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Walking is no longer fun, dread taking him out, help?

(18 Posts)
Marne Tue 25-Mar-14 13:41:39

Hi, I have 2 dogs, the older dog is easy going and quite lazy, just over a year ago we got the 2nd dog as a companion for the other one, we rescued a puppy ( was told he wouldn't get very big, we knew what was involved in taking on a puppy and it was hard work ), anyway he is now 18 months old, he is huge, full of energy and needs lots of walks. I try and walk him twice a day ( 2 miles each time ) but he has started pulling so much on the lead, we only walk him a short distance on the lead, the rest of the time he is off the lead around fields, he never used to pull.

After getting advice we were advised to do the 'walking backwards each time he pulls' thing, it seemed a good idea so 2 weeks a go we started doing it, it took 20 minutes just to get out the door without him pulling and for the short distance up the road I must have turned back 50 times or more, on the way home he walked much better but then the next time we go out he is just as bad, I have been doing this for 2 weeks now with little improvement and now I dread taking him out ( it's just no fun having to to keep turning back and having my arm pulled off ). He loves his walks and whines all day asking to go out.

I feel like I'm not enjoying having him and I feel guilty as I can give hide the exercise he needs, we thought he would be a medium sized dog and he is on the large size, he destroys the house when left on his own and can no longer be crated as he can open the crate, I rarely leave him alone as I'm at home a lot but on the odd occasion I have to I come home to carnage .

I can afford any professional help and there are no training classes near by, I do love him, when he's good he is a lovely dog, I am hoping he will calm down a little as he gets older but at the moment he is being a nightmare, he's crying now even though I took him out earlier and we have played ball outside for half an hour.

Any advice please?

KarinMurphy Tue 25-Mar-14 14:52:38

I've always used a head collar. I particularly like the Gentle Leaders.

Initially with my old dogs it was because I was walking three large, headstrong dogs and I'm only tiny, so it meant they didn't pull me over trying to chase a cat or something.

The new dogs were quite a bit smaller and there were only two of them so I didn't think they would need them but the spaniel cross would quite happily choke herself to death on her flat collar and even the trainer at the puppy classes suggested that I might want to consider a head collar or harness for her.

When we took on my Mum and Dad's lab puppy, one of the main problems they had with her was that she pulled like a steam engine and walks were miserable. Eventually she pulled my Dad over and hurt him badly and he was scared to try walking her again. She's an angel in her Gentle Leader though and seems so much happier now it isn't taking an hour to get the the park down the road.

Hope you find something that works for you. It's horrible when walks are such a chore.

KarinMurphy Tue 25-Mar-14 14:54:30

Also, can you padlock his crate? We had to that with my first dog because she was so bright she could open the door easily.

SharpLily Tue 25-Mar-14 15:06:15

Two weeks is just not long enough - I hate to sound pessimistic but it took me almost a year to get my last dog walking nicely. However he was a rescued adult with many issues and it's much harder to reverse bad lessons than teach completely new ones - your puppy is young enough to deal with this more quickly but two weeks is still too quick to be giving up.

Haltis are great but should be used as a training technique rather than a long term solution or a way of getting out of training. The key is consistency - yes, it's incredibly tedious to keep stopping on a walk but it's what you have to do. Not sure what you mean about going backwards - I stop dead as soon as the dog pulls ahead and refuse to move on until he has assumed the 'heel' position. Just as you get bored with the constant stopping, so will the dog and he will learn that if he wants to walk, it will have to be at heel. Does he respond to treat training?

Helgathehairy Tue 25-Mar-14 16:20:36

Another option is a perfect fit harness.

It has a D ring on the front which means if the dog pulls he ends up just turning round. It's what I use to walk my golden when I have DD in the sling and can't take a chance on him pulling.

Owllady Tue 25-Mar-14 17:03:05

I use a normal harness and with the stop/starting I find the pulling is less than using the collar/lead option (I personally don't like head collars but they appear to do for some people)
I really think nice walking takes a LONG time with some dogs though. Mine is older than yours (almost 2)and she would drag me up the road given the chance.

KickassCoalition Tue 25-Mar-14 17:12:56

The Dogmatic head collar changed my life overnight with our dog, have a look at the videos on the website.

Unfortunately the perfect fit harness have him extra traction to pull me like a sledge along the path but he is a huge springer, about the size of a Labrador.

ender Tue 25-Mar-14 17:28:11

If your dog is ball obsessed you could use it to help keep him in heel position. My 14 month GSD rescue still tries to pull on the lead first time we set off in the morning, OK the rest of the time. I hold the ball in my L hand, he keeps his eyes glued to it then I let him hold it when he's been walking well for a few minutes, gradually extending the time.

Marne Tue 25-Mar-14 17:55:39

We are using a halti on him but he still pulls like hell (it must hurt his nose when he's pulling but he's not bothered), I tried him on a harness a few months ago and I could not control him, he seems to pull with his head and neck rather than his body. I hold the ball in my hand whilst we walk but he's not interested until we get too the field sad.

He doesn't seem to be improving at all with the walking backwards, if anything I think he thinks its fun, I get dizzy from turning around with him over and over, he knows that when the lead is tight he has to turn around and go back, he often turns around to go back before I have turned smile.

He is a lab x (bit of collie, bit of lurcher and maybe flat coat retriever), he bounces around all day and knocks people over when they come through the door. I'm thinking food might be making him more hyper, he is fed on a working dog food but its the only food I have found that gives him solid poo's so I don't really want to change it sad.

After my first post I took him for another walk (or he walked me), he then slept for 5 minutes before returning to his bouncy self.

Owllady Tue 25-Mar-14 18:10:30

Have you tried tinned chappie? Or butcher tripe?
If he has collie in him, as an owner rather than an expert, I would say it's quite normal for them to want to get off and going at the beginning of a walk. I have always found that, especially with young ones.
Do you have time to exercise him before you walk in the garden? Does that make any difference?

I understand its miserable, especially with a big strong dog

Marne Tue 25-Mar-14 18:40:07

We had him on chappie before we put him on dry food but it wasn't filling him up at night so vet recommended dry food.

We have got a large garden so I could try playing ball with him outside before walking him (to tire him out a little). He will chase the ball until he can hardly breathe and still carry on grin. Once the clocks change next weekend I will be able to give him a extra walk in the evening which might calm him down a bit but would be much easier if I can walk him instead of him walking me.

At the moment my other dog is missing out because I cant walk both of them together sad.

nuttymutty1 Tue 25-Mar-14 18:55:59

Loads of things to tire him out and I would work on these first before doing more heel work.

1. Spread his food around the garden - nose work is very very tiring for most dogs - at first let him see where you sprinkle it - keep it to a small area in the garden and let him search for it. As he gets better you can increase the area he has to search.

2. Clicker training - I have collies (and others) but 10 mins clicker training and the collies will sleep and settle for longer than a 4 hour walk. Literally just teach him tricks, anything to get him thinking, a nose touch on your hand is a good place to start as you can use this to teach other tricks. - I can give more info if you need it.

3. Once he is happy with the clicker you will find that generally he is more attentive and you can begin to work on specific issues eg jumping up at visitors. - by getting someone in your family to ring the doorbell and let him see you take a tasty treat to his bed, do this enough times he will be charging to his bed every time the door bell rings. You then need to work on duration to make him be happy to stay in his bed when visitors enter the house etc - if interested I can go into detail on this

4. Create a positive reinforcement zone around you. When he is close to you click and treat. He needs to have all four feet on the ground to get his click and treat - if you do this over time he will want to be near you. You can then take this out and about so in the garden again click and treat him when he is near you - do not give him a command and do not lure him to you. If it is his choice he will learn and remember quicker. This will become the place where he wants to be and will help with heel work when out walking.

You have an intelligent active breed that will just love working with you - you just need to find out what motivates him to learn - a clicker is a good place to start.

Marne Tue 25-Mar-14 19:38:18

Thank you, we used the clicker with him as soon as we got him but then stopped, I might try and reintroduce it as he seemed to respond well to it.

bellasuewow Tue 25-Mar-14 19:56:50

Hi Marne the separation anxiety sounds like a bit of an issue however I would not recommend padlocking a crate if the dog cannot get out they can really start to panic and hurt themselves trying quite badly. Is it from working stock if so two longs walks may not be enough for this particular dog.

Owllady Tue 25-Mar-14 21:10:17

I am glad nuttymutty has come along grin
Nutty you remind me of someone I know called Jacqui.....:in awe:

tabulahrasa Tue 25-Mar-14 22:50:46

The thing is, extra walking won't automatically tire him out'll still have a dog who needs something to occupy him, only he'll be fitter and have more stamina.

You want to tire him out mentally as nutty says.

Floralnomad Tue 25-Mar-14 22:53:41

Is it possible to drive both dogs to the park ,I know its not the answer but at least they both get exercised without any hassle and then you could perhaps take him out on his lead when you get home and he is tired .

Marne Wed 26-Mar-14 17:06:14

I don't want to use the crate (it has been packed up and put away), he has been ok being left today but was only for a short time when I went swimming, yesterday he even climbed on top of my fish tank (which is about 4.5ft tall) to get a packet of wet wipes to tear open sad.

I'm not sure of his parents background and he was a rescue pup, his mum was rescued from Ireland when she was in pup, mum was a small lab with a touch of collie, no idea what dad was but suspect either flat coat retriever or lurcher (as he's quite lanky and slim ).

We put him in kennels for a day last summer, was a small kennels for working dogs and he had a great time as he got to go out with the working dogs in the fields (don't think he wanted to come home), I feel a bit guilty that I cant give him more exercise, today he has had a long walk followed by half an hour chasing a ball in the field and then this afternoon he had another ball session smile.

Neither of the dogs like the car and I have just exchanged my big car for a very small one (so cant put them in the boot) sad.

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