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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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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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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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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-Ha...&linkId=f8ccf5415942d31049113f07e14fd0a3&th=1
 

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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #8
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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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.
 

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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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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.
That's certainly a perspective to ponder on, I'm interested to see what kind of responses you get to deal with this in a fun & positive way. Of course, engagement games would be where I'd start if I was trying to go about it in that manner.

However, most likely the responses you're going to get on here (including my own) will be from a very different perspective. I view this issue as one of the foundations of training and establishment of the parameters of the relationship, making it one of the few elements that's just not going to be much fun for anyone.

It's the "I want Lucky charms dad, please please please!!! No. But but but WWWWHHHYYY?!?! Because I said so and stop that blubbering before I really give you something to cry about" of dog training. We're going where I say we're going, when I say we're going, on a path and at a speed of my choosing, because I'm a human and you're a dog. Deal with it.

Everything else I do with my dogs is fun and motivational, because the boundaries of our little benevolent dictatorship have already been established and enforced. That's why I follow the traditional methods most of the time, effective beneficial and balanced. I'll avoid opening the can of worms that is arguing prong collars.

Just explaining my thought process. The old $0.02, worth what you paid for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
No I don't think I am competent with the prong collar. I used it on my first shepherd, a 95 lb male and never did teach him not to pull. But then I didn't know much about training though I did take a starter class offered by the breeder. Iko, the first guy, developed a problem with a disc in his neck. I wasn't sure if it was from pulling on the collar or from playing fetch with the largest Kong ball. So I stopped using both with him. I also tried the prong with Grendel, my 2nd GSD. He was much smaller (about 75 lbs) but extremely high drive and reactive. The prong did nothing to slow him down. I switched to a head halter which did slow him down but not entirely. Dasha, my 3rd, is a medium drive, high anxiety, independent girl. With her I use a Martingale collar and a head halter when we are out in town and she is more anxious. With her the halter serves to transfer control to me and she then focuses and does what she's been trained to do. When at home she can loose leash walk just fine and can heel off leash with the Martingale collar. When she was Natty's age, I used the halter on her around the yard/woods as well because she wanted to go too fast and pull. I think what helped her most, was teaching her to heel off leash so that she has to focus to me. I have recently added an eCollar for her because she did have an issue with infrequently taking off after a squirrel or rabbit. I've also used the eCollar to bring her back into focus when heeling off leash during times when she's really excited, like when we're going out to play. She is getting better and better at doing this correctly without stimulation. So I think I can get Natty to this point eventually without a prong collar. I will eventually use the eCollar with him, but not until he clearly understands the skill. I don't begrudge your use of the prong collar; I just don't have confidence in my ability to use it correctly. Today I tried the "figure eight" idea posted above and it worked fairly well to bring Natty back into focus. I have tried walking further in the opposite direction but these dogs know the schedule and still anticipate what is to come, so it really doesn't help much. I'll just keep struggling through it and I need to devote time to teaching him to heel off leash as well.

BTW, for the past week I've started taking both dogs out together for our morning walk. So far they are both doing great. They both walk on my left, as they've been trained to do, with Dasha, the older, on the outside. I keep Natty in close with a short leash (assisted by a knot in it). They stay right by my side the whole way around the property. It's a walk on a familiar path but good practice for them both.
 

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I think it is good that you can be honest with yourself and recognize you don't know how to use a prong collar effectively. But it is a fundamental tool that you should become proficient in using. I train with some people who have extremely high drive Mals and they have great control over them through a combination of using operant learning principles and compulsion with a prong collar. Prong collars with the smaller links give a better correction IMO. I am all for laying a foundation based on positive reinforcement and a dog developing indirect learning or self discovery, but there are times when compulsion is required. I'm thinking if you don't know how to use a prong collar correctly, why do you think you know how to use an e-collar correctly?
 

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I'm thinking if you don't know how to use a prong collar correctly, why do you think you know how to use an e-collar correctly?

With the prong collar, I tended to pull hard and not let go quickly enough. I know that a quick tug is what is supposed to be done, but somehow I have trouble with the timing. And then there is the fact that I have tried this method and failed with it in the past. I'm 65, small, and female, so I cannot rely on physical force to deal with these dogs. Instead I work on training them to cooperate via positive reinforcement. I have had more success with positive training than any other method. I'm sure that YOU could work with my dogs with a prong collar and get them walking correctly in no time, but that doesn't mean that I can do it the same way.

I understand that the use of both types of collars depends on consistency and timing. The big difference is that with a eCollar there is no pulling on the neck and therefore no risk of physical damage. I admit that I am new to the eCollar but I've been watching Larry Krohn's videos and reading his book to learn how to use it correctly. I added the eCollar into my training because I don't have 100% foolproof recalls with my dogs when they are distracted by squirrels and rabbits. I had to do something to ensure that they didn't go running off into the woods onto a neighbor's land. The eCollar has worked well for this. I don't rely on it exclusively and continue to train the recall in hopes that one day the eCollar won't be needed.
 

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E- collars can also be a very effective tool if that works better for you. Their biggest shortcoming is that many dogs easily become collar smart and won't obey if they are not wearing the collar.
 

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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-Ha...&linkId=f8ccf5415942d31049113f07e14fd0a3&th=1
X2!! Major is a 90# puppy loaded with energy and still a bit scared. A passing trash truck resulted in him pulling me a good 50 feet. He is also so distracted by all the new stuff outside he often ignores me. The first walk with this harness was phenomenal. No pulling at anytime. He listened to all commands and walked by the storm drain without freaking out. It is worth far more than $21.
 

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Harnesses generally encourage pulling. That is why they are worn in weight pulling contests. It could be that the pressure the harness put on your dog's sides helped relax him, since he sounds a bit nervy. There is research that shows pressure on the sides and chest of an animal can promote calm.
 

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We trained Inga to over 30 commands and no treats at all were used, only praise. She is a ranch dog and must not be allowed to chase deer or sounders of wild hogs or calves of mama cows that can kill her, so she wears an e collar at all times. It also has a beep and a vibrate function and is effective to 500 yards as a signaling device. Heck yes she is collar wise, so what? Better wise and not dead.

I notice on the Sportdog e collar site there is a trainer vid of a guy using the e collar to train the heel. We did not use this method, but what he does is have the dog heeling to his knee. If the dog gets ahead or behind he gives a constant very low level (but annoying) stim untill the dog has put himself back in position.Then it stops. So the dog learns to heel in position to avoid this low level annoyance.
 

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“Their biggest shortcoming is that many dogs easily become collar smart and won't obey if they are not wearing the collar.”

Happens with a prong, too.
 
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