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Discussion Starter #1
My 7 month old gsd is becoming such a pain to walk/run because she pulls incredibly hard and as soon as she sees/hears a dog in a driveway she starts barking and pulling even harder to get to it. She's from working lines so maybe this is why she pulls so hard but I want to stop it but don't want to kill her drive at this age by forcing compulsion. I've starting popping her on the leash when she wants to go to the other dogs but she doesn't seem too phased. Any advice?
 

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This is your very first workinglines dog. You belong to a dogsports club. Somehow, you believe that instilling obedience may kill her drive. Drive is what you use to GET the obedience in the first place. So, workinglines is a plus, not a negative when teaching a dog to do something. I know.. you are thinking "But I want her to STOP doing something.. stop pulling and going nutso at other dogs!" The good news is that: Nope.. you want her to DO something for you: Walk nicely at your side.

At the last club I visited in USA, they had bouncy, hysterical, high-drive puppies eagerly heeling and learning focus under distractions. Hotdogs are a super motivator. Don't know how to do this? Ask the club. Why aren't they helping you LIVE with this dog comfortably? If most in the club have outside kennel dogs with no manners, and you expect your dog to live with you, don't you think it may be time for another club, where you can get support, help, guidance on keeping her zippy, happy drive in place.. while using that drive to motivate her to WANT to live nicely with you and your family? To heel nicely without yanking you all over? To focus on YOU when there is another dog or whatever distraction when YOU say so? Your goals are not to do what the gang at this particular club is doing... you expect her to live with you. You deserve a club's support that has members who also live with their competetive dogs. Your dog can be a super competitor AND reliable family member.. most of all, your friend, who wants to work WITH you, not against you. If she seems oppositional, wanting to fight your ideas and what you want, this club may not be showing you how to motivate her for living with you.. only showing you how to lay groundwork for sport. The cool thing is, lots of clubs can show you how to achieve both.

Lots of clubs out there with drivey, impressive-on-the-field dogs who DO calmly stroll down the street, relax in the house, and look to their handlers when told to do so. So many great supportive clubs with family dogs actively doing competetive sport. Do your best to find one!


PS-- And also, you will need to think for yourself on the dog-reactivity issue. This means, be careful about the advice. Use your head and your gut instincts here.. WATCH your dog's reactions to whatever methods the club suggests. Example: "Hah! She won't react to the correction? Use a prong collar!" Yeah, that'll get her attention, alright-- but it can often ramp up frustration aggression to the point that it wildly escalates on-lead doggy reactivity issues. It may be that focuswork, not a different collar, is going to help. (I never suggest a prong for doggy reactivity... it can add tension and ramp up the idea in her brain of dogs = major stress)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice. I was suggested to run with her so she has no time to try go to the other dogs but she's now just running even faster to try get to the gates. I will have to ask again at the club tonight.

Clubs are few and far between here and this one is too convenient, 3 mins drive, to ever think about leaving. The next one is about an hours drive away. The club is currently ranked number one in the country so its not as if people don't know much there.
 

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Craig,

I don't think it is a question of people not knowing much, but more a question of the lifestyle they prefer for their dogs. I know our club has a mix of both and they don't particularly shove one method down your throat. While I respect all the advice I get in this club (and trust me, the support is a LOT), I also know that ultimately it is up to ME to decide what I want to do and what is right for my dogs. They are not going to make that choice for me.

I want a dog that I can live with and have fun with. So I stacked the deck in my favor by going to someone who breeds the sort of dog I like, not necessarily what someone thinks is the current trend in the sport. I got incredibly lucky in that I got not just a dog that I can live with and has been perfect in the house since she was a wee pup, but also a dog that can do very well competitively, if I get my act together.

We do all the normal things that people do - go for walks, go places and I have no problems letting her know if her behaviour is inappropriate. She has had house manners since she was young - sch dog or not, she had to learn to be a part of the family. I guess I did something right, because I have not yet been told that I have killed drive in her.

I know others will chime in with how to deal with reactivity, but the one person whose posts helped me out in this regard was that of Anne (Vandal on this board). Pay close attention to what she says, because she is one of the few people who actually knows what she is taking about.

All I do want to tell you is to not over think this too much and get carried away by what someone else tells you to do. Always remember this is YOUR dog and she trusts YOU. Don't do anything to make her question your commitment to her.

I know I have told you this many times before, but I feel I need to say it one more time. Rankings mean squat to me. They may be #1, but they may not be the right club for me and my dog. I know ranking is one basis to go by when you are relatively new to the sport, but that is not the only yardstick. Try and get a feel of how they train their dogs and interact with their dogs.

Good Luck.

Nandini
 

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Quite honestly if training methods are better at the club an hour a way you will save more than the gas $$ and time by making the drive. There are several members who "belong" to one club but frequently visit other clubs for training as well. If the dogs at the club you currently belong to believe in leaving their dogs in the kennel and do not actually live with them, how do you expect them to help you deal with situations that they never encounter?

I would also recommend that you do NOT run with your dog in an urban setting (assuming you live in a city). The constant pounding on concret and hard surfaces is NOT good for joints on a 7 month old developing puppy. Is there any "quiet" place you can take her for long brisk walks while you gather information to work her through this situation.
 

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Hi Craig,

Something I forgot to add - physical exercise only increases endurance over time. You also want to mentally tire your dog. Think about that. You could track her and tire her out that way.

Nandini
 

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They don't know much there. Aren't you having a tough time? You have a smart dog, and are a smart guy. What they know at the 3-minutes-away club is how to get some flash-n-dash.. and maybe even how to have a wonderful sport dog too, but, nobody is providing you with the experience of how to LIVE WITH a nice drivey dog.

Chris, you are shopping at THE BEST shoe shop EVER... but what you want to buy is a great set of fishing tackle.
Go drive to the club where they have what you need: Experienced competitors who love the sport.. and who have experience living WITH their nice drivey dogs!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok let me explain how the club works. You could say there are two groups that train there: The males and one or two other females and then the females. The females are the less serious and have their dogs living with them, inside the house, sleeping on the bed etc although they keep dogs separated.

The males and the one or two females are the ones with kenneled dogs. They usually come down on the saturday and sometimes the tues as well.

The females usually come down most nights and they are dual members at the other club which they usually train at on a sunday morning. I'm sure I can ask them about the walking issue although most of them don't walk their dogs on the streets like me but rather take them down to the club for a run about and maybe running the blinds too.

I started doing basic positions such as sit, down etc but when the trainer saw this he said the dog was behaving too well for a pup and should be driving into me and jumping up for the food and not just sitting in front like a well mannered girl. I went back to basics with just getting her to drive into me, pushing her away so she comes back even quicker and she's finally giving me reason to don gloves unlike in the beginning when she nibbled it nicely out of my hands. I think I need to get this drive even higher before putting positions in although iI sometimes do a few in drive with a ball.
 

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Doggiedad,

The pup is 7 months old but he just got her fairly recently. He hasn't had her since she was a baby puppy.
 

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I've starting popping her on the leash when she wants to go to the other dogs but she doesn't seem too phased.

Punishing her in the presents of other dogs only creates dog aggression.
Her pulling has nothing to do with being working line- she's just an unruly dog who was never taught anything. I would expect such behavior from any dog growing up in a kennel only.
Get her used to a Gentle Leader (with another snap attached to the regular collar) and reward positive behavior. Learn to read the dogs bodylanguage and turn around everytime she gets aroused at another dog (or else). Getting her socialized with other dogs inbetween would certainly benefit too.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The funny thing is she has very little interest in my other dogs and barely pays them any attention when they're on the other side of the fence.
 

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I am a little stunned at the sex descrimination against the bitches at your clubs. The girls can work just as well as the boys. At least they get to be real dogs and live in the house with their people and aren't just trotted out of their kennels once or twice a week.

I'm not a fan of gentle leaders. They work for some people, but I just don't see any purpose to them. I would put a pinch collar on your dog and correct her for pulling or any other bad behavior when on leash. You must remember to praise like crazy immediately after the correction when your dog has stopped the behavior and looks at you, even if it is for just a few seconds. You want your dog to associate looking at you and not pulling to be a very good thing. I prefer to give a few sharp corrections with praise to get the dog to stop the bad behavior immediately and then you can quit nagging the dog by being dragged or yelling repeatedly at her. You can set your dog up after that by knowing where there is a dog she will bark and lunge at and finding a distance where she won't do that and walk by, praising the whole time. Then you can do this closer and closer so she builds on success.
 

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Originally Posted By: ElaineI am a little stunned at the sex descrimination against the bitches at your clubs. The girls can work just as well as the boys.
As I understand he was talking about human males and females
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I was referring to the people not the dogs lol. I'm hoping so because i've just got a bitch now. I think i'll have to instill some discipline with her. It's not dog aggression but she needs to learn i wont accept it. I did some popping and changing direction this morning and it seemed to help.
 

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I've been using a prong colar with my one year old rescue. We've had her 6 months. She heels beautifully except when there is another large breed dog around, as she wants to "play". When this happens, I snap her leash and immediately use the sit command. It has definately helped.
 

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I was also having a VERY difficult time walking my 7month old Shadow. I took a neighbors' advice and got a "halti". It is very similar to the Gentle Leader. It was an instant improvement. We've had it for about a month now, and I am enjoying our walks again. He rarely if ever pulls now, to the point that I will let my 7 year old daughter hold his lead (with me right beside her in case of problems.) We have also begun trying to walk again on just his flat collar. If he doesn't pull, he gets to keep his flat collar, as soon as he pulls, on goes the halti. What a difference.
 

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Craig,

Again, if you post these questions in this section you will get answers like "use a halti". No offense to pet owners, but he has a working female that you want to be a wild child at this age. You need to be careful, as she is female which means she is more likely to be sensitive. At 6-7 months, I did not even attempt to walk my female. It was not worth the frustration, and I did not want to correct her to the point of making her sensitive to me. I put her into the truck and then out to a field for drive building, inductive obedience in drive and exercise. At about 10-12 months I started to let her self correct on a prong while walking. If I were to do it all over again, I would NOT use an agitation collar for protection work and only use a harness. I would then introduce a prong early and only use light pressure to keep the dog very sensitive to it. Pick whichever one you like and go with it, but I would stay away from situations where you will need to correct her for another 3-4 months.
 

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Morgan is also a rescue but she's working line and I was thinking about doing SchH with her - didn't becuase the kids came along but I was leaning that way. I used a harness like John is talking about and held off on the prong until she was about 9 months. Wouldn't say she's sensitive to it any more than my males.

Morgan walks wonderfully with the prong on. At her age, I just use it occasionally to perfect her behavior (read, after she's tried to walk me!) With a fur saver, it's more work for me but she learned to self correct when she hears the links click as they're pulling up.
 

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Originally Posted By: AmaruqQuite honestly if training methods are better at the club an hour a way you will save more than the gas $$ and time by making the drive. There are several members who "belong" to one club but frequently visit other clubs for training as well. If the dogs at the club you currently belong to believe in leaving their dogs in the kennel and do not actually live with them, how do you expect them to help you deal with situations that they never encounter?
I think this is a very valid point. And based on some of Craig's previous statements and questions on the board, I must say I really do question the quality of the training and the ability (or lackthereof) to mentor newbies that this club has.


Pinch collar and let her correct herself or head halter (though I usually hate these, they can be good for redirection.. just don't ever, ever let her lunge and hit the end of a leash with one) if a tool is needed to manage her behavior while you work on training.

When you go out with her, take along a pouch full of tasty treats and her favorite toy. When approaching a situation where you know she will become fixated on other dogs, use the treats/toy to get her attention on you BEFORE she can fixate. Redirect her attention toward you and reward her for paying attention to you. In time, she will learn you are more interesting and thus more worthy of her attention than anything else. She'll ignore other dogs and other distractions in favor of paying attention to you. And she'll develop the behavioral pattern of directing her attention to you whenever placed in a distracting situation, because she's learned through repetition to expect you to ask for her attention in those situations, and to reward her for giving it.

Whether raising a dog for SchH or for a pet, one of the most important keys to a success is building a relationship where the dog views the handler as the most fun and interesting thing in the entire world.
 
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