he is mostly obedient and wonderful.....but...
my 6 month old GSD is the love of our lives - he is so biddable and has a wonderful nature.
when out he is usually good, and we still use a collar and lead, however he weighs half my body weight, and trys to get to other dogs....there is no aggression in him at all - but he is very strong and on one occasion has pulled me into the main road trying to get to a dog on the other side of the road.
We go to obedience training every week, this week he was an absolute pain with pulling because he just wanted to play and run off to see the other dogs.
I use positive reinforcement and carry treats all the time, and normally if he pulls out on walks i just stop...take a step or two backward, until he gets the message, but it all goes to pot when he sees other dogs. This is a recent thing and i want to nip it in the bud.
The trainer suggested going for a one to one session - he used to breed GSD for police and does agility etc with his own GSD who is the most obedient thing ive seen on 4 legs.
now this is the rub.
i had considered getting a long link check chain, but the trainer says they are not ideal because they put constant pressure on the larynx.
he has suggested a sort of pinch collar, that just has one 'link'. He says they give a pinch if the dog pulls into the collar, and they quickly learn not to do it. It solves pulling quickly, humanely and without constant pressure from a collar or check chain.
he will not sell one without an hours training on how to use it properly, which includes when to use it, and how to wean the dog off it. (he uses them as a training aid, not something to use forever) The ones he uses are not spiky and horrible.
he says while they look a brutal they actually are a useful training aid in a dog which pulls IF USED CORRECTLY.....which he would teach.
now im torn. i didnt want to use anything harsh but i cant have the dog pulling me in front of cars....or we will both end up squished.
he does know "no", but nothing can maintain his attention when he sees another dog and wants to play....not food, treats, ball, nothing.
He is not yet fully grown and can take me off my feet. its dangerous and annoying for other dog walkers. I can let him off the lead but he is going through is adolescence and while he used to take notice of me when i gave the recall command he now just sticks two fingers up and goes....
i never scold him on returning and always treat and fuss him, but he also barks at other dogs and i think he looks intimidating because of his breed and his size, in reality he is soft as a brush.
We have recently bought a long line to stop him charging off after other dogs, but we need to get him under control before he becomes a nuisance to others or kills me.
this is not a constant problem and i know its partly his age. in every other way he is perfect, he sits at the road side until told to cross, he knows all the basic commands and is a sweetheart.
is a pinch collar the answer to stop him pulling me about? We have been really successful in his obedience, all taught with positive reinforcement and treats, but this is the one thing that we are starting to lose control over.
should we use the collar for a while if we do the one to one?
We were having the same with our 6 month old puppy - smaller breed but very strong. Up until 6 months loose lead walking had been a doddle ...
I got him a perfect fit harness and double lead and ta-dah! No more pulling (and no pain/discomfort for the puppy either)
Pinch collars are cruel harsh and hurt. The whole point of them is to cause pain to stop a behaviour - no way on earth do I want that sort of relationship with my dog.
I will always train with my brain and not pain.
Why is your dog pulling to get to other dogs - I would be looking at the dogs emotional state and work on changing that.
Nando Brown with a prong collar
Police dog handlers are one of the worst for harsh handling interestingly they now do realise that it is not accepted and wrap it up under the umbrella of positive training but often bring out the torture weapons for a solution. Police dog handlers are allowed to refuse dogs that they "can not train, or are not suitable for the job" to me this is not the trainers advice that I would value - I would want the advice of a trainer that can train even the "non trainable" dogs. Of which there are non if you use 100% positive training methods
The Mekuti harness and double ended lead worked for my GSDx rescue. He used to bark and lunge when he saw other dogs if he was on lead and the harness really helped with training. It took about 6 months and he's fine now and mostly just wears his collar.
I second the perfect fit harness and double lead. My golden is EXACTLY like your GS ( although he's improved a lot with training he can still pull)
Try here for a better method - there are a series of articles taking you through the process
If you can get a harness with a D ring at the front of the chest as well as the normal one on the top, if he pulls on that he'll turn himself around. You might want to try a head collar of some sort in conjuction with that.
Having been there with a dog that is big and strong, 2 things....is he getting enough "play" time with other dogs? Is he ever allowed off lead? Being off lead for ours has made him far better on lead.
2 - why not a halti? I use the dogmatic and find it fantastic.
I tried a harness, but he is just too big and strong, and he is a drafting breed, so pulling is in his nature.
thanks all - basically i was loathed to consider a pinch collar, id heard a lot of haltis dont work but will try that instead.
the trainer IS NOT a police dog handler - he used to breed GSD some of which were for police - he is just a dog trainer and nothing to do with police.
my dog gets loads of time and exercise out with other dogs and we have another dog at home. He is very good off the lead (he is always off the lead in the park) until he sees someone to play with and then off he goes....i wouldnt mind but other dog walkers seem to mind - ive had a lot of people with small breeds saying their dogs dont like "big dogs" so i need to stop him running up to them without permission.
i do have a wonderful relationship with him, and certainly dont want to ruin it. He loves me and will do anything asked, he just gets excited and exuberant when he sees other dogs, he often runs to them but then runs straight back....but its a problem when he sees dogs whilst on the lead because he is so strong. He also barks at other dogs, and his bark is big and intimidating and they often then bark back. He is actually very submissive even with other small dogs, but people dont know that as they watch 31 kilos of dog hurtling toward them and their pooches....
its just a bad habit that id like to stop now before it becomes a problem or he pulls me into the path of a car.
I am not there you are but I would question that it is "just a bad habit"
Dogs bark and lunge for a reason - it may be a frustrated greeting, it may be fear, you say he is submissive. You do need to understand the emotional reason for the dogs behaviour then you can change the response by counter conditioning.
If you just treat the symptoms eg lunging and barking your dog will feel the same but not give any indication and this can lead to big problems.
But you seem happy you have it under control.
I would not recommend a halti on a large lunging dog unless you have money for physio as the dog ages.
i honestly think that often he just wants to play - he runs up to other dogs, goes a bit mental with excitement, then comes charging back to us,
when he is on the lead and sees another dog, sometimes he barks, sometimes he doesnt, im not sure if he thinks he is protecting me? he only barks at others when on the lead.
so if a pinch collar is out, and a check chain is out, and a halti is out, what can i do?
often when i see a dog coming the other way if he is on the lead i make his sit and wait, and then if the owner is happy for their dog to come and say hello thats fine, and i always explain that he is just a pup and that he is not aggressive.
He just seems to get really excited to see other dogs - he just loves to run about with them and chase and play with them if off the lead.
its two different responses - excitement and wanting to play with them when off the lead.
barking and protecting when on it.
any suggestions for curbing this behaviour because he is so strong that when he tugs me about to get to other dogs its a bit of a losing battle for me....
A headcollar won't stop him doing anything, but it will make him easier to hold when he does it - a front clipping harness would also do that, but I find not quite as well as a headcollar.
The advice I got on that sort of behaviour was to basically only let him move closer to other dogs if he did it calmly, lunging gets him dragged back in the opposite direction and he only gets to move towards them if he's doing it well.
It works pretty quickly if you can get stooge dogs to stand somewhere and help you.
I have only read your initial post so apologies if someone has already suggested this. I have a 9 month old retriever/poodle cross, he's a big lad at about 40kg and I've had the same problem with pulling to go see other dogs. I've also been pulled out on the road when he's wanted to go say hello to his friends! Anyway long story short I ordered a happy at heel harness because of the good reviews and its the best thing ever! I call it the magic harness, no more pulling - I'm finally enjoying walks! Here's a link to it, I bought it on amazon:
Best of luck
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