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14 week old lab pulling on lead, any advice?

(20 Posts)
YeahBut Wed 27-Oct-10 01:39:44

HI, our gorgeous lab is just starting to go out for walks on the lead. She's a typical lab, massively excited and enthusiastic(!) and pulls dreadfully on the lead. I want to nip it in the bud, so have been standing still as soon as she starts pulling until she stops, however this can take a while and she sounds like she's strangling herself!
We're not experienced dog owners so would appreciate any tips from those of you that have been there and done that!

YeahBut Wed 27-Oct-10 01:43:45

Dog pic on profile grin

littlenervous Wed 27-Oct-10 09:54:20

Get a gentle leader. They are the best things.
I got one when my dog was about that age. The puppy class leader told me to, as like yours he was chocking himself.

It is impossible for them to pull on it, so you are in control. My dog doesnt need it now, but he still wears it. hes a big strong boy and if he wanted to pull he could. I think its safer knowing im in control, and he just cant pull. ie - something could spook him, he could pull, id fall over and off he runs into a path of a car or something. ( hasnt happened, but it COULD happen)

Your dog probably wont like it to start with. Mine used to drag his face along the floor and paw at it, but its just tough.

Batteryhuman Wed 27-Oct-10 11:07:12

Be consistent. Stop as soon as he pulls ahead, walk backwards until he is back by your side and wait until he is calm before setting off again. I find it helps to get eye contact at this point too. And obviously praise when he does it right. It is REALLY boring but it does work and the sooner you can get him walking nicely the better as adolescent labradors are very strong and can pull you off your feet. Most labs are hugely food motivated so a treat in your hand may help to keep his nose in the right place.

Someone on here posted a really helpful video clip of this technique recently but I can't remember where.

minimu1 Wed 27-Oct-10 14:13:55

Don't get a gentle leader! Ask two dog trainers for advice and you wil get tow different answers!!

You have to teach the dog the correct position not just punish it for being in the wrong place.

So get a clicker and get the dog used to the clicker . Click the clicker and give a treat do this for several days until the dog realises that the click means yummy treats. A lab puppy will take about 3 mins to work out what is going on.

Then lure the dog to your side where you want him to be walking and click and treat. Do this in the garden without lead on. When the dog goes ahead gently lure him back to the right place and click and treat. Then holding treat in your hand walk forward a few steps and click and treat the dog if he is in the right position. When he is happy in the position you can start to add a word I have close for my left side and side for my right but up to you what you say.

Then put on the lead and off you go! (If only!) He will pull ahead the second the lead goes tight stop, do not say anything at all but the second he turns his head towards you click and treat and lure him back to your side and take a few steps forward with a lose lead, again the second the lead goes tight just stand still.

Be prepared to be very very patience here. It may take him ages to turn slightly towards you just wait it out he will eventually! It will take a while to get started and you will get fed up and you will think it is not working but trust me I am dog trainer! It will work. A few week now of getting this sorted means that the next 14 years will be pull free and you will be able to take your dog anywhere

Do not get into the habit of letting the lead go tight and you pulling him back. This will just create a circle of pulling and pushing. The dog has to feel the tight lead and then the dog has to make the decision as to what will alter that tight lead. The more times he gets a tight lead to start with the more opportunity he gets to learn the correct behaviour so do not panic if it takes time.

Joking apart about gentle leaders if you do need a head collar go ahead but my grip with them is that the dog never learns how to walk properly and is just restrained from pulling. Also a determined dog will pull even with a head collar and this can damage their necks. But it is a personal choice

minimu1 Wed 27-Oct-10 15:08:01

The other problem with head collars is that it can change the dogs body language so can cause issues with other dogs. With head halters the dogs head is wrenched around forcing him into a vunerable position, and in restricting normal head and body movements compromises natural communcation signals.

WhereTheWildThingsWere Wed 27-Oct-10 15:55:12

The vidoe clip was probably this one, I am forever posting her stuff, she is greatgrin.

Katecool Thu 28-Oct-10 18:11:06

Patience, patience and more patience!!! oh and a good puppy class! My lab is 6.5 yrs old now and im so glad i put in the hours when he was a pup. Also dont let them off the lead until they will come back to you no questions asked, my dog was almost 10 months old before he would come back when asked..even when there was another dog he wanted to play with.

Katecool Thu 28-Oct-10 18:11:29

Patience, patience and more patience!!! oh and a good puppy class! My lab is 6.5 yrs old now and i'm so glad i put in the hours when he was a pup. Also don't let them off the lead until they will come back to you no questions asked, my dog was almost 10 months old before he would come back when asked..even when there was another dog he wanted to play with.

kid Thu 28-Oct-10 19:22:41

I have tried a few tactics and it was getting to
the point that I hated taking my dear little pup fir a walk. He is a huge 19 week old springer spaniel.

Yesterday, I started a new tactic to improve the lead pulling. As soon as he pulls, I turn and walk in the opposite direction for 5 steps and then I turn back and continue in the original direction. It took us ages to reach the end of our street but it made a real difference. I did it again today on 4 walks and each walk is getting so much easier. I am going to stick with this method as it seems to be working for us.

Batteryhuman Fri 29-Oct-10 12:41:53

My best tip, speaking as someone who is currently walking 2 pups, is to take along an older calm dog as well. My 2 are 10 times better when they have another dog along and will trot happily at his shoulder.

30andMerkin Fri 29-Oct-10 18:25:05

Go for a walk RIGHT NOW and do the stop-start method! (if the weather's anything like as astrocioius as it is here)

It worked a treat as the heavens opened just as we turned for home. Normally if I stop dead our pup thinks 'great, i'll just investigate the 847 interesting smells RIGHT HERE'. today he wanted to get home and stop getting wet and cold, so he kept turning round to look at me balefully when I stopped... so of course we immediately trotted off again!

On the downside, I'm drenched too, but hey ho.

Rockchick16 Sun 31-Oct-10 15:54:02

We bought a harness for our lab and that works. We have much more control over him and he no longer pulls.

mrsSmurf Sun 31-Oct-10 17:51:47

I also use a harness for my lab and it has made walks much easier. It has taken a long time to get our dog to come back to us straight away when we call him when he is off the lead but we have finally cracked it. He is almost 2 blush.

noniks Mon 08-Nov-10 13:01:22

I agree - have 2 daft young labs and harnesses turn them from whirling dirvishes into sweet angels.

I do have impressive biceps from the previous pulling though, so not all bad.

frostyfingers Tue 09-Nov-10 09:42:56

We teach ours to walk at heel first - their labs and as everyone says motivated by their stomachs.

Put some nice titbits in your pocket, make sure she knows they're there and just practice in the garden or somewhere quiet. We've used a choke lead (the rope ones that tighten if they pull) successfully and we have 3 non pulling dogs, who will all walk leadless at heel - people are dead impressed. Then it all goes pear shaped when you stop and they disappear in 3 different directions!

Slubberdegullion Tue 09-Nov-10 11:29:23

YeahBut, I have a nearly 10 month old lab and I feel your pain. Walking to heel has been the most frustrating and time consuming of all the things I have trained her to do...stil ongoing I might say.

I clicker trained her in the garden, and then out and about as per minimus post. All good. Then there was a gradual deterioration in her on lead behaviour with her moving away from being at heel to always in front, and then to pulling. All my fault, I should have gotten onto it sooner. I have major building works as a sorry excuse.

Anyway, in utter frustration I bought a halti, and ended up with a bruised left outer knee as she desperately tried to remove the thing with the top of my welly every time we used it.

I got out the clicker again, went back to the start (yyy to labs being stomach motivated) and now we are almost back to perfect.

We now have a slightly comical procedure at the start of every walk of her surging ahead, feeling the collar tighten and then whizzing back round to heel. This goes on for 5 mins until she remembers duh oh yes if I stay here next to the welly boot then I don't need to keep turning round and we get to the field sooner.

Scruffyhound Tue 09-Nov-10 12:28:34

There are a few methods mentioned here. I have used a few my self. First do you have a dog training lead? This is a lead that is not too short and not a retractable lead either think it measures about 2 meters. You should walk your dog to your left side holding the lead in your right hand with the left keeping some slack keep your left hand on the slack of the lead. When he starts to pull say "no" in a firm voice then bring the dog around still keeping him to your left and face the other way (so your now walking back to where you came from) walk this way until he pulls again then turn and walk the other way. You need to watch your dog and make sure he is in line with your body dont let him over take you or he will just pull. This is hard to do and very boring but it worked for my lurcher who is now 9 yrs old! And we had loads of trouble with our doberman/rotty cross we had to get outside help for her and paid £200 for her own lessons. This method was used she was a lot better to take for a walk. Try which ever one suits you best but DONT mix them up as the poor thing will get confused. Also used one word for something like if he is jumping up either "off" or "down" dont go using different words for the same thing they get confused. Good luck!

kid Wed 10-Nov-10 21:47:26

I can't believe how much better my dog is on the lead. Still not perfect but getting really close!
He is still a pest if DC are walking him with me, but I put that down to training him with them not being there and they are a huge distraction as they are his playmates.

He will soon get the hang of walking nicely on lead with DC there, otherwise we will be walking up and down the same stretch of road over and over again grin

daimbardiva Wed 17-Nov-10 15:59:58

As well as the stop-start thing, I've found that changing direction the instant the pulling starts also works - teaches the dog to look to you for direction, and that you only proceed whenthe lead is slack

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