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My girl is 9 months old. We've had her since 8 weeks. She's our only dog and we give her a lot of attention. She gets walked twice every day, fetch at the park every day and trip to the dog park once a week. She's great for the most part. The problem is that she gets overexcited in certain situations.

Examples of when she's overexcited are,
Anytime we arrive somewhere after a drive
Anytime we go into any place, like someone's home, store, vet
Anytime we're around a dog that we keep her from playing with

When she's overexcited, there's absolutely no controlling her. We use a martingale collar and when she pulls, it tightens around her neck. That seems to have no effect on her. Yesterday, we went to visit family and decided to take her for a walk with one of the family dogs, who behaves well. My bf was walking her and injured himself, due to her incessant pulling. He's a big, strong guy and he barely could contain her. This only happened, because we were in a different place than usual and there was another dog there.

I'm afraid we're hurting her neck when she pulls so hard and hurting ourselves. We've tried a harness with the leash attached to the back and we tried the gentle leader. Now we're considering a shock collar, but we really don't want to do that.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. So far, online research and meeting with a trainer hasn't come up with any useful solutions.
 

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I use a choke collar. When Ranger starts to pull on the leash I just stand there until he calms down.

He's about 21.5 months and still gets excited when he gets a whiff of a really good scent when walking or he sees a rabbit.

He's killed two rabbits in our backyard before he was 16 months old.

Picture from September
 

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We use a prong collar on our big-boy since he has learned that he can out pull us when he has just his martingale on. At 9 months old they don't have a lot of maturity to make good decisions. You have to have good reasons for them to want to pay attention to you rather than pull to make you go faster. I bring a toy or treats and stop now and then to play if they have been using good manners. The consequence of pulling too hard means we don't move at all (which is more frustrating to me than the dog). Over the years my dogs have figured out when I'll let them encourage me to move ahead smartly and when they need to walk loose leash.

If you are in the right kind of area, you can also try a long line and a harness. My dogs wear harnesses it is so that they CAN move ahead and Pull some without harsh correction on their necks. I use about 15 ft of freedom for them on the trail. I also have a pocket full of yummy treats. When they come up next to my leg and give me nice focus (the same they use for "puppy dogs eyes") I give them a treat and sometimes even a jack pot. That rewards them for making good choices. I'd still carry a short traffic leash for times when you have to insist that the dog is near you and clip it on as needed.
 

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I do not know what a collar is going to do for you. Your dog should not be able to pull anyone because she shouldn't get to walk if she does.

Over excited also needs to be addressed by not moving forward unless she is relaxed. It's harder at her age I know but you have to retain control of your dog.
 

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I agree as well. I would not go forward until i saw calm. I will go back right, left, stand as i walk when training so they never know which direction im2going and it seems to have a great affect doing this no matter the age. Once they walk calmly i then allow long lead, but reel in at the first sign of pulling and take a quick turn or stand.
I never use a choke but a regular collar 1" wide or more works great and I've never had an issue with neck problem.
 

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where are you located? Maybe someone can recommend a better trainer for group classes or private sessions? I think someone who is patient and dog-savvy can teach loose-leash walking with a martingale or even a regular flat collar. Prongs are controversial, even on this forum, but I think they can be a useful tool in certain situations. If it comes down to not taking your dogs anywhere, being miserable on your walks, or possibly getting pulled around and hurt, I think your dog would rather wear a prong collar than stay home all the time. I use prongs because I often walk with a large dog, a toddler, baby, and a stroller. My dogs don't pull, but the collar gives me extra confidence--I know that IF anything were to happen and I needed extra control, I would have it. Used and fitted properly, I don't believe prong collars are harmful and they are safer than many other tools. They just look awful. If you do decide to use one, have someone experienced show you how to use and fit it. Ideally, you would use the prong collar as a tool and eventually phase it out.
 

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There are many ways to go about teaching a dog anything, but IMHO all too often people seem to get fixated on a bad behavior and how to resolve it directly. Often, and again JMHO, you create less conflict and have better success by approaching it indirectly. In this case, if I were working with this dog I'd focus on general impulse control exercises. I'd teach the dog a proper heel at home...And only gradually introduce distractions once the foundation training was solid.

In another thread @carmspack said something that's very relevant here:

Folks it is NOT absolutely not the equipment . It is the relationship between the dog
and the owner .
It is about setting parameters for acceptable behavioiur .
TRAINING for , rewarding a coorect response , extinguishing an unwanted response,
going back and getting and rewarding what you want.

If your equipment fails do you have control?
Tools can help you achieve something more quickly, I have nothing against any tool. But none of them are a replacement for your relationship with your dog!

OP, you've allowed this dog to pull you around on a leash for 7 months, at this point using a tool (with the help of an experienced trainer) may resolve this particular issue. But again, I'd recommend stepping back and focusing on foundation obedience and impulse control as well...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There are many ways to go about teaching a dog anything, but IMHO all too often people seem to get fixated on a bad behavior and how to resolve it directly. Often, and again JMHO, you create less conflict and have better success by approaching it indirectly. In this case, if I were working with this dog I'd focus on general impulse control exercises. I'd teach the dog a proper heel at home...And only gradually introduce distractions once the foundation training was solid.

In another thread @carmspack said something that's very relevant here:

Folks it is NOT absolutely not the equipment . It is the relationship between the dog
and the owner .
It is about setting parameters for acceptable behavioiur .
TRAINING for , rewarding a coorect response , extinguishing an unwanted response,
going back and getting and rewarding what you want.

If your equipment fails do you have control?
Tools can help you achieve something more quickly, I have nothing against any tool. But none of them are a replacement for your relationship with your dog!

OP, you've allowed this dog to pull you around on a leash for 7 months, at this point using a tool (with the help of an experienced trainer) may resolve this particular issue. But again, I'd recommend stepping back and focusing on foundation obedience and impulse control as well...

We have a very experienced trainer. I haven't seen him in a couple months though. His method is exactly what I'm doing. I don't allow her to pull when we're walking, but if she gets overexcited, it's like there's nothing stopping her. Sometimes you can't just stand there and wait either. Anyway, we have a great relationship with our dog. Her recall is amazing, she doesn't misbehave at home, and she seems to be very attached to us. From what I read, this age can be difficult. I'm surprised no one has brought that up. I figured an adolescent dog might call for different tools. I'm curious though, what can I do for impulse control? She waits patiently whenever we tell her to, but again, overexcited moments, it's no go.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
where are you located? Maybe someone can recommend a better trainer for group classes or private sessions? I think someone who is patient and dog-savvy can teach loose-leash walking with a martingale or even a regular flat collar. Prongs are controversial, even on this forum, but I think they can be a useful tool in certain situations. If it comes down to not taking your dogs anywhere, being miserable on your walks, or possibly getting pulled around and hurt, I think your dog would rather wear a prong collar than stay home all the time. I use prongs because I often walk with a large dog, a toddler, baby, and a stroller. My dogs don't pull, but the collar gives me extra confidence--I know that IF anything were to happen and I needed extra control, I would have it. Used and fitted properly, I don't believe prong collars are harmful and they are safer than many other tools. They just look awful. If you do decide to use one, have someone experienced show you how to use and fit it. Ideally, you would use the prong collar as a tool and eventually phase it out.
We don't really do a loose leash at all unless we're in a grassy park or something. She's pretty good at staying by our side when walking the sidewalk, but like I said, it's specific situations. I would never just not take her places. I just want something better than pulling her toward me when she's so excited
 

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We use a prong collar on our big-boy since he has learned that he can out pull us when he has just his martingale on. At 9 months old they don't have a lot of maturity to make good decisions. You have to have good reasons for them to want to pay attention to you rather than pull to make you go faster. I bring a toy or treats and stop now and then to play if they have been using good manners. The consequence of pulling too hard means we don't move at all (which is more frustrating to me than the dog). Over the years my dogs have figured out when I'll let them encourage me to move ahead smartly and when they need to walk loose leash.

If you are in the right kind of area, you can also try a long line and a harness. My dogs wear harnesses it is so that they CAN move ahead and Pull some without harsh correction on their necks. I use about 15 ft of freedom for them on the trail. I also have a pocket full of yummy treats. When they come up next to my leg and give me nice focus (the same they use for "puppy dogs eyes") I give them a treat and sometimes even a jack pot. That rewards them for making good choices. I'd still carry a short traffic leash for times when you have to insist that the dog is near you and clip it on as needed.

Thank you for bringing up the fact that she's an adolescent dog. It seems like some people on here just assume I'm not doing my job. I don't let her go forward if she's pulling, but when she gets overexcited, the not moving doesn't seem to faze her. She just keeps trying to go and she'll even start barking if she can't get to where she wants to go. Sometimes it's not possible to stand still, like when you're crossing the street or trying to get out of someone's way. The rewarding thing makes perfect sense and I would do it if given the chance. Unfortunately in these situations, she's oblivious to me
 

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I would train this at home, walking towards something highly desired, when you have lots of time to work through the process. Avoiding as much as humanely possible rewarding the behavior your trying to work through.
Sitting or standing (sitting is more obvious until a verbal cue can be added) and waiting and I am talking as long as it takes for the dog to be in the correct mindset, if your dog is like mine or could take an hour and a month of practice or more depending on the environment. There are things you can do that cue the dog, by your body language, that we aren't going anywhere until you chill out completely, to prepare for this training.
 

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One more vote for the prong collar. In our case, my 11 month old male; listens better on the leach when he is wearing the prong collar, as opposed to a regular leather or nylon one. One caveat: it has to be properly sizes, and its location on the neck must be closer to the top of the neck than lower at the base, in order to be effective. As with the adolescent phase in humans and in dogs, they say that "this too shall pass"; we are very hopeful that with our Red, this will be the case...
 

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