Training out bad habits - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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My puppy just turned 4 months old a week ago and now that I can take him outside for walks (he's been out 3-4 times a day since being able to) I'm noticing he is the most difficult dog I've ever dealt with for leash training. He'll jerk and pull nonstop to try to get to where he wants to go and no amount of stopping, slight jerk correction, or anything will snap him out of focusing on where he wants to go. I've tried a harness that clips in the front like I did with my husky and it does nothing to deter him. Any suggestions? I'm out of ideas and would like to work on this before it becomes a serious problem.

Also his screaming. If he can't get his way he'll whine for a little and after that it becomes a full on scream with barking. For the most part I ignore but we just had a bad tantrum trying to leave him in the car to run in somewhere for two minutes and it got to the point I'm sure he just woke up the entire neighborhood. This is gonna be done serious work x.x

PS I understand he's a puppy and things will take time and he's still extremely young. I just want to start on the right path.

Last edited by WynWins; 01-13-2018 at 12:45 PM.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 12:48 PM
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Haha... No offense but let me laugh. Woke up the whole neighborhood, so you let him get his way. You just made him worse. Show him you're the alpha and it will be simple to train him your way.
Mine is 3 months and his hissing and crying can't get him what he want.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 12:56 PM
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Have you tried penalty yards? Going backwards when he pulls towards something instead of just stopping or jerking on the leash? How about using leash pressure, where he must yield to a gentle pull of the leash by moving in that direction?

It can be difficult to train leash manners by actually going for a walk. It's often better to work on leash skills outside of walks, when you don't really need to get anywhere and can take the time to reinforce the right behavior, even if that means going back and forth over the same area numerous times.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Talisxa View Post
Haha... No offense but let me laugh. Woke up the whole neighborhood, so you let him get his way. You just made him worse. Show him you're the alpha and it will be simple to train him your way.
Mine is 3 months and his hissing and crying can't get him what he want.
Well from what I've been told ignoring him is the best thing to do so he gets no kind of reinforcement from his actions.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 02:43 PM
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Well from what I've been told ignoring him is the best thing to do so he gets no kind of reinforcement from his actions.
There must be some kind of reward for him or else he wouldn't be so persistent. Try the following. Go back to square one. Off leash in a safe area and start walking without paying attention to him (keep him in the corner of your eye). As soon as he is next to you, say, "yes!" and give him a treat. Then start walking again. Repeat and repeat. No more than 10 minutes. Once he starts to get it you can wait with the "Yes!" to keep him next to you for a few more seconds etc. Also include turns to make it more challenging. If he does need to be leashed, use a 30 ft line. Take it easy, you have about 12 more years ahead of of, hopefully more but by then he'll know.
Consider a class.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 02:50 PM
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I found what works is to go for a "walk." However you need to realize it's training and you're not walking to get anywhere in particular. I tried the "go into a field and go the opposite way that puppy wants to go." Didn't really work because then she would just pull in a big circle and never come back to me

So grab some treats and let's go on a "walk!" I've done a few things to see what works best. Also, I've found my puppy does better after running her to burn off energy

One thing I did was I'd reward her when she was waling next to me. After only a few treats, she knew "I get treats if I'm next to dad!" And was doing a lot better

Another trick is when puppy pulls, stop and walk back a few feet (I've been adding "heel!" to this). You may have to pull your puppy to you. Then stand there for a moment (One member says they will stand there for 2-3mins and takes forever to go anywhere, but it's training so it's not the destination that matters). If puppy is good, treat. Hopefully after a few times, pup will understand that they only get treats if they're next to you

I feel that the treat thing works a little better. I haven't been able to do a decent training session in a few wks, or forget my treats when I do do a small walk in my complex

For the whining in the car, I don't leave my pup in the car for that reason (minus 2 occasions). I had to do it the other day to get dinner, but that was only after she had been running around at the in-laws for 7hrs, so she was too tired to care that I left for 10mins

On that note, how much exercise does your puppy get? If they're bored or under stimulated, they can be a handful

Sounds like you may have a Velcro dog like I do, and they hate it if you're not in their sight or next to you. I found that some crate games can help with that. Crate and leave the room quickly, 5-10sec, and come back. Let pup out and treat. Slowly increase the time away. Again, if they whine, then you're stuck waiting for them to stop, but that means you may have gone too fast. When done right, they will learn that sometimes you need to leave for a short while, but that's ok

Sometimes it's just tough love

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Originally Posted by wolfy dog View Post
There must be some kind of reward for him or else he wouldn't be so persistent. Try the following. Go back to square one. Off leash in a safe area and start walking without paying attention to him (keep him in the corner of your eye). As soon as he is next to you, say, "yes!" and give him a treat. Then start walking again. Repeat and repeat. No more than 10 minutes. Once he starts to get it you can wait with the "Yes!" to keep him next to you for a few more seconds etc. Also include turns to make it more challenging. If he does need to be leashed, use a 30 ft line. Take it easy, you have about 12 more years ahead of of, hopefully more but by then he'll know.
Consider a class.
I've done this a few times at the in-laws. I would walk around their property. I had no treats on me, but every time my pup came to me, I'd give pets/ praise and then go back to walking. I have not done this in a while because I'm usually throwing the ball for their border collie and my pup will chase her. My pup is a little too distracted with the BC is out with us
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Last edited by Armistice; 01-13-2018 at 02:53 PM.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-14-2018, 01:10 AM
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I had to LOL at this thread, no offense intended, because it very well could have been me writing it 6 months ago. I tried stopping,I tried turning and going another direction, and since I'm old enough to have used yank and crank training methods in the past, I tried pulling the dog forcibly backward such that she was literally facing the opposite direction after my yank (not proud of it, just being honest...I was getting desperate!), none of it worked! So I went down to buy a prong collar, but ended up with a compromise plastic pinch collar that has some plastic prong thingies on it. That worked for approximately 2 days before she was totally willing to pull through the pain. I was literally ready to pull my hair out while screaming! LOL

Then I talked to a trainer, who explained what was wrong with me...ME?...the gall! Hahaha!

But the truth is, it was me (I know, hard to believe right?). And I re-learned something I had known for years, the most effective way to train a behavior is to set the scene or environment such that the dog chooses the desired behavior himself!

So, that being said, I'm the guy who @Armistice mentioned who suggested stopping for a full 2-3 minutes each time your dog gets out of place (while teaching heel), or whenever he or she pulls on the leash. I should mention that I had already taught my puppy to heel both on and off leash at home. But whenever we went out somewhere and she wanted something, she'd get all hunkered down and pull like a bulldozer!

Anyway, I had already tried stopping and or turning around etc. But the mistake I was making was that the walk was supposed to be a walk. So I stopped, but not near enough to get the dog frustrated with the stop. For her, I think it was just a game. But the correct way, or at least what worked and works for me, is to move the dog back into the position you want them without saying a word, then continue to stand still for 2-3 minutes. My dog hated it! And it only took about 30 yards or so for her to get it and start looking at me and keeping herself in the correct position in order to avoid these boring stops LOL! Of course, it took us 15-20 minutes to go that 30 yards, but I literally have not hat to fight her pulling ever again! Try it, it works!
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-14-2018, 02:21 AM
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Really? You found that turning around didn't work. See, I tried that one too, but she kind of seemed to get it

It does seem that the stopping and pulling her back works a little better. Then if she walks in heel, then I praise, stop, and give her a treat (because otherwise she'll start pulling and choke on the treat)

Tonight it took prob 20mins to walk to the park. I'd stop and hang out for at least a full minute. Something I could do in 5mins. However, tonight's goal was more to get there to burn off some energy since she was being a little too hyper today. The way home though she was better (prob moreso from being tired after some running and fetch), but degraded the closer we got to home. Once we rounded the corner, took 10mins to go 50', haha. I did penalty yards, so every time she pulled, we'd go back to start and then some. Once step forward and 5 steps back. I was a little tired so decided to go for a potty break and go home from there

Tim, how did your dog start to act after a few stops? Would she go out of position? Whine? Zoe would usually stand or sit tonight, but many times she wanted to sniff and move out of position, so I'd move her back. She started getting fussy and not liking me picking her rear up to swing it back inline with me

My worry is for potty breaks, I let her pull kind of so she can decide where to go potty. I hope this isn't really hindering anything
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-14-2018, 02:35 AM
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You just made him worse. Show him you're the alpha and it will be simple to train him your way
Op ignore this. The dog knows he's a dog and that you're not. Don't get caught up in this "alpha" nonsense. More likely than not you'll either ruin his confidence or start unnecessary conflicts.

Do an exercise called ranking in your back yard. Easy peasy, no distractions. I use a prong, you can opt for whatever suits you. Start walking and when the dog gets ahead and will continue on regardless of what you do mark it "No!" And turn and go the other way. When he catches back up to you mark "yes!" and reward with a treat once he's beside you. Repeat until he starts to pay attention to where you are when walking. Make these sesssions short and end on a high note, playing fetch or something off leash. Do this 2-3x a day for 5-10 mins each time and he'll have it down in a couple of days if your timing is consistent. I would turn so many times I'd get dizzy in that 10 mins but each day was a little better and after a few he was good to go.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-14-2018, 08:59 AM
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Really? You found that turning around didn't work. See, I tried that one too, but she kind of seemed to get it

It does seem that the stopping and pulling her back works a little better. Then if she walks in heel, then I praise, stop, and give her a treat (because otherwise she'll start pulling and choke on the treat)

Tonight it took prob 20mins to walk to the park. I'd stop and hang out for at least a full minute. Something I could do in 5mins. However, tonight's goal was more to get there to burn off some energy since she was being a little too hyper today. The way home though she was better (prob moreso from being tired after some running and fetch), but degraded the closer we got to home. Once we rounded the corner, took 10mins to go 50', haha. I did penalty yards, so every time she pulled, we'd go back to start and then some. Once step forward and 5 steps back. I was a little tired so decided to go for a potty break and go home from there

Tim, how did your dog start to act after a few stops? Would she go out of position? Whine? Zoe would usually stand or sit tonight, but many times she wanted to sniff and move out of position, so I'd move her back. She started getting fussy and not liking me picking her rear up to swing it back inline with me

My worry is for potty breaks, I let her pull kind of so she can decide where to go potty. I hope this isn't really hindering anything
The turn and go the other direction worked with my ridgie mix. I didn't go for a walk while teaching this. My goal was to simply cross the parking lot. We used a choke chain back then, Of course the chain made noise and tightened up but never choked my dog.

With my big boy I'd put on some fun music and if he pulled I had a tendency to stomp my foot. He heard the noise and turned right back around.

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