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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

Truffle has suddenly started pulling like a train on the lead. I always walk him with treats but he's not interested in them at all - he cannot be bribed to walk to heel for love nor kibble :evil: What is the best thing to do here? Whenever he pulls I stop and make him sit, but once I say we can walk on he leaps into the air and sets off at speed, so we end up sitting down everytime I say we can start walking again. Should I introduce some sort of walking aid, and if so what would be best? I have an Ancol car harness - can I walk him in that? Or would a headcollar type thing be better? I want to stop this before it becomes a habit (and before he pulls me right over :D :D :D )

Many thanks

Cat
 

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You can walk him using the car harness, but I wouldn't myself. My only experience is that harnesses can make some dogs pull more. Harnessed dogs pull sleds and carriages etc.

There are some special harnesses designed to stop or reduce pulling by tightening round the front legs and lifting them up, which may work for some dogs. It didn't for Charlie, as he simply stood on his hind legs, walked along like that, and pulled anyway. 8O :twisted:

Headcollars often do help, as the dog cannot pull powerfully into one, and so it tips the balance in the handler's favour. Many dogs don't like them though, and may try to back out. Either use a double ended lead or a halti-link to attach it to your dog's regular collar as well, in case this happens.

In addition though, keep up the training for heelwork just like you are doing - change direction, stop an stand still if the lead goes taut, end the walk if bad behaviour occurs. Remember too that if you use a headcollar then you must also keep up with the training. Use it as a training aid rather than just a quick fix. Then you should eventually be able to move back over to just a lead and flat collar.
 

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Hi Cat

I have eventually given in and bought a special "non-pull" harness too. Sometimes Beetle is absolutely fine with his pulling, but on his first walk of the day - the excitement to get to the river and be free of lead is so much that just like Truffle, he pulls the arms from my sockets!!

Add to that the fact that the Bug is having a week's holiday with my parents in August - and I can't have him yanking a 72 yr old down the street!!

We tried the Halti mouth harnesses in the shop, but Beetle could get out of every single one!! - We settled on the body harness thing that Helen describes, that tightens under his arms when he tries to pull.....Its a dream for us!!

I know I must do some non-harness walks again soon - just having a bit of a non pull rest for a couple of days!!

Our local independent pet shop were fab - and allowed us to try on a load, and then go for a quick walk around the car park before buying

g
 

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In the nicest possible way, I don't think you should be giving in a resorting to 'tool's' for such a young pup.

Not loose leash walking nicely might be fixable with a head collar etc but for such a young pup it's a sign of more problems to come if they won't take your lead/control on this. Learning to walk nicely because it's what you expect is a huge achievement that will carry through to other good manners and obedience.

For a young pup I walk briskly, start by positioning the dog at my side and use encouragement when pup is in the right position.
I do use an 'aah aah' or a change of direction to start with until they get the hang of things.....treats are too fiddly with tiny pups (hard to reach and interrupts your pace) plus they can learn to go in front to get the treat for being called back to heel if that makes sense.

The other thing I do that helps is I teach 'heel' off leash first, when they can't rely on the lead to know they are close and they learn to look at you. I also teach a 'look' command, Nellie struggles to multi-taks and if she's starting to get in front a 'look' will get her attention on me to make her realise and come back in position.

How does it go when you practice in the garden? Is he pulling to get to the park or something as he's learnt that's the off leash place? :)
 

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Try searching on here and looking at the Mekuti balance harness, some people have used it with really good effect, was a revelation on Lincoln, he stopped pulling immediately..for most of the time and I continued to practice his heel work, He's not perfect but it certainly got him out of a habit of pulling continually

In Lincoln's case he seemed to respond to the balance harness as u can alternate where he pulls against, as it attaches at 2 different points ..see the site for a better explanation..

worth a look at maybe ~ good luck :)
 

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ooops didnt realise Truffle was still a pup, he may be a bit young for a mekuti..Lincoln was about 12 months... :)
 

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Personally, I would avoid any harnesses at such a young age. If you're not in a training class join one, it'll be great for both of you.

When I heel train I do many different walking speeds, lots of trying to catch them out by watching for them moving ahead and then I quickly about turn and run the other way. Do this many times in short succession and you should get their attention.

Always try and have a loose lead as they can get used to the feel of a taught lead and end up leaning into the lead at all times.

It can take a long time to get lead training right and I once read that if you have it nailed by 18 months old you have cracked it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi,

Thanks for all that. I'm not thinking of using anything in place of training - just something to help if this would be appropriate. It's impossible to praise for a loose lead when the only time he has one is when he's sitting down - all the rest of the time he's pulling.

Off lead he's a dream to walk - walks to heel perfectly round the house, looking up to see where I am, responds to an ah ah when he goes ahead. It doesn't matter where we are going - this morning I took him somewhere he'd never been before and he nearly pulled my arms out my sockets. He doesn't respond to the heel command when out, for some reason - I think it's still all to exciting and new for him! Yesterday our usual 15 minute walk took 35 minutes to complete because of the amount of time spent sitting down. But he needs the exercise, otherwise he's too hyper by evening, so I don't want to cancel the walk if I can avoid it.

I walk at a brisk pace - he pulls much more when I walk slowly - and we don't stop to sniff anything, and this used to work fine. He's much worse when I have to take my 3 year old as well because he walks much more slowly than I do (so I try not to take him!!!)

I'm finding it hard to find a good training class round here. I have been to look at one that looked OK but their puppy class had loads of much older dogs in it too, which I don't really want. There is another one that I want to look at as well.

Thanks

Cat and Truffle
 

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Cat, firstly, well done for tackling the problem now. Good advice above, but I feel you are giving up on the treats wayy too soon. Forget kibble... its not interesting enough, It has to be something special, like cheese, or special little training treats you can get from the pet shop.

If you have your lead in your left hand and your treat in your right hand 9and puppy on the left. Sit the puppy up. Then put your right hand down with the treat so it is basically IN the pups mouth and they are nibbling and tugging at it, then say 'heel' and move off. Start slowly, leaning down like that. You cannot do this sort of training with a 3 year old in tow however. It will just be too distracting to have a little one to watch over too. Get control for short periods with the treat then let the pup swallow the treat and carry on, sometimes slow, sometimes fast...and the minute they plunge forward, stop... replace the treat and start again. Gradually work towards longer and longer periods without the treat there. make yourself exciting with your voice too.... don't be boring, or a nag, get chatting and changing direction and communicating, and be more interesting that what pup is pulling towards...

Make sure puppy knows his name well. One reason dogs pull is because they don't know, as 'Basil' says above, a 'watch me' command. So you can't 'interupt them' as you have nothing that they know triggers a treat. So if you can teach, seperately to walking, a 'trigger word' such as an excitingly said version of their name, quite drawn out... so 'trufffffllle whats THIS!' they cannot fail, if they are primed elsewhre eto know that means treat, to pause and look up.

Never walk the same way all the time. Even just out your door. Sometimes go left, sometimes right, sometimes over the road and left... and so on...And alternate walks that are JUST on lead with ones that end up somewhere to free run so there is good exercise but never anticipation of free running and 'hooliganing' about which is what a lot of dogs pull to 'get to'...

Training is not easy. it takes breaking it down into smaller stages, like teaching the trigger word meaning 'treat'. Its also about only using the word HEEL when the pup is actually, at heel, not to make some futile attempt to pretend they know what the word means and they might stop pulling. Use it too many times WHILST they are pulling in a vain hope it might mean something, and you just train that pulling means 'heel' ;-)

Keep it at heel for short periods with a treat in your fingers and it skipping along tugging at it. Keep your pace slow when you do this and practice turning 180 degrees doing this. its perfectly possible to do with even the smallest of 10 week old pups except if you happen to a six foot six man! ;-)

Off lead heelwork is great but not if it turns into a battle. You HAVE to teach a trigger word meaning treat to keep them there before you can teach 'heel' if they are offlead. You can use 'heel' as the trigger word if you like but something like their name, or 'watchme!' or 'What Have I got?' said quickly.... is more helpful for all manner of circumstances.... not just teaching them to pause when pulling. The word heel can come in later, its about giving you the power to stop the forward motion that priority...

Di
 

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thanks all for your advice and comments. I knew really that the harness was like giving up on training (ie - being lazy) and your advice has given me renewed enthusiasm.

I still plan to give it to my Dad when we are off on our hols and Bug is staying with the parents for a week (I am too worried re Beetle pulling my ole pops) - but as for home, then hot tasty treats and patience is order of the day!!

I think for us - Basil's comments particularly ring true - Beetle is so excited to be getting to the river @6am because he knows that he will be off lead. - Will vary his walks, with some lead/training walks instead..

thanks for your advice (and sorry to Cat for ending up hijacking your post!)

gerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Gerry - don't worry about hijacking the post - glad it was of use to someone else too!

Diane - thank you so much for that very informative post. I had thought I was doing most things, but obviously there is room for improvement in my approach and I will be baking hotdogs again later to entice him to walk properly. It had also never occured to me to change the route really, or how we leave the house. His off lead heelwork is great, now I just need to transfer that to with the lead.

Many thanks

Cat and Truffle
 

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We've had great success with the Gentle Leader

Pheebs didnt care much for it the first couple of times, but it she walks beautifully with it now - she was a terrible puller previously

i has taken 4-5 walks to get her used to it

Kids love it too - means they can walk here without worrying that Pheebs will drag them away

Jim
 
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