I have two Dogue De Bordeauxs. An almost four year old neutered male and a spayed female who is less than two. The male we've had since he was six months old and the girl since she was seventeen months. I think we've had her for just over sixth months now.
I have always had a dog and currently we have six. The two DDBs, two Staffies, a King Charles Cavalier and a Papillon. I say this so that you know I'm an experienced dog owner.
The female DDB is bonkers! While she is awake she is like a kangaroo on speed. That's fine as the younger Staffie likes boinging around the house with her but I can't control her when we're out and I've now stopped walking her (DP takes her for all walks now). At almost 10 stone she's heavier than me and when she decides she wants to go somewhere I can't hold her back. Our male weighs over 12 stone but he's so laid back and lazy it's actually getting him to walk that's the problem - I once had two police officers trying to help me get him to walk when he sat down one day and wouldn't budge and often he'll stop outside next doors drive and refuses to go any further.
But Doris is a whole other kettle of fish! She won't walk to heel, she won't come back if she's off lead and you call her and I'm not sure what to do. All our other dogs are pretty well behaved. They just seemed to pick up what they're meant to do really quickly with the help of mini sausages .
We've talked about enrolling her with a trainer. It'll be DP that takes her but he's so busy at the moment that it'll be a few weeks until that gets underway. In the meantime what can we do? Have any of you had experience of training a headstrong kangaroo that weighs a ton?
Friend of mine has a lab, who used to pull, she got a halti harness and it cured her problem. I have used halti head collar, gentle leader and halti harness for pulling dogs all with success, may be try one of those?
I tried halters but my girl just pulls more with any pressure against her chest. Head collars didn't work until I got a gentle leader. She doesn't seem to be able to pull on it but it also appears to calm her down.
We've spent months trying to train her to walk without pulling and whilst she's much better, if something catches her eye, I didn't stand a chance so need to stick with the gentle leader.
Your girl is still very young and exuberant so I'd try various head collars and halters as simply training her to walk nicely won't give you confidence to deal with her just yet.
Have you tried a head collar? Kisi do them bespoke made. You can choose your colour / fabrics. They mail order but they are so helpful, give them a call and discuss your needs.
As with anything new its time and patients. If you do decide to get one, or anything different to what you have now, short bursts of exposure with maximum reward. For example, during the ad break have your dog try it on while you reward with cheese / sausage / something v v yummy. Your dog will associate the harness / head collar with a positive thing.
Next step would be walk around the house with it. Again with a high value treat. Then move out to the garden. And finally a short walk. Should take 10 days to fortnight.
I did this with a foster American bulldog who came with no training on or off lead. With a collar and lead she nearly had me over, and my shoulder was hanging on for dear life! We got a headcollar on day 2 from kisi. The difference was amazing. She went from being a nervous aggressive panter to a well behaved heel walking, calm, bomb proof beautiful girl. She has now been rehomed and she is doing really well.
The collar we have for her at the moment is a wide nylon collar. Similar to this one and the lead is short, less than two feet long. Bought a short lead in the hope that it would keep her at my side. I find it easier to walk her on the shorter lead than the longer ones we use for the other dogs but it doesn't help when she wants to dash off.
I hadn't even considered a gentle leader type collar for her as we tried two different ones for the younger Staffie when we first got him and he would not keep it on. Getting it on him at all became impossible in the end despite trying treats. He'd just run when he saw it and if we could get it anywhere near his head he'd wriggle and struggle. A four stone ball of muscle that won't keep still is quite hard to control! Anyway, I persevered with "heel" and stopping everytime he pulled and giving a cocktail sausage when he walked nicely and he picked it up really quickly. But, just because a gentle leader didn't work for Frank doesn't mean it won't work for Doris so I will order one for her.
My tip applies to big dogs that might make a sudden, unexpected lunge and you have to hang on to them. Tie a knot in the leash, somewhere near the base where it will be handy to hang on to. You'll need a longer leash to do this (a 2ft lead would be too short to have space for a knot). Then if you end up in a situation where the dog starts pulling and you have to hang on to the lead, you have something easy to hold on to. Your hand won't get burned from the lead slipping through it or crushed from having the lead wrapped around it.
Obvoiusly it is far far better to train your dog so it won't lunge like that, but I'm just sayin', as it's a useful stop-gap to save your hand from a burn or bruise.
I have an 8 stone rottweiler, and was in a similar situation. I couldn't walk him, he was like a kangaroo on speed. He pulled me over several times and no amount of treats distracted him! The DH bought him a Halti, and OMG the difference - even my 6yo DS can walk him now!
Obviously I can't say it WILL work for your DDB, but I think for the sake of a tenner, its worth a try!
Charlearose, I'd love to see all your "little soldiers" waiting to cross the road!
Have ordered a large Halti for her and will try that. I just couldn't bring myself to use a choker chain on a puller. We ended up buying a semi-choke collar for Frank as he kept slipping his usual collar on walks and running off by reversing and wriggling his head out. He doesn't pull now when he walks so it only tightens when he tries to do a runner. But Doris pulls ALL THE TIME!
Will try the Halti when it arrives and will keep you all posted.