Training help needed!

(4 Posts)

I collected a collie yesterday to stop him from being PTS. Lovely dog, great in the house, well behaved, affectionate, great off lead... However, he is clearly not used to a lead and gets VERY stressed as soon as he is leashed. He pulls like a tank, but it feels like he's trying to escape as oppose to pulling with excitement iykwim. He stops listening to voice commands completely as soon as the lead is on, pants like crazy, and, most worryingly, snaps at everything in his path, including nipping my 8 year old yesterday sad He clearly hasn't been trained at all (he's 4 and has been kept crated most of his life) and his walks have consisted of being put in the back of a car and let out to run.

I'm going to struggle to keep him as ds is now petrified of him, and the village I live in is full of kids, so would be very wary of trying to walk him, however, I have a friend with no kids who is prepared to take him in, providing I can help her with training. I have a long line, a muzzle, a clicker, plenty of treats and an anti pull harness and we're going to take him to a quiet area in the car this afternoon and start trying to get him used to a lead.

My plan is to attach the long line and let him go, and just get him used to having that attached with me at the end, then gradually build up to getting closer and closer, with the help of treats, until the lead is short enough to walk him on. Does this sound correct? Obviously, he will be muzzled when in public, as cannot risk him nipping anyone else, but I feel it's just pure fear that caused him to nip yesterday, as oppose to aggression. He just seems terrified on the lead, yet off lead he is happy, confident and responds to commands well.

Any tips would be appreciated! If we cannot start to crack this ourselves, then we will get a decent behaviourist involved smile

SpicyPear Thu 17-Jul-14 10:55:52

I would be wanting to start work on it in the house first in lots of very short bursts rather than having to go out to do it. Is there somewhere he can be safely walked off lead with no on lead time to get there in the meantime? Also is he muzzle trained? If not, the muzzle could add to his distress so don't use it until he's properly comfortable with it.

At which point does he get stressed? You need to work on desensitising him to the whole process of being on lead in baby steps. There's an opportunity to teach loose lead walking at the same time. So to begin with just lead clipped on, treat, lead clipped off, treat until he's comfortable. Then maybe leaving lead trailing for a short period. Only a few seconds while you click and treat if it is distressing him. Putting it on and letting it trail during meal times is a great way to build a positive association if he's not too stressed to eat.

Then just picking up the end and resting it very gently across the palm of your upturned hand, leaving it completely loose and taking a couple of steps and lots of treats for following. A squeezy tube of something like Primula is good for this. Always stop before he gets distressed. Rest and try again later or the next day.

Once comfortable on lead in the house, move to the garden and get comfortable there before taking it out into the outside world.

muttynutty Thu 17-Jul-14 12:01:08

DO NOT TAKE HIM OUT. He sounds like a very stressed uptight lad and will need several days of just chilling and no extra stresses at all, no ball throwing, no chasing, just chilling. Give him an area that he can go to where he will not be disturbed

Do nothing with him for a few days, do not interact with him unless he comes to you. If he is ok I would click and treat any interaction with you but if he reacts to the clicker I would back off.

You will find that he may be manic for a while but as the days go on he will become quieter.

I would avoid putting a lead on at all until his stress levels are much lower. Then you could start to desensitise with having a lead on but only when he is being fed etc

Well we spent an hour this afternoon in a field with a long line attached just getting him to follow us around with it trailing and treating when he did and he is now quite happy with that. My friend isn't going to even try walking him as I feel he needs to learn to accept a lead slowly, and she's got a decent sized garden so he'll be fine for a few days just chilling and getting used to them smile

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