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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My puppy just turned 4 months old a week ago and now that I can take him outside for walks (he's been out 3-4 times a day since being able to) I'm noticing he is the most difficult dog I've ever dealt with for leash training. He'll jerk and pull nonstop to try to get to where he wants to go and no amount of stopping, slight jerk correction, or anything will snap him out of focusing on where he wants to go. I've tried a harness that clips in the front like I did with my husky and it does nothing to deter him. Any suggestions? I'm out of ideas and would like to work on this before it becomes a serious problem.

Also his screaming. If he can't get his way he'll whine for a little and after that it becomes a full on scream with barking. For the most part I ignore but we just had a bad tantrum trying to leave him in the car to run in somewhere for two minutes and it got to the point I'm sure he just woke up the entire neighborhood. This is gonna be done serious work x.x

PS I understand he's a puppy and things will take time and he's still extremely young. I just want to start on the right path.
 

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Haha... No offense but let me laugh. Woke up the whole neighborhood, so you let him get his way. You just made him worse. Show him you're the alpha and it will be simple to train him your way.
Mine is 3 months and his hissing and crying can't get him what he want.
 

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Have you tried penalty yards? Going backwards when he pulls towards something instead of just stopping or jerking on the leash? How about using leash pressure, where he must yield to a gentle pull of the leash by moving in that direction?

It can be difficult to train leash manners by actually going for a walk. It's often better to work on leash skills outside of walks, when you don't really need to get anywhere and can take the time to reinforce the right behavior, even if that means going back and forth over the same area numerous times.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Haha... No offense but let me laugh. Woke up the whole neighborhood, so you let him get his way. You just made him worse. Show him you're the alpha and it will be simple to train him your way.
Mine is 3 months and his hissing and crying can't get him what he want.
Well from what I've been told ignoring him is the best thing to do so he gets no kind of reinforcement from his actions.
 

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Well from what I've been told ignoring him is the best thing to do so he gets no kind of reinforcement from his actions.
There must be some kind of reward for him or else he wouldn't be so persistent. Try the following. Go back to square one. Off leash in a safe area and start walking without paying attention to him (keep him in the corner of your eye). As soon as he is next to you, say, "yes!" and give him a treat. Then start walking again. Repeat and repeat. No more than 10 minutes. Once he starts to get it you can wait with the "Yes!" to keep him next to you for a few more seconds etc. Also include turns to make it more challenging. If he does need to be leashed, use a 30 ft line. Take it easy, you have about 12 more years ahead of of, hopefully more but by then he'll know.
Consider a class.
 

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I found what works is to go for a "walk." However you need to realize it's training and you're not walking to get anywhere in particular. I tried the "go into a field and go the opposite way that puppy wants to go." Didn't really work because then she would just pull in a big circle and never come back to me

So grab some treats and let's go on a "walk!" I've done a few things to see what works best. Also, I've found my puppy does better after running her to burn off energy

One thing I did was I'd reward her when she was waling next to me. After only a few treats, she knew "I get treats if I'm next to dad!" And was doing a lot better

Another trick is when puppy pulls, stop and walk back a few feet (I've been adding "heel!" to this). You may have to pull your puppy to you. Then stand there for a moment (One member says they will stand there for 2-3mins and takes forever to go anywhere, but it's training so it's not the destination that matters). If puppy is good, treat. Hopefully after a few times, pup will understand that they only get treats if they're next to you

I feel that the treat thing works a little better. I haven't been able to do a decent training session in a few wks, or forget my treats when I do do a small walk in my complex

For the whining in the car, I don't leave my pup in the car for that reason (minus 2 occasions). I had to do it the other day to get dinner, but that was only after she had been running around at the in-laws for 7hrs, so she was too tired to care that I left for 10mins

On that note, how much exercise does your puppy get? If they're bored or under stimulated, they can be a handful

Sounds like you may have a Velcro dog like I do, and they hate it if you're not in their sight or next to you. I found that some crate games can help with that. Crate and leave the room quickly, 5-10sec, and come back. Let pup out and treat. Slowly increase the time away. Again, if they whine, then you're stuck waiting for them to stop, but that means you may have gone too fast. When done right, they will learn that sometimes you need to leave for a short while, but that's ok

Sometimes it's just tough love

There must be some kind of reward for him or else he wouldn't be so persistent. Try the following. Go back to square one. Off leash in a safe area and start walking without paying attention to him (keep him in the corner of your eye). As soon as he is next to you, say, "yes!" and give him a treat. Then start walking again. Repeat and repeat. No more than 10 minutes. Once he starts to get it you can wait with the "Yes!" to keep him next to you for a few more seconds etc. Also include turns to make it more challenging. If he does need to be leashed, use a 30 ft line. Take it easy, you have about 12 more years ahead of of, hopefully more but by then he'll know.
Consider a class.
I've done this a few times at the in-laws. I would walk around their property. I had no treats on me, but every time my pup came to me, I'd give pets/ praise and then go back to walking. I have not done this in a while because I'm usually throwing the ball for their border collie and my pup will chase her. My pup is a little too distracted with the BC is out with us
 

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I had to LOL at this thread, no offense intended, because it very well could have been me writing it 6 months ago. I tried stopping,I tried turning and going another direction, and since I'm old enough to have used yank and crank training methods in the past, I tried pulling the dog forcibly backward such that she was literally facing the opposite direction after my yank (not proud of it, just being honest...I was getting desperate!), none of it worked! So I went down to buy a prong collar, but ended up with a compromise plastic pinch collar that has some plastic prong thingies on it. That worked for approximately 2 days before she was totally willing to pull through the pain. I was literally ready to pull my hair out while screaming! LOL

Then I talked to a trainer, who explained what was wrong with me...ME?...the gall! Hahaha!

But the truth is, it was me (I know, hard to believe right?). And I re-learned something I had known for years, the most effective way to train a behavior is to set the scene or environment such that the dog chooses the desired behavior himself!

So, that being said, I'm the guy who @Armistice mentioned who suggested stopping for a full 2-3 minutes each time your dog gets out of place (while teaching heel), or whenever he or she pulls on the leash. I should mention that I had already taught my puppy to heel both on and off leash at home. But whenever we went out somewhere and she wanted something, she'd get all hunkered down and pull like a bulldozer!

Anyway, I had already tried stopping and or turning around etc. But the mistake I was making was that the walk was supposed to be a walk. So I stopped, but not near enough to get the dog frustrated with the stop. For her, I think it was just a game. But the correct way, or at least what worked and works for me, is to move the dog back into the position you want them without saying a word, then continue to stand still for 2-3 minutes. My dog hated it! And it only took about 30 yards or so for her to get it and start looking at me and keeping herself in the correct position in order to avoid these boring stops LOL! Of course, it took us 15-20 minutes to go that 30 yards, but I literally have not hat to fight her pulling ever again! Try it, it works!
 

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Really? You found that turning around didn't work. See, I tried that one too, but she kind of seemed to get it

It does seem that the stopping and pulling her back works a little better. Then if she walks in heel, then I praise, stop, and give her a treat (because otherwise she'll start pulling and choke on the treat)

Tonight it took prob 20mins to walk to the park. I'd stop and hang out for at least a full minute. Something I could do in 5mins. However, tonight's goal was more to get there to burn off some energy since she was being a little too hyper today. The way home though she was better (prob moreso from being tired after some running and fetch), but degraded the closer we got to home. Once we rounded the corner, took 10mins to go 50', haha. I did penalty yards, so every time she pulled, we'd go back to start and then some. Once step forward and 5 steps back. I was a little tired so decided to go for a potty break and go home from there

Tim, how did your dog start to act after a few stops? Would she go out of position? Whine? Zoe would usually stand or sit tonight, but many times she wanted to sniff and move out of position, so I'd move her back. She started getting fussy and not liking me picking her rear up to swing it back inline with me

My worry is for potty breaks, I let her pull kind of so she can decide where to go potty. I hope this isn't really hindering anything
 

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You just made him worse. Show him you're the alpha and it will be simple to train him your way
Op ignore this. The dog knows he's a dog and that you're not. Don't get caught up in this "alpha" nonsense. More likely than not you'll either ruin his confidence or start unnecessary conflicts.

Do an exercise called ranking in your back yard. Easy peasy, no distractions. I use a prong, you can opt for whatever suits you. Start walking and when the dog gets ahead and will continue on regardless of what you do mark it "No!" And turn and go the other way. When he catches back up to you mark "yes!" and reward with a treat once he's beside you. Repeat until he starts to pay attention to where you are when walking. Make these sesssions short and end on a high note, playing fetch or something off leash. Do this 2-3x a day for 5-10 mins each time and he'll have it down in a couple of days if your timing is consistent. I would turn so many times I'd get dizzy in that 10 mins but each day was a little better and after a few he was good to go.
 

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Really? You found that turning around didn't work. See, I tried that one too, but she kind of seemed to get it

It does seem that the stopping and pulling her back works a little better. Then if she walks in heel, then I praise, stop, and give her a treat (because otherwise she'll start pulling and choke on the treat)

Tonight it took prob 20mins to walk to the park. I'd stop and hang out for at least a full minute. Something I could do in 5mins. However, tonight's goal was more to get there to burn off some energy since she was being a little too hyper today. The way home though she was better (prob moreso from being tired after some running and fetch), but degraded the closer we got to home. Once we rounded the corner, took 10mins to go 50', haha. I did penalty yards, so every time she pulled, we'd go back to start and then some. Once step forward and 5 steps back. I was a little tired so decided to go for a potty break and go home from there

Tim, how did your dog start to act after a few stops? Would she go out of position? Whine? Zoe would usually stand or sit tonight, but many times she wanted to sniff and move out of position, so I'd move her back. She started getting fussy and not liking me picking her rear up to swing it back inline with me

My worry is for potty breaks, I let her pull kind of so she can decide where to go potty. I hope this isn't really hindering anything
The turn and go the other direction worked with my ridgie mix. I didn't go for a walk while teaching this. My goal was to simply cross the parking lot. We used a choke chain back then, Of course the chain made noise and tightened up but never choked my dog.

With my big boy I'd put on some fun music and if he pulled I had a tendency to stomp my foot. He heard the noise and turned right back around.
 

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It basically boils down to taking baby steps. You need to show the dog what is expected of it and issue corrections (and then show again) and reward for proper behavior. Ignoring dogs doesn't work. Flipping dogs on their backs and being alpha doesn't work. Talking to them and bartering with them doesn't work. If you do any of that you may get a dog that complies in the moment but it will NEVER be truly trained and will be unpredictable until you do properly train it. In fact on a walk, there really should be no speaking to the dog unless you're working on certain obedience drills. Walks are matter of fact. You go where you go, the dog follows you at your left side, slightly behind your knees. No scenting, no pulling, no weaving back and forth and should absolutely ignore anything and everything around it. Walks are not play, walks are structured and with a purpose. A dog should never fight you on a leash and should never do anything but pay 100% attention to you. The fun stuff and freedom is for off leash time. I guess people vary on this, but when my dog is on a leash that means it's outside of my yard and anytime it's outside my yard, for it's safety it should be totally focused on me and be under massive amounts of structure. I am not going to fight with an 80 pound working dog in public.

Leash behavior is relatively easy to fix and any dog (no matter it's history) can be trained to walk in a perfect heel with no harm to the dog, no serious correction and no need for abusive tools like flat buckle collars that cause severe injuries, head halters or anything like that. You simply need a prong collar. Fit it (should be at the base of the dog's skull/just below the jawline and snug enough it cannot move or slide down the dog's neck) and introduce it correctly doing the "prong collar dance" so that the dog learns it controls the pressure and you teach it how to turn that pressure off. 10 minutes and I don't care what dog you have or what it's history is, it'll be in heel. It'll sit when you stop. It'll be perfectly attentive and you'll never have to jerk or crank on the leash or fight with it. Prongs, unlike flat buckles, choke chains, martingales, head harnesses and so on are specifically designed to NOT harm a dog. They allow communication in a way that's pain free and the dog cannot ignore, a way it's familiar with and understands. You will never have to do more than flick your fingers.

There's no reason or excuse for any dog to take more than a few minutes and a single day to train for a perfect heel once it's old enough (14 weeks give or take). And utilizing a prong properly you can move towards off leash heel within a week or two tops if law allows or you desire to do so.
 

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Really? You found that turning around didn't work. See, I tried that one too, but she kind of seemed to get it

It does seem that the stopping and pulling her back works a little better. Then if she walks in heel, then I praise, stop, and give her a treat (because otherwise she'll start pulling and choke on the treat)

Tonight it took prob 20mins to walk to the park. I'd stop and hang out for at least a full minute. Something I could do in 5mins. However, tonight's goal was more to get there to burn off some energy since she was being a little too hyper today. The way home though she was better (prob moreso from being tired after some running and fetch), but degraded the closer we got to home. Once we rounded the corner, took 10mins to go 50', haha. I did penalty yards, so every time she pulled, we'd go back to start and then some. Once step forward and 5 steps back. I was a little tired so decided to go for a potty break and go home from there

Tim, how did your dog start to act after a few stops? Would she go out of position? Whine? Zoe would usually stand or sit tonight, but many times she wanted to sniff and move out of position, so I'd move her back. She started getting fussy and not liking me picking her rear up to swing it back inline with me

My worry is for potty breaks, I let her pull kind of so she can decide where to go potty. I hope this isn't really hindering anything
As I mentioned my puppy had been trained to heel both on and off leash at home, and there she did both perfectly. But she'd gotten used to pulling HARD anytime we were out and she decided she wanted something - to smell something, to get somewhere etc., and nothing seemed to be getting through to her. While out walking I always let her oscillate between a strict heel and a loose leash walk where she's allowed to sniff and potty if she likes. So the first time I did this I chose to do it in a paved parking lot of a local dog park where she "knew" she would be allowed to run around off leash. And she really wanted to get there! But she had this habit of moving ahead out of the heeling position almost immediately, just by a few feet, but then pulling like a bulldozer for the last few feet as she got more excited. So we had to stop at first after only one or two steps, and we did that probably three times before she started to get really frustrated...But you could also see that the connection was being made in her mind. After that third stop we were able to go a little farther before she'd move ahead, and yes when we stopped there was some whining, but after 4 or 5 long pauses she started watching my position and doing much better. And I only had to do this with her a couple times to completely extinguish her pulling. She was about 6 months old then, so of course had to be reminded from time to time to remain in the proper heeling position, but she completely quit that hunkered down pulling stuff!

I'm not suggesting this is the best method, and certainly not the only method. But it worked very well for my puppy. The main takeaway in my mind being that, while I had tried other suggestions, they hadn't worked for me because I was always trying to get somewhere. And because of that I wasn't pausing long enough for my puppy to make the connection.
 

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I'm with Gooseman (again - what a surprise) on this one. I really recommend practicing at home with leash walking, and once that's solid, then move onto distracted environments. But only for short walks, and try to keep them positive. Puppies have a natural inclination to follow, so you can almost manipulate that. If I turn and run, or turn and call my girl back, since day one she's immediately turned around and come back to me. I reward, then we continue. The stopping and starting works well, but sometimes you have to throw a few things into the mix. One time it took me almost 15 minutes to go past a fence because there was a barking dog and I flat out refused to let Ryka bark at the dog. I'm pretty sure my neighbourhood thought I was crazy, but eventually it happened and after doing that a few times she stops barking and pays attention to me.

Just remember, just because you do things a handful of times doesn't mean it's stuck yet. Lots of patience with puppies. They're fast to learn, but that doesn't mean they're fast to implement what they've learned. They're easily distracted and it takes lots of repetition and practice to make it work smoothly.
 

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As I mentioned my puppy had been trained to heel both on and off leash at home, and there she did both perfectly. But she'd gotten used to pulling HARD anytime we were out and she decided she wanted something - to smell something, to get somewhere etc., and nothing seemed to be getting through to her. While out walking I always let her oscillate between a strict heel and a loose leash walk where she's allowed to sniff and potty if she likes. So the first time I did this I chose to do it in a paved parking lot of a local dog park where she "knew" she would be allowed to run around off leash. And she really wanted to get there! But she had this habit of moving ahead out of the heeling position almost immediately, just by a few feet, but then pulling like a bulldozer for the last few feet as she got more excited. So we had to stop at first after only one or two steps, and we did that probably three times before she started to get really frustrated...But you could also see that the connection was being made in her mind. After that third stop we were able to go a little farther before she'd move ahead, and yes when we stopped there was some whining, but after 4 or 5 long pauses she started watching my position and doing much better. And I only had to do this with her a couple times to completely extinguish her pulling. She was about 6 months old then, so of course had to be reminded from time to time to remain in the proper heeling position, but she completely quit that hunkered down pulling stuff!

I'm not suggesting this is the best method, and certainly not the only method. But it worked very well for my puppy. The main takeaway in my mind being that, while I had tried other suggestions, they hadn't worked for me because I was always trying to get somewhere. And because of that I wasn't pausing long enough for my puppy to make the connection.
Ok, good. I try to do the same to an extent. The main focus is training and staying in position with no moving off to sniff (I really don't have a problem with sniffing the ground as long as she stays in position), but will allow a reward of being able to sniff the grass, lightpost, trashcan, other park objects, etc with a longer leash. After about 10sec, then it's back to being next to me

Did you teach heel off a command, or you just kept pulling her back to position and she just got used to being there. I'm not sure which I should be doing. When she pulls, I'd stop, say "heel," then pull her back into position and we'd wait
 

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Ok, good. I try to do the same to an extent. The main focus is training and staying in position with no moving off to sniff (I really don't have a problem with sniffing the ground as long as she stays in position), but will allow a reward of being able to sniff the grass, lightpost, trashcan, other park objects, etc with a longer leash. After about 10sec, then it's back to being next to me

Did you teach heel off a command, or you just kept pulling her back to position and she just got used to being there. I'm not sure which I should be doing. When she pulls, I'd stop, say "heel," then pull her back into position and we'd wait
Yes I use a command for heel, and a release command to let her know when sniffing and stuff are okay. When told to heel I don't allow her to move out of the proper position for any reason until released to do so. Once released she's not expected to worry about her position at all which typically means she's leading the way with her nose to the ground...as long as there's no pulling.

When I did the long pauses we were working on a strict heel. And again, I wordlessly moved her back into a proper heeling position with my hands, not with the leash.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you everyone that actually gave helpful replies, only like 1-2 seemed worth ignoring as I'm not doing the whole flipping my dog on his back alpha thing.

As for the huge screaming tantrum that was the first time he has ever done something like that. He normally will whine a little if I leave suddenly and he sees I put on my shoes first (he seems to have caught on that putting on my shoes normally means I'm going to be gone for a while) but that was the first time he's ever gone into a full on screaming fit and it caught me off guard, especially since I was simply walking 20' around the corner from the car to look at how the construction was coming with the new house we'll soon be moving into. I don't tolerate whining at home anymore and usually a simple "Hush" is enough to make him immediately stop now so the screaming was a bit startling. The only other time he's screamed, which I've learned to basically ignore, is when it's bath time as he hates getting a bath and that much I can deal with mostly as I figure he'll outgrow it like my husky has.

For walking I'll definitely be giving just about everything mentioned a shot. I haven't been bringing treats with me as I'd completely forgotten about them until now. It's been two years since I last went through all of this and it seems I'd forgotten how much work had to be put into it sometimes. My husband has had to remind me that our husky wasn't always the perfect little girl she's been trained to become now! Thanks again for all the advice everyone!
 

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re: screaming tantrum...my boy sure could scream when I was crate training him. I never once let him out of the crate or let him think he was bringing me back by doing it. so it was not him getting his way.

I think it was that I was actually home with him too much, and I increased drastically the number of times per day he went in the crare, for everything good...and I would go to any length including hiding outside and listening to him thru the window so I never came back when he was doing it and sure enough he got the message. Quiet gets me out, screaming gets me nothing.

His needs were met and then some so this was a necessary evil for us to trudge thru
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So working on the heeling/not pulling and although it's taken quite some time we've made a tiny bit of progress. I've been working a lot and haven't gotten in many sessions (and I don't trust my husband to walk him at all right now as he'd deal with it for two minutes then say forget it and let him pull) but during our session today after stopping so many times it seemed to click a few times. How EXACTLY are you guys teaching this? I mean every single little detail no matter how redundant it seems. What I do is when he pulls now I pull him back to me and make him sit for a minute or two right beside me and then we attempt to continue. Had a few times we didn't even make it literally two steps before I had to stop to correct him again. I feel like considering it took us about 30 minutes to walk the length of my block maybe I'm doing something wrong if it's taking this much. Or maybe he's just that stubborn. Suggestions?
 

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It sounds like you're on the right track. But have you taught your puppy a proper heel at home first? As I mentioned before, my pup heeled perfectly well both on and off leash at home before we did the stop and stand still method when out on a walk. Another thing is that I did not use the leash to pull her back into position, I used my hands. It seems to me that the puppy might get confused by being pulled back into position by the leash when you're trying to teach him to maintain a loose leash. Anyway, one other thought that may help the puppy connect the dots a bit faster is to (a) first give him ample exercise, (b) begin your heeling session when you are headed toward a location desired by the puppy (for me it was the park and she always gets to play and have fun there, but you could also try walking without a heel for a bit first, then have him heel the last block heading toward home).

Hope that helps!
 
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