong. So we got to work on it every single day the old fashioned way. Hours & hours of my life spent getting it through his thick skull.

He's mostly a dream on the leash now though, so time well spent I suppose.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2018, 06:27 AM
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I recently adopted a 2 yr. old that had obviously had no leash training and she was bull headed at first, to where she

would cough and cough from pulling on the collar. My solution? I got her a Rabbitgoo Harness- amazing change in

her as she felt more confined and stopped struggling to pull. Now she knows as soon as the harness goes on, she's

in 'Behave Now" mode. It simplified her training 1000%. For $21. this has been a godsend. Once she goes back

to being mannerly and attentive without pulling we'll go back to her regular collar but until then all leash training

will be in this harness.

https://www.amazon.com/Rabbitgoo-Har...7e14fd0a3&th=1
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2018, 08:51 AM
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My trick is doing figure 8's. You only allow enough leash for them to be about 2-3 feet ahead of you and as you start walking if they pull away to far then you walk right through your dog by hanging a left. "part of the figure 8" Do not say anything and push your legs right through your dogs head forcing him to pull back. Then you turn to the right and start going straight until he pulls ahead again and you hang a left and walk through him again. Usually 2-4 times after doing this you should see your dog to start looking up at your face and start paying attention to you. Keep offering more leash and use the figure 8 when needed.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2018, 09:59 AM
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Use a line that is about 15' long instead of a leash and a correctly fitted prong collar. Walk him and when he starts to forge, give him a few feet of line and then very sharply turn in the opposite direction and give him a solid correction as you turn. He will quickly learn that when he forges and you are out of his field of vision, he will get a correction and stop the forging. But you can't give him a mild, nagging correction. It has to be sharp, well timed and forceful enough to get his attention. You also have to know how to give a correction with a prong collar correctly. Whenever you keep tension on the line as he forges, you are triggering opposition reflex causing your dog to forge harder.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2018, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Blasiole View Post
Use a line that is about 15' long instead of a leash and a correctly fitted prong collar. Walk him and when he starts to forge, give him a few feet of line and then very sharply turn in the opposite direction and give him a solid correction as you turn. He will quickly learn that when he forges and you are out of his field of vision, he will get a correction and stop the forging. But you can't give him a mild, nagging correction. It has to be sharp, well timed and forceful enough to get his attention. You also have to know how to give a correction with a prong collar correctly. Whenever you keep tension on the line as he forges, you are triggering opposition reflex causing your dog to forge harder.
This worked perfectly for my ridgie mix long ago but not so much for my GSD. He was smart and quickly picked up small cues that I was about to do the turn. So he would pull ahead and then even if it seemed he wasn't paying attention, he was, a gracefully made the turn with me. I found out that it was my impatience of wanting to get moving again that was slowing down the learning curve. To fix that I put on some good kicky music that makes you want do dance or at least move quickly. It was fun, masked some of my cues, and gave me the patience I needed to make sure he got the message...walk nearby or don't get to where you want to go. And maturity makes a difference, although he still has a few places he wants to "hurry up the human".

Oh, and I played the music on my phone's speakers, not through head phones. I wanted to hear my surroundings, too.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2018, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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Did you get Natty at 8-10 weeks? He still hasn't got this after 7 months of consistent work?

Wow! Dude is seriously hard headed!
No. We got him at 4.5 mos and he wad supposed to have been a "started puppy" with some training in loose leash walking. There was little training evident! But he is the calmest and least strong willed of the 4 workiing line GSDs I've had. The problem in certain situations the motivation to get to a place is far stronger than the motivation for my reward. I really don't want to use a prong collar. Previous males I tried tgat with even pulled with that. It seems more important to convince him NOT to pull.
We do work on this daily, but I work on it during those times when there are less distractions. I tend to let him off the leash when I know he's going to make a beeline. Off leash is not always a viable solution.
Training is best and most effective when it is fun for me and tge dog. Stopping, turning, and fighting against a pulling leash is no fun for either of us. I need a strategy to change this and I'm looking for ideas.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2018, 12:57 PM
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No. We got him at 4.5 mos and he wad supposed to have been a "started puppy" with some training in loose leash walking. There was little training evident! But he is the calmest and least strong willed of the 4 workiing line GSDs I've had. The problem in certain situations the motivation to get to a place is far stronger than the motivation for my reward. I really don't want to use a prong collar. Previous males I tried tgat with even pulled with that. It seems more important to convince him NOT to pull.
We do work on this daily, but I work on it during those times when there are less distractions. I tend to let him off the leash when I know he's going to make a beeline. Off leash is not always a viable solution.
Training is best and most effective when it is fun for me and the dog. Stopping, turning, and fighting against a pulling leash is no fun for either of us. I need a strategy to change this and I'm looking for ideas.
Training is all about communication. You've already been given several strategies to address this issue, but if you're not happy with using a prong collar, or stopping or turning, and you're looking for a solution that is fun for both of you I suggest that you change your perspective on what is important...getting somewhere, or teaching the dog not to pull. Pulling IS fun for the puppy! Teaching him not to pull in a way that's fun for both of you is not really possible IMHO!

With my current pup, I taught her to heel without distractions, making a game of her moving all sorts of directions in order to stay in the proper heeling position, forward, backward, side stepping, left turn, right turn, etc. Then, when out on a walk, she got 2 chances to not pull before I would tell her to heel. If when she forged out of position we'd stop, long enough for her to get bothered by our lack of motion (1-2 minutes!). Initially it took nearly 10 minutes to go 30 feet, but within that 30 feet she started watching me and keeping herself in the proper position. And I haven't had to fight with her pulling since.

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

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2018, 02:32 PM
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No. We got him at 4.5 mos and he wad supposed to have been a "started puppy" with some training in loose leash walking. There was little training evident! But he is the calmest and least strong willed of the 4 workiing line GSDs I've had. The problem in certain situations the motivation to get to a place is far stronger than the motivation for my reward. I really don't want to use a prong collar. Previous males I tried tgat with even pulled with that. It seems more important to convince him NOT to pull.
We do work on this daily, but I work on it during those times when there are less distractions. I tend to let him off the leash when I know he's going to make a beeline. Off leash is not always a viable solution.
Training is best and most effective when it is fun for me and tge dog. Stopping, turning, and fighting against a pulling leash is no fun for either of us. I need a strategy to change this and I'm looking for ideas.
Would you say that you are competent at fitting and using a prong collar correctly? If there is constant tension on the leash when using a prong collar, you are using it incorrectly. You have to give the dog a sharp correction and then let some slack in the leash. If he keeps giving you the finger, another sharp correction while doing a 180 degree turn and slack in the leash. If there is not a reinforcer for him with this issue, you are going to have to use compulsion. If you are unwilling to do so, this problems will just get worse and likely contribute to other problems due to the dog not respecting you. Also, letting him off leash when you know he is going to make a beeline is just reinforcing the behavior. The old saying is one solid correctly is much superior to numerous weak, nagging corrections.
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