9mo puppy is suddenly fighting on the leash - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 01:40 AM Thread Starter
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9mo puppy is suddenly fighting on the leash

We have a 9 month old GSD and for the most part he has been great on walks.

He was never leash reactive and other than trying to lead a bit too much (which toned down dramatically with training) he was great.

However, for the past month or so he has developed his habit out of nowhere where he will grab the leash and try to tug the walker. It comes with a whimper, almost like he's whining for us to go his way instead.

He does this almost instantly once we're out the door and will keep doing it for a short while up the road until eventually I guess he gets bored, then the walk is fine!

I notice he does it whenever we lead him away from something he wants (big puddle, another dog, a stranger etc) as if he's getting frustrated and is trying to take control.

I'm really hoping this is just a teenage phase because he was so much better previously.

It literally started after a week-off from walking when he had hurt himself playing and the vet advised we reduced the movement for a bit.

I'm honestly not sure if this is simply a teenage trait and he will grow out of it or if something has changed. Prior to this he was walking almost perfectly and until now he had never done this, even when leash walking was a new concept to him. The most would be too much leading or distractions.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-01-2019, 07:21 AM
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I’m pretty sure he’s a teenager and trying to do his thing, his way.

My girl is 6mo and has been a rebellious teen from day 1 (8 weeks). I tried a lot of methods and read a lot of blogs/forums/training tips. Some good some bad. I don’t know how much time you have to go on walks, but if your schedule is flexible, I found something that works.

If she is doing something she isn’t supposed to do, I say “no” and give a quick tug on the leash. After three consecutive “no’s”, there is a consequence.

If the acting out is close enough to home, on the third “no”+quick tug I turn around, walk back home, ignore bad behaviour if it continues (she usually drags behind with a depressed look, as slow as she can, because she doesn’t want the walk to be over). I walk home, take her leash off, sit on the couch for a minute and do my thing. Then I get up and try again .. “hey! Wanna go for a walk? Will you behave this time?” *yesyes pleeeease**I’m a good girl**wags tail* usually she behaves MUCH better the second time, but in some occasions she doesn’t, so I repeat the “going home” thing. On the third try if she still is acting out (it only happened once), I skip the walk (and rage internally because I know I will have to eventually find another way to tire her out).

If I’m too far from home when bad behaviour happens, after the 3 “no”’s + tugs I tie her to a tree/pole/fence, look at her saying “no! Sorry!” and I walk away. This makes me feel terrible and she really doesn’t like it so usually I walk for a few meters, hope no other human is looking at me 😉 , turn around, my nature has me kind of explain the situation to her (“I’m really trying here! I love you! But I can’t have you running in a circle around me barking when we walk, ok?! Can you do this with me?” .. lol. I wait till she settles/sits, return, try again. Mine ALWAYS behaves a million times better after that. If she didn’t, I’d tie her to the next tree until she got it.

Puppies forget and need PATIENCE and repetition to get what’s ok and what isn’t, but really, this has worked wonders.

They are WISE. If your dog behaves badly and you say “no”, but nothing happens after no, he’ll keep trying. The dog will mature and eventually stop (hopefully) but.. if when you’ve said no a few times you stop providing the fun you’re supposed to have with him (walking outside, sniffing, meeting other dogs/people), your dog will start associating fighting the leash to nothing fun/human wins.

I hope that helps!
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-10-2019, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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Hey Zola,

I really appreciate your feedback, I had pretty much given up hope on getting a reply for this. Funnily enough, I ended up bumping into our trainer and briefly mentioned it to her. She said the same thing, that it is just his age and he will grow out of it, I just need to not give in and let him get away with it because otherwise it may become routine.

I had actually started doing what you suggested! My dog will always take a couple steps through the door, turn, and grab the leash. Thankfully he doesn't chew and rather just holds it but he will tug a lot and it can get tiresome (especially when he's already over 60lbs). I found myself saying no and taking him back inside. I would ask him again if he really wanted to walk, which typically made him refocus and then we would start again. It usually takes around 2-3 attempts but eventually we can get out the door without any hassle; sometimes we have to turn around and come back but he usually settles down in the end.

I appreciate the feedback though, least I know I'm doing the right things!
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-10-2019, 03:00 PM
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If I’m dealing with a foster that is a problem walker, I’ve found using a long lead is better than a standard leash. No going back home and trying again later, because A) I’m too lazy for that, and B) I literally just do not have the time.

What I do is tell them no, remove the lead from their mouth, and continue waking. If the pick up the lead again, I do no verbal correction, I just step on the lead (which is why I use a longer one rather than a standard leash) and don’t move. Eventually the dog realizes we aren’t moving if they are holding the leash, or misbehaving in any other way (like leash pulling, trying to bolt through the door, or cross the street without heading the “wait” command). They’ve always picked up the fact that poor behavior ends with no movement or interaction, and they self correct. Drop the leash out of their mouth, refocus on me, and I will not move until the dog is calmly sitting, focused only on me. Then I’ll say “let’s go” and try again. Then immediately step on the lead if they try to pull the same stunt again.

Same basic theory of taking them home, but they learn quicker to self correct with the method I use. Especially if it’s a dog that is trying to return home to avoid a walk al together.

Hope you get more replies and idea’s, and I’m glad the going home trick seemed to have helped! Expect your dog to occasionally test you on it when you think they’ve outgrown it. Just like a teenager constantly testing their boundaries, and retesting to see if they get the same results.
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