Leash Pulling when walking with kids - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-19-2019, 07:43 AM Thread Starter
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Leash Pulling when walking with kids

Hi I have a 4 month old male GSD. I usually walk him myself and all is going ok apart from a bit of leash pulling which generally happens on the way home but all in all the walks are enjoyable and he does really well. So I also have 3 children under 10 who are usually at school when I walk the dog but I want to add them into evening walks with the dog a sort of a pack walk, but Everytime we all go out its like Im walking a different dog. I have them walk slightly ahead of us and he pulls, lunges and howls to get to them. I try to make him sit Everytime he pulls but he's really restless and starts pulling immediately when we start to walk again, if he walks ahead he is better and seems more content but is constantly looking across/back checking where they are and is on the whole alot more reactive/restless than usual. When we stop and the kids are playing I keep him on leash beside me praising him when he's in a calm state but he whines, pulls and is really jumpy until he gets closer to them. When he's off leash he's ok and acts much more like normal but Im not totally comfortable with having 3 kids and an off leash puppy to contend with until Im way more confident in his obedience. Inside the house he is pretty calm with the kids I usually keep them in separate rooms and give 10 minute sessions of us all sitting together throughout the day when puppy is nicely sat on floor and giving treats/praise for nice behaviour or when the kids come in the kitchen have them gently petting him and he gets praised for calm, gentle behaviour. He does tend to follow them if the doors left open especially my youngest (4) as I have gotten the kids in the habit of giving him treats when he is displaying respectful behaviour so he runs into the room there in sometimes and sits nicely expecting a treat until I call him out. Sometimes he goes in and lays on the floor and doesn't seem to want to leave but as I want to supervise all interactions I prefer to keep him in the kitchen with me and have the kids separate playing in the front room.
Sorry for going on but should I be worried about this and does it sound like he is trying to show dominance over the children by trying to be ahead of them or could he be being protective. Any advice, opinions ect will be welcome, thanks.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 01:35 AM
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Sounds pretty normal. What kind of collar are you using? My current 14 wk. old pup tries to pull ahead to me children when we walk together but a prong collar corrects his behavior rather quickly and without any drama. Like yours he does fine without children. Keep working on it and use tools like the prong collar or an E-Collar to your advantage.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Up until now corrections have only been verbal, I was using a standard leather collar/leash stopping Everytime he pulls and either changing direction or going back to where we'd just been until he got it, that was working ok but have recently switched to a harness on the advice of a trainer Ive just started a course with who uses positive only methods. He's alot better with the harness but I do feel it's Abit of a cop out if Im honest as we were making progress on the standard collar. I'm very mindful about pulling though and my ability to control him he's a straight back GSD who I'll be mostly walking as my husbands at work and who looks like he's going to be very large he's already nearly 19lbs so I want to be confident if he ever lunges that he won't drag me up the street and the harness has given me extra control. I've already bought a slip collar/leash and might buy a choke chain for future use depending on how things go with the current trainer who I have 4 more sessions with. Glad to hear it may be somewhat normal, Im just mindful of him trying to lead in front of my children on walks and any early negative signs that could demonstrate. Took him out today with just my 4 year old after really tiring him out in the garden first and he was alot better, maybe it's the excitement of when their all together he feeds off.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 04:21 PM
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Purely positive training is fine for teaching new behaviors.There are other instances where what the dog wants to do is infinitely more rewarding to him than anything you can offer.Look for a trainer who advocates balanced training.Your puppy is not being "dominate".He's just a baby that wants what he wants


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 06:55 PM
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When we go on all-family walks, my dog also likes to be in the lead. He will trot to overtake my daughter (who is usually in front).
We just let him do it...he does not show any "dominant" or unpleasant behaviors around the home and overall he is a good and obedient dog.
I personally would not worry unless your dog was showing dominant behavior at home i.e. growling at people, asserting himself over places/things, etc.?
Maybe we block his view when we walk ahead of him? Or he just wants to go faster?
Anyway it doesn't bother us because of course we can all see right over his pointy ears...

As far as pulling-
all-positive did NOT work for me! He began to treat me like a human vending machine...walk beside me for a few steps until I gave him a treat, then run ahead again!
I began to Stop and make like a "Tree" when he pulled, or make a sharp 90 degree turn (if space permitted) and he seemed to get the idea after a handful of walks.
180 degree turns seemed to frustrate him and make him crazy, so I abandoned that. Every dog is different though...

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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I will certainly see how it goes with the purely positive this class is purely puppy obedience but one on one we unfortunately lost about 3/4 weeks of professional training as he had worms at 9 weeks and the vets put off vaccinating him on 3 separate occasions with his first injection which I understood but none the less it set us back a bit as most trainers I could find wanted both vaccinations to be completed before starting. Between 5/6 months I might do beginners obedience and look for a trainer who is more a bit of both but TBH he is very food focussed so positive is working for now.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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My method has been to tire him out before the walks, flirt pole, tug toys ECT in garden beforehand, so we've been leaving home at a leisurely pace he then picks up a bit as hes excited by new sights and sounds but was pulling a bit on the way home which to me felt like a want to get home to have a drink and get some rest, in this instance I just let him pull and went with it. If he ever pulled out of this context I would stop turn around completely and take him back maybe 10 steps and start over, he would get frustrated Id also look somewhat crazy to passers by but it was working. Even if hes slightly tired though when my kids are with me especially my very energetic 9 year old son he pulls from the second we leave.
This is my first GSD so I don't know what to fully expect. Border Collies have been the breed Ive owned previously.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 10:37 PM
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If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
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