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Cydney is 13 months old now, and only walks without pulling on the leash when there are NO distractions around. If there is a car, a leaf, a toy, anything around, she will pull nonstop. When she pulls, I stop walking immediately and have her sits, or do a sharp change of direction. After she sits and calm down, I give the command to start walking again. If the distraction is still there, she bolts off at a full sprint; I've barely taken one step and we have to stop again. For what its worth, I'm using a fursaver collar.

My new plan of attack and only success, so far, is to place her absolute favorite toy (the end of a vacuum cleaner hose) about 10'-15' away from her. Then completely cover my hand in peanut butter and keep it in front of her, as a distraction, while we walk towards the toy. When she pulls, I take my peanut butter hand away, and we start over again. It take 5-6 tries before we can make it the 10'. Gradually, I'll start increasing the distance to the toy.

This has literally been the only way I can get a single step in, before she starts pulling. Eventually, do you think this will work? Or is it just distracting her, from the actual distraction, and not teaching her that pulling will get her no where? Teaching her not to pull, has been the only thing I can not figure out how to do. In fact, its the only reason she did not pass as therapy dog. Thankfully, we can retest!!

I am open to any and all suggestions. Thanks for reading this!

John
 

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My thought on these situation is always the same only because it works for me. When puppies reach the fear stage they get ski-dish sometimes at trucks, horns, lawnmowers, whatever. I run with my dog so the distraction goes by must faster and they don't have time to react. You keep your eyes out and you try to see and hear before the dog does so you can give the dog praise and build it's confidence all at the same time. Besides dogs love to run / trot
 

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I've tried stopping and sitting, and changing directions, and they didn't work nearly as well for me as "penalty yards" - walking backwards, pulling the dog gently towards me each time it pulls. I mark and treat when they get to me and then start walking briskly forward again.

Every time she forges ahead she's going to get further and further away from what she's pulling towards. I decide what my criteria is going to be and then I stick to it. For me, that's a loose leash, one to two feet from my side, with anything from the dog's head to about mid-rib cage next to my leg. If the flank is next to my leg, backwards we go. If I know or can see that the dog is interested in checking something out, I'll stop and ask for a sit and eye contact, and then release to "go sniff", so she can sometimes get to do what she wants, as long as she does what I want first. I also do what could be called the "wedding march", where we take a single step, stop and sit, a single step, stop and sit, over and over and over again. If you practice this in low distraction areas, even walking through your house, she'll learn that there's no point in pulling because you're only going to go on step at a time. From there you'd work up to two steps, do that for awhile, and then three steps, etc. Even on normal leash walks (which for me are ALWAYS training walks) I like to throw in a lot of stops with automatic sits, and to practice right and left about face turns for practice.

There are a couple threads where I talk about the loose leash walking methods I used to great success with Halo, let me see if I can find one.
 

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have you tried using a prong collar?
 

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Debbie, I like the wedding march idea! I think my problem with the penalty yards will be, I can't get half way through a step before she reaches the end of the leash.
You have to be very, VERY patient! She's a smart girl, it won't take her that long to figure out that the more she pulls, the further away she gets. You can set this up around the house by putting her fav toy across the room, or a bowl of dog biscuits, whatever she might find interesting. And then start walking her towards it. It might take you 15 or 20 minutes to get close enough to ask for a sit and then reach down and give her a treat from the bowl or to give her the toy to play with, but stick it out. The more consistent you can be, the better.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thanks Debbie, I'll check out those links!

FYI, When she was younger, it took me 2 hours and 45 min to walk across the front lawn, because she would start pulling immediately, and we would do the start and start thing. My house is less than 50' to the road! It took weeks of this to get her to walk any distance with out pulling, with no distractions around...
 

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She needs to learn self-control and impulse inhibition - no more Mr. Nice Guy, John! I second a prong, and start showing her that the wrong choice of action will have new consequences.

I'm all for positive training, and using distractions, but you have tried a bazillion methods and haven't gone anywhere.

I really doubt that distracting her will work at this point. She needs black and white communication of what is acceptable, and what is not. If she walks nice on leash when there are no distractions proves that she KNOWS what is expected from her when walking on leash. The fact that she still pulls and lunges like a maniac when there are distractions, means she needs proofing - you proof what she knows amid the distraction of traffic and blowing leaves.

Get a prong collar and a pocket full of treats. Treat her for walking nice, the prong collar will be a clear cue to her as to what is "not" walking nice. It can be a great teaching tool and most dogs will graduate from a prong to a flat.

I could absolutely NOT walk my rescue despite OB classes and daily attempts, she was a lot like your girl. I resisted the prong because they look so intimidating, boy, wish I had used one AGES ago, would have saved me a lot of grief, and would have taught my rescue about leash walking in a clearer, more direct way.

And I think you might have a bit of a hard time holding the leash if you have peanut butter all over your hand. ;)
 

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I know that many people have said the prong collar isn't magic, but I disagree.

Before the prong, I couldn't walk Shasta at all. The pulling was nearly constant, add to that the lunging for anything and everything. I wanted to teach her to walk nicely using positive reinforcement methods but it was all academic there was so very little good behavior to reinforce. Generally our walks ended up with both of us frustrated and snappish. It was not a good situation at all.

Starting from the very first steps with the prong, the change really was like magic. She's still not perfect, but she's doing really well and still improving and there are plenty of opportunities to reward her for walking nicely.

As a bonus, I've noticed that Shasta generally exhibits calmer behavior when we use the prong once or twice a day. I can see that not every dog might need it, but I don't think people should feel like it's a training failure if their dog does.
 

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13 months is kind of old for that to still be happening. One of the (many) things I have done (and it worked pretty well) is to loop the leash around my waist leaving a fairly short amount for her and keeping her close. This saves on the arm/shoulder and gives her little slack to work with and it's all her pulling rather than a contest between us. If she wants to choke herself then she is doing it, not me. My dog caught on to this real fast and stopped pulling almost immediately.
 

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IMO that is too much time to spend on pulling.

Put a prong collar on, and she will learn that when she gets to the end of the leash and puts tension on it, you (and the leash) suddenly go the other direction without warning. She will make the choice to keep you in sight, and close. When she catches up with you, "good dog". When she gets too far out front, you, holding the leash firmly w/ both hands, make a sudden 180 and go the other way, add a little tug when the dog hits the end and the lesson will go faster.

Then once she's not pulling (5-10 min.), spend the time you would have been messing with peanut butter etc. to work on recalls or just enjoying time walking to new places without the dog pulling :)

Here is a video which shows basically what I mean, except he is using one hand (then again, his dog is not really pulling).

 

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I've tried stopping and sitting, and changing directions, and they didn't work nearly as well for me as "penalty yards" - walking backwards, pulling the dog gently towards me each time it pulls. I mark and treat when they get to me and then start walking briskly forward again.

Every time she forges ahead she's going to get further and further away from what she's pulling towards. I decide what my criteria is going to be and then I stick to it. For me, that's a loose leash, one to two feet from my side, with anything from the dog's head to about mid-rib cage next to my leg. If the flank is next to my leg, backwards we go. If I know or can see that the dog is interested in checking something out, I'll stop and ask for a sit and eye contact, and then release to "go sniff", so she can sometimes get to do what she wants, as long as she does what I want first. I also do what could be called the "wedding march", where we take a single step, stop and sit, a single step, stop and sit, over and over and over again. If you practice this in low distraction areas, even walking through your house, she'll learn that there's no point in pulling because you're only going to go on step at a time. From there you'd work up to two steps, do that for awhile, and then three steps, etc. Even on normal leash walks (which for me are ALWAYS training walks) I like to throw in a lot of stops with automatic sits, and to practice right and left about face turns for practice.

There are a couple threads where I talk about the loose leash walking methods I used to great success with Halo, let me see if I can find one.
When you say walking backwards are you literally taking backwards steps or do you turn and go the other direction? I've got a 10 month puppy that is doing well on walks but he's pulling some. I want to get that under control as quickly as possible so I'm very interested in this thread!
 

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When you say walking backwards are you literally taking backwards steps or do you turn and go the other direction? I've got a 10 month puppy that is doing well on walks but he's pulling some. I want to get that under control as quickly as possible so I'm very interested in this thread!
I do actually walk backwards, so the dog ends up turning around and walking towards me as I back up. If you pivot when he gets to you he'll be at your side in heel position, and you can mark and reward that. This video shows how you shape the technique: SHAPING POLITE WALKING with a HIGH RATE OF REINFORCEMENT - PART 2 OF 3 on Vimeo

I didn't do it exactly the way she does, I actually found this video later. She backs up, pivots, and stops when she click/treats and then backs up again. I'd pivot and keep walking. That video is step 2, I thought step one was pretty remedial, and I'd skip it personally. Part 3 shows the continuation of the technique, this is more how I did it from the beginning: SHAPING POLITE WALKING with a HIGH RATE OF REINFORCEMENT - PART 2 OF 3 on Vimeo

Alternately, I'd walk backwards and instead of pivoting and going the opposite direction I'd walk briskly forward so the dog has to pivot. If necessary, I'd walk into her a little, which would bump her shoulder out, swinging her butt in, so she was next to me in heel position walking forward in the same direction we were originally going. When we went for training walks I'd mix it up, doing it one way sometimes and then the other way. The Ahimsa link I posted talks about walking backwards as the "Canine Cha cha":

4. Canine Cha-cha. Teach your dog that any pressure on the leash means that he should return to you. On your walk, even if he is not pulling, suddenly walk backwards. You are walking backwards and he turns around to face you, so he’s walking forwards, but the opposite direction of before. When he turns to look where his feet are taking him, give
him a treat. Repeat – over and over and over. If he pulls ahead, back up as well. As time goes on, don’t reward him if it was his idea to pull, only if you suddenly walked back without him pulling ahead. This is not a collar correction, just a cue, so don’t jerk it to make it hurt – the goal is to make it gentler and gentler, until a slight tug from you puts your dog back in place. As time goes on, you will stop walking backwards, just reward your dog at your side and keep moving forward. This is similar to Silky Leash, but you can do it on your regular walk.
I also used method #1 - Silky Leash, #2 - Rewarding for eye contact, and #3 - Rewarding for the sweet spot. I vary the speed, I do lots of starts and stops, and lots of turns. I even practiced standing in one place and pivoting 1/4 and 1/2 turns in both directions. For left turns it's easier if the dog is slightly behind you, but I started warning Halo by saying "turn" right before I stepped in front of her (or walked into her if she was a step or two further ahead of heel position) as I made my turn, and over time it became the verbal cue for the behavior. Now if we're walking along and I say "turn" she starts a left turn on her own, before I do anything.
 

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My GSD is food driven... So I would not feed her the night before, or the morning of training... Then I used saute liver as bite or reward fro her performing. Her focus was more on me and getting the reward.

She tended to learn to perform heel walking, turning & sitting automatically as we practiced, not matter what type collar. Repetition, using command, praise, attention, petting, and liver all together worked. She does not really like to train... especially as as a young puppy, because she wanted to play. One needs to use lots of excitement in your voice to get them to pay attention too.

I turned to change direction a lot when she pulled.. in the house before feeding time I would use liver at her nose... and without a leash just walk in circles... small right ones and larger left ones. (I saw that on youtube!) Man did that work well. We would do it 2-3 times day... for 3-5 minutes. She got the liver when she performed... and I would pet her a lot and tell her in an excited voice how good she was.

Walking outside if she really started acting up... I would have her Sit... or sometimes DOWN! If she did not go Down.. I pulled her to the side to make her, and lightly hold her there for a few seconds... or a couple of minutes... She hated having to do Down. But afterwards she always heeled much better....

Changing the pace of walking.. like to a fast walk helped excite her too... to focus on me and changing direction... caused her to have to pay more attention too... so she did not get bored it seemed.
 

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I agree with the prong collar. I thought it was scary looking and how bad it must of hurt. But let me tell you 5 days with the prong collar and I have a completely different dog both on and off leash. Now did I feel really bad when he hit the end of the leash going after a deer and he hit it hard and yelped.... I almost cried, but I did not do that to him, it was his choice and I was trying to keep him in check but he blew through my little checks on the collar and hit the end of the leash like a wild elephant. He never did it again. He is more relaxed on our walks, seems to enjoy them much more, and all around has taken a 180 to the dog he was 5 days prior. Now I am probably more gentle on it than my trainer is going to want but I am a novice with using it and I would rather under correct at this point than over correct and abuse it. I put it on my leg so I could feel what it was, I wanted to know what was going on my dog and it does pinch and I am sure if you hit it really hard it would really hurt. I recommend using the correct one as well. As our trainer explained to us there are ones with sharp edges and points that can break the skin use one that has rounded points so it has a much lower chance of breaking skin and hurting the dog like that.
 

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I have the same thing going on...but we are in that fear factor stage. We are 1 of 4 houses on our side street but the main road does get some traffic. It never fails..I will be half way down our road..she sees a car -- and it's immediate be-line back for the house. There is no twisting her backwards or sidetracking her. And I'm really not thinking for this I should use a prong..this is skiddish ..not rebellion.
 

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The way I read it is the dog is bolting to go after what he wants not shying away or being skittish. If it is the skittish thing then please do NOT take my advice, I mis read it (just went back again and I am still reading it as bolting to what the dog wants). My experience with prong collar is limited at best just giving my experience with what I have had success wise since I started using it and how much it has changed my reactive I want to bolt and charge anything that moves dog. :)
 
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