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Discussion Starter #1
Not sure if I’m posting in the right category but here goes!

Apollo is 7 months and after posting another thread on here a couple days ago, I’m feeling like a complete failure in terms of training even though I work on training with him daily.

Walks are a huge stressor for us. I have two young kids who enjoy going for walks and Id really like for Apollo to be a part of our nightly walks. That’s kind of my long term goal.

I’m getting really discouraged though. At least 4 times a week for the past 3 months I attempt to take Apollo for a walk. I no longer have the distance of the walk as a goal. I just have him not pulling as a goal. And I’m failing miserably.

When he pulls, I either stop completely until he’s back at my side or I turn around and change direction so he follows me. Not two seconds after we resume walking, he’s back to pulling ahead. I feel like we have made zero progress.

Our trainer recommended a front clipping harness. We tried a regular harness at the recommendation of a Pet Smart employee and that was a disaster- the pulling was even worse.

We have tried a head collar and even had it fitted by a trainer but he still manages to rub it off and honestly getting him into it by myself is really difficult because he tries to mouth my hand.

We have not tried a prong or slip collar or anything like that.

Can you guys help me, please? What am I doing wrong? I feel like after three months of consistently refusing to follow him when he pulls... we should have made some progress but we have made none at all and I feel like such a failure.
 

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When my dog was about 5 months I could hardly walk him due to the pulling.
I ended up taking him for an evaluation with a trainer who has a lot experience working with GSDs.

He ended up fitting my dog with a H Sprenger prong collar and Showed me how to keep Finn from pulling using a quick pop of the leash along with a voice command.

When I showed up for the 1st basic obedience class, all of the other GSDs we’re wearing prong collars.

If you think you might want to use a prong collar on your pup, you might want to consider consulting a trainer. It’s best to have the collar properly fitted.

I’d also recommend basic obedience classes.
 

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Forget about feel-good-for-humans-harnesses. Prong collar would work great if you do it right and it will make your walks enjoyable. I do think it is very tough to practice not pulling in the presence of young children because you wil have so many distractions.
 

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I feel like I can really relate to your post. I have 2 kids and our first dog. I have never had a dog before.

Look around you how many people do you see walking around with perfectly behaved puppies? Not many where I live lol. Cut yourself and the dog some slack. I see more dogs pulling then anything. Just keep at it. You will likely figure each other out.

It's hard for young dogs to be calm around kids. To walk well with kids bouncing around super hard. All these smells and so on.

My dog is now about a year and half. He can finally walk well with the kids running off away from home. Yet he is still not a model dog out in public. We just keep working on it. It's always getting better.

A prong introduced slowly at home can help with sudden jerks. My dog can easily over power me. It is still no replacement for training the behavior you want then getting that behavior in increasingly difficult environments away from home. It is a helpful tool in the journey.

In my opinion which has little value backed by less experience. Keep working on it at home. Just you and the dog slowly add a kid. Work with the dog just you and him away from home.

Watch yourself and be really clear and consistent with the behavior. This has been one of the more difficult things for me. The better I get at the better the dog gets. I wouldn't even focus on a word more on your body language. Mark what is correct and incorrect be super consistent. Learning about and having the dog understand leash pressure helped me as well.

I used a 6' leash for the longest time but I really like a 15' leash. I will probably never use a 6' leash again.

If you want to take the dog for a walk with the kids wear him out real good first so he is more calm away from home.

Have a ton of patience. It will pay off. Hope that helps some.
 

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'If you want to take the dog for a walk with the kids wear him out real good first so he is more calm away from home.' This is great advice. My boy was a sled dog in his past life and walking without throwing a dozen or so tennis balls or 10 mins with the flirt stick in the yard first would wear the soles off my shoes. Your guy is so young, no worries, you'll get there.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you guys for the responses so far! I really appreciate them.

He’s in basic obedience classes now but they are very anti prong collar and very into clickers, etc. I think we need a trainer who has more experience with GSDs. One of the trainers at this place was a former K9 trainer so I thought that was a good step but maybe not.

On that topic, If anyone knows of a good trainer who has GSD experience in central KY I’d be open to a recommendation!

It is definitely harder to focus on training on the walks when the kids are with me. Sometimes they’ll sit on the front porch and watch me while I walk Apollo up and down the street but a lot of the time they want to be involved (which is great! But not super helpful to training!) I will try to wait until my husband is home to watch the kids while I do these walks.

But I like the idea of tiring Apollo out really well before a walk. I’ve noticed that the times he’s tired, it’s not like he’s a joy to walk or anything, but it is slightly less painful than when he’s fully wired. Walks right after I get home from work, I’ve discovered, are basically useless. I do the flirt pole or fetch for awhile instead now, but I could definitely ramp that up a little bit before the walks.

Thanks, everyone! I really appreciate this forum so much!
 

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My favorite kid involved activities are playing fetch with the dog. Using treats to lure, sits, downs, spins, and place. Hide and seek is fun. They will leave food trails in the yard or hide toys or themselves, the name game is fun. My kids were super helpful teaching when working duration with distraction. Soon I will be letting my oldest work the leash for heel in the yard. Just some ideas that get kids involved.

I do agree it hard to work the pup with kids around. ?
 

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It will get better... :)

I started Otto to walk with leash on and it was very difficult. It is learning curve for both of us. What I learned from my training class with him is to always carry plenty training treats with me. I use Happy Howie meat rolls from Amazon and cut into little bite size. I have it packed in the fridge and take the bag out when we go out. Otto is pretty lucky to have big yard so he can run around and play in the pool as much as he likes.
Otto can walk off-leash with us without a problem within our yard of course. He does not seem to run off from our home perimeter so I consider it a blessing. However, we like to go hiking up in the mountain so I would like to train him to eventually hike with us. On the 1st trial as we took him to the mountain, I walked him with the leash but let him sniff and explore. He did pretty good and as soon as he looked at me, I clicked and gave him a treat. I tried with him for for 15 mins and he wanted to go back to our cabin so we returned. Within the same day, I tried couple of times after that. Eventually, he did not need to have treats but he mainly focused on exploring and sniffing, etc. At the end of the day, he was totally worn out and slept through from 6ish till we woke him up 1-2 times for bathroom breaks before midnight. We went back to the mountain again and he did the same exploration as he and I walked. We walked fairly well together and he let me direct to where we want to go.
I think if you keep trying and trying, your puppy will get used to that. Again, I did the walking with him, not with him and my husband. Once he's good or better :), I include my husband in our walk. Btw, this is my very very first dog and it turns out that I chose a GSD! I learned a lot from this site and continue learning tips from here. Otto now is 5 and half months old. He gets better and better every day and I'm so proud of him! :)
 

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I trained my dog not to pull when going on walks right after I got him. It went well until he started to gain some weight and realises how strong he was (by that time he was 57lb, 7 months). Ever since I use choke collar on him. Whenever I'm about to start going on a walk, I put his collar right on top of the neck, almost behind the ears (Cesar Millan style. Whatever I like him a lot and his method WORKS.) When the collar is correctly positioned and correctly used, he can't pull no more. And even if he does, I just flick the leash to the side with my wrist and commands, 'Heel.' and he heels. SOMETIMES he put up a fight if he's excited (eg. When he knows we're headed to the dog park.) When he does, I tell him to sit for like 10 secs. Then go again, and again, and again. Correction, correction, correction, praise! That's the way it is. He NEEDS to know he is NOT ALLOWED to pull. He knows that now so well that it takes time for me to train him to PULL me when we rollerblade! Lastly, front clipped harness WORKS. They CANNOT pull if it's clipped on the front. If he pulls, his front leg will not touch the ground and he'll not be able to pull. Since he knows he's not allowed to pull, I'm comfortable enough to use the front-clip harness when I take him to the mall or to the beach to stroll around (places where it gets him MORE excited than daily walks). I would completely recommend front clip harness, because it DOES help not to pull, tremendously. But keep in mind; with choke collar, you can correct him anytime. With a harness, no correction other than your command. And note this, my trainer taught me that of my dog starts to pull, don't say 'No pull!' say 'HEEL!' instead. Don't tell him what NOT TO DO but tell him WHAT TO DO. The back clip (regular) clip in contrary, is literally created by men for dogs TO PULL. That's why I use the same harness, but I use the back clip if we rollerblade, because it says, 'PULL!' THUS... Do NOT use the back clip when you're training your dog not to pull! Here's a link to the harness. Really good quality and very affordable. Try it. Try the front clip. Here's the link to purchase it, should you give it a go.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B079WDR5F9/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1528340958&sr=8-4&keywords=chai+dog+harness
 

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I found at 7 months old we had more productive walks on our own just me and the dog. It is easier to teach pups how to walk nice on a leash without distractions then add them in. If we did go on family walks and someone walked a head there would be pulling attempting to pull. dog would get excited until we were ahead of the group. We walked zig zags till we got caught up. I used a herme sprenger neck tech collar. “No pulling” was used as a reminder. It was work. Once our pups were we’ll behaved on leash -group works were much more fun.
It gets better it does. As apex mentioned other was to get kids involved until the dog is good on the leash. We always had fun teaching dogs some agility equipment in backyard. My daughter practicing some focus heeling with max and doing tunnel work with Luna.

 

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I have a 52 pounds 7 month old GSD as well. I have him for less than a month. With Fantom it was easy because he tends to follow me and stay by my side. So we practice within my yard without a leash. I have some of his kibble with me and whatever he strays from me I’d Command him to return in place and give him a treat when he comes back to my side. When I walk around and he matches my pace, i’d reward and praise him.

Then we go on a leashed walk, hr understands that I want him to walk to my side and that I want him to stay there as we walk. I do feed him his kibbles as we move.
 

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I understand your struggle. Walking my 7 month old pup was a nightmare. He pulled badly, and once he almost took me for a run on my face, to greet another dog, I realized I had to have him under control. He's getting too big and strong for me to not have control. So we ordered a Herm Sprenger prong collar. I used a few you tube videos on how to get him used to it, and fitting it, and then how to use it to teach heeling. I can honestly say he was a different dog on our first walk. I've noticed a difference in how he responds to me without the collar as well. He understands he HAS to listen, with or without the collar. It's been a great tool. Hope you find a successful method that works for you.
 

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You should try a prong for your puppy. I remember when I had my boy was hard to walk as well. I used a prong and it was really like a night and day difference. Using a prong will get you results fast, but if you can, you should look up on how to use a slip lead. That's what I use now to walk him. If i knew about it back then I wouldve only used a slip lead. I also agree with exercising your pup with fetch or with a flirt pole before your walk. Whenever i do, my dog starts the walk a lot better. Your pup is still young so you guys still have a lot of time to grow! So have fun growing with your pup!
 
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