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A quick dog walking session has taken me an hour and a half due to the stop/start method, it's not working!!!!

(45 Posts)
Jennytailia Thu 16-Jun-11 21:21:47

Thought I would take my pup out for a quick lead practice session without the kids, so I could fully concentrate.

She just wouldnt stop pulling so I couldn't get home. She didn't get it at all. I have only been walking her for a week and she seems to be getting worse.

I always stop when she pulls, and dont move off again until her lead is slack. I say heel and praise her when she is good.

Treats don't work when she is outside As she is not interested.

Will this ever get better? I have also tried changing direction but she seems to enjoy that and races on even harder.

Arggggggggg I feel really frustrated.

Happymm Thu 16-Jun-11 21:24:53

Am here watching but no idea. My 10wk old lab thinks she's a bucking bronco with the lead on.

BitOfFun Thu 16-Jun-11 21:26:03


ExitPursuedByAKitten Thu 16-Jun-11 21:26:56

Type of Dog?

mouseanon Thu 16-Jun-11 21:30:33

It's better (and less frustrating) to do lots of really short sessions, rather than one long one. If you can. Just in the garden. On your own drive. Build it up slowly and persevere. It does take time but it really is worth it in the end.

Jennytailia Thu 16-Jun-11 21:35:19

She's a cocker spaniel!! And that was my idea to mouseanon but I couldn't actually walk as I wouldn't give in and let her pull me.

alice15 Thu 16-Jun-11 21:37:32

Unfortunately, this sort of thing does not IME improve overnight - it takes a lot of consistent practice. I have an 18 month old dog who has got into the habit of screaming and gibbering with excitement as we walk from our house to the common where I walk the dogs, which is about a 2 minute walk. He has been in boot camp for about a month now, where every single walk he only gets to move forwards when he's quiet - depending just how stupid he's being, I either stand still or take a few steps backwards when he makes a noise. He has improved hugely during this month, to the point where we reach the common within 5 minutes with only a handful of false starts, most of the time, but it has taken a lot of effort to get here, and at first it did sometimes take so long to get to the common that we actually ran out of time and had to abandon the walk altogether. So I think you need to give it much longer before giving up. Using a clicker may help.
Well worth continuing, though, as much easier to nip this sort of thing in the bud. The reason my dog got so bad in the first place was that I'm walking several dogs at once, and the walk is along a road with noisy traffic anyway, and so I didn't really pay all that much attention until he got silly enough to really annoy me. If you just have one dog to concentrate on, it should get easier quicker!
Happymm, this is completely normal for a young puppy with no lead experience. Do some practice walks round the garden with lots of food rewards and cheerful noises, and make sure that lead time means something pleasant - if need be, walk him/her on the lead towards her food bowl at mealtimes, for example, so there's a good reason to co-operate. Most puppies get used to lead torture pretty quickly as long as the experience is made as easy as possible for them - good luck!

ExitPursuedByAKitten Thu 16-Jun-11 21:38:05

Check out Soupdragon's dog thread and see the joys you have to come grin

alice15 Thu 16-Jun-11 21:40:08

PS - of course, if you have a cocker sized dog, you can always just carry her to where you want to go as a short term measure if you are running out of time - at least she's not learning anything about walking on the lead then, good or bad!

Jennytailia Thu 16-Jun-11 21:42:11

Sounds like I should continue then... It's driving me mad though. Want to know how long it'll take before she 'gets it'

Jennytailia Thu 16-Jun-11 21:43:49

Haha I have carried her a few times when I am with the kids, buy didn't want to give on tonight!!

Jennytailia Thu 16-Jun-11 21:44:36

"but didn't want to give in tonight"

exexpat Thu 16-Jun-11 21:45:01

Stop-start didn't work with me - dog took to sitting down as soon as I stopped and then pulling again immediately as soon as I got going. I was probably doing something wrong anyway, but what worked for me was just starting to walk v-e-r-y v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y as soon as he started pulling - he couldn't sit down, so had to slow down to my pace. Torture for an over-enthusiastic terrier, but he is getting better....

hatwoman Thu 16-Jun-11 21:49:34

takes about 2 years ime. and even after that they'll still pull in exciting circumstances. I used to do a very short walk every day - with no other purpose in mind than training - using the stop start method you describe. for otehr walks (to school, or to the field) I used a halti otherwise it would have been a choice between taking 2 hours, or teaching him bad habits. imo it's the hardest thing to teach them - ours is quite a clever thing, good at heeling off lead, good recall, won't eat his dinner even if it's right infront of him until told. but pulling on the lead was hugely difficult (and still is sometimes)

mouseanon Thu 16-Jun-11 21:52:02

Where were you walking? Your own garden, where presumably he spends a lot of time anyway, will be a lot less exciting than going out for a walk. Much less temptation for him to pull. It will probably take weeks to get to anything resembling a normal walk and it is tedious and frustrating but like most things with dogs there just isn't a magic wand quick fix. They have to learn. Better a few frustrating weeks now than years of having your arm pulled out of its socket! I think I was motivated by the memory of walking lots of dogs (worked in kennels) that pulled dreadfully and I just wasn't having that.

mouseanon Thu 16-Jun-11 21:59:22

Another thing that might help, depending on how quickly he moves, is if you feel him about to launch forward give a very short sharp tug on the lead. Just hard enough for him to pay attention and remind him he's not supposed to pull, and quick enough that he doesn't get the chance to lean into it iyswim. Not so that you choke him, it's just a reminder rather than a punishment. Sometimes doing lots of little jerks on the lead can help as you are walking along as well because it stops the dog getting the chance to resist and pull against you.

Jennytailia Thu 16-Jun-11 22:03:13

2 years!!! Oh no. Yes I do take her for garden walks, but I feel like I should be taking her out as well, to socialise her and such.

Jennytailia Thu 16-Jun-11 22:05:06

I wasnt sure whether to tug her lead as I didn't want to get into a me pulling, her pulling routine. IYSWIM

mouseanon Thu 16-Jun-11 22:08:16

That's why it has to be a really quick jerk so she can't lean into it. If it doesn't work you'll have to stop, but it might just mean you can get away with stopping a little less often. It might not work anyway but worth a try.

misschenko Thu 16-Jun-11 22:08:34

The stop-when-lead-goes-tight method worked for my lab, it took about 6 wks before we began to see results and now at 9 months he walks well. We did short sessions 10-15 mins round the block, boring and repetitive but it was worth it.

Jennytailia Thu 16-Jun-11 22:17:34

6 weeks!!! That sounds do-able.

midori1999 Thu 16-Jun-11 22:31:30

It will work but how long it will take really depends on how reinforced the pulling behaviour has become. If you are extremely consistent then you'll start to notice some results quite soonish. (eg, you'll be able to walk several steps without stopping, not just one grin ).

It really helps to practice in the garden lots and lots first until the dog really understands what 'heel' means, otherwise you're just wasting your breath. I wouldn't pull on the lead at all, but taking a few steps backwards is fine. It's also fine if the dog sits down, just then use a treat to call the dog back to the heel position and then walk on.

Something else that can make life easier is to take the dog in the car somewhere she can o off lead and then get your DH or someone to drive the car back home whilst you walk the dog on lead and practice then. Tired dog that is going home is much more likely to be able ot co-operate than an excited one just on the way out for a walk.

Spamspamspam Thu 16-Jun-11 22:43:49

midori - interesting....I have had a few walks whereby I am angelic and smiling as dog is nicely trotting along beside me (she is knackered and there is no -on else to stimulate her) and other walks which are absolute carnage because daughter is running in front, running behind, splashing into puddles etc - dog is everywhere on lead but not where I want her.

She is pretty good if it's just me and we don't see anything however the minute distractions take place we are all over the place. Even a 4kg dog can give you shoulder and arm ache. I am not sure what to do because I know if I take her out on her own she will be good but the minute the lead goes on in any situation where there are distractions she is a nightmare.

Thing is, off lead she is angelic, sticks to me like glue, recalls perfectly (at the moment) and is a joy...

Happymm Thu 16-Jun-11 23:16:20

Hi midori. My bucking bronco, when she does calm down enough for us to walk round the garden then spends all her time jumping up at me and nipping to get the kibble I have in my hand to encourage her along. I've been giving lots of praise when she has 4feet on ground and then treating her but she still keeps jumping and snapping at me. Any ideas? (10wks old lab)

midori1999 Fri 17-Jun-11 08:26:43

Hmmm, I'm not an expert, but I would probably hold the treat nearer her head level to eliminate the need to jump up and then drop the treat on the floor by her instead of giving it to her from my hand to help prevent the nipping.

Spam, take your DD out with the dog much more, the dog will soon get bored of it all! grin

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