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Things are getting worse, despite me trying very hard to train him.

(33 Posts)
Endler32 Thu 22-Jan-15 10:08:23

Feeling very sad,

I couldn't find my old post but hopefully you will remember me and my lab x.

I have tried very hard not to give into the whining, have change things around so I don't set a routine ( so he can't asume it's walkies time or feeding time ). The whining has improved very slightly but walking him has got worse. I have tried to take him somewhere different each day to make things more interesting but this has caused huge problems, because he doesn't know where we are going he is pulling me all over the place, he trips me over, he pulls me across the road, my hands are bruised, my shoulders are in agony and I have no control over him at all, I'm still trying to do the 'turn around and walk back' when he pulls ( which we have been doing for over a year with not much success ) and he just wraps himself around my legs and trips me up and then continues to pull.

I have just got back from a very long walk with him, it involved 20 minutes run in a field, walk through another field and then a 30 minute walk along country lanes. I thought after a run he would be easier to control on the lead as he would be tired but 'no', as he didn't know where we were he dragged me all over the place,I'm kept stopping and turning back but then there was someone behind us with another dog so I tried to keep walking forward. He then dragged me most of the way home and is still bouncing off the walls.

I feel like crying, I have no control over him and I am considering not walking him at all, each time I take him out he gets worse, a few days ago we stopped to talk to someone, other than jumping up at the woman he was quite well behaved and then someone walked past with a dog, I held onto him on a shot lead and because he couldn't reach the dog he started barking causing the other dog to go crazy. I feel like the worlds worst dog owner, I'm starting to really not like my dog, it's not enjoyable, he just makes me want to cry sad.

Floralnomad Thu 22-Jan-15 10:15:54

What do you walk him in collar ,harness , headcollar? Have you tried other combinations ?

Endler32 Thu 22-Jan-15 10:25:54

He has the halti head collar, walks ok on this but manages to get it off when he sees another dog, we started using the halti harness and double ended lead a few weeks ago but I'm struggling with this, don't seem to have control over him with it. We have tried a few other harnesses ( I can't remember which ones ). Someone mentioned trying a half chock collar but I though these have been classed as cruel? At the moment I'm willing to try anything but I suspect there's not much that will help as I'm not a very heavy person so quite easy to pull over. I just want to be able to control him so we can walk safety without him dragging me across the road or towards a potentially dangerous dog.

MostAmused Thu 22-Jan-15 11:02:14

I remember your other post but I don't know if anyone suggested a behaviourist? They might be able to visit you and work through some techniques you could try.

I find that Ddog will pull more and pay less attention in new places than regular haunts so I try to do training in the well known areas rather than new places.
What motivators are you using? Toys? What kind of treats?

It sounds like you're trying really hard with this, so well done. I wish I knew more about training so I could help!

Buttholelane Thu 22-Jan-15 11:15:04

Have you tried a lupi?
Halti didn't work well for my dog either and I tried stopping/turning around for TWO YEARS!
Eventually, she got to the stage where she would walk okay in low distraction areas, but pull in new places, on seeing dogs, people etc.
she walks nice on the lupi.

Although they are barbaric, what about a prong?
The choke chains have been proven to cause spinal problems even with perfect use but as far as I am aware, no such problems have been proved by a CORRECTLY fitted prong.
I think if you have tried everything else, maybe a properly fitted prong used short term would be kinder than allowing the dog to pull long term on a collar and do itself windpie and spinal damage.

Lilcamper Thu 22-Jan-15 11:31:08

Dear Dog! NO PRONG! They work because the cause pain. OP look into getting a Dog Games Perfect Fit harness and google he 300 peck method of teaching loose lead walking.

tabulahrasa Thu 22-Jan-15 11:33:31

I know it I've said it before, but, I really really don't rate haltis...they're designed to be loose, which means they come off.

If a headcollar works, try a different one, a fitted one.

SnakeyMcBadass Thu 22-Jan-15 11:37:58

I really rate the canny collar. It's soft but tight fitting around the head, and the nose loop just pulls the nose down if the dog pulls. My spaniel is too nervous and hyperactive to walk consistently on a loose lead, so for long walks he wears the canny. He walks very well on it but if he does suddenly lunge forward, I can easily control him.

Floralnomad Thu 22-Jan-15 11:39:59

Why are you taking him somewhere different everyday , I really doubt that it will make any difference to the whining because even on a familiar route there will be different smells etc each day . Before my dog reliably walked nicely on his harness and when he wears his thick coat ( so can't wear his harness) I use a canny collar and having used a Halti and a halti harness I find the canny much better it can also be used as a normal collar . dont go down the route of choke chains / prong collars / shock collars . My dog has tracheal issues and it's really not somewhere you want to end up .

Floralnomad Thu 22-Jan-15 11:41:55

Snap! I see we are still sharing a dog snakey !

Buttholelane Thu 22-Jan-15 11:47:24

Yes they work through pain, and no I don't like the idea of using them.
However, the long term effect of pulling on the spine and windpipe cannot be good.

Obviously all other avenues should be explored, but assuming that literally nothing works, surely it is better to cause pain for a short time then have a lifetime of pain free walking, and probably a hell of a lot more walking as it won't be torture anymore than years of pulling causing coughing, gagging, possible collapsed trachea, nerve damage etc and a lot less exercise than the dog could do with IF humane methods don't work?

tabulahrasa Thu 22-Jan-15 11:55:15

Dogmatic headcollars are pretty highly rated, I use a Kumfi dogalter because the dogmatic doesn't fit under a muzzle.

I wouldn't use a canny collar on a dog that can get loose tbh, they're not as secure as other types.

Lilcamper Thu 22-Jan-15 11:59:21

Humane methods do work. Not only does a prong hurt but it causes mental fallout. Right now the OP has an over excited dog. Use a prong and every time he sees another dog he gets excited and metal spikes dig in his throat. Soon seeing other dogs becomes a precursor to pain. Congratulations on turning a happy excited dog into one that hates the sight of other dogs and is now dog reactive and wants to rip their throat out.

Endler32 Thu 22-Jan-15 12:10:25

I wouldn't use a prong collar, but as a last resort I am tempted by the half choke collar. I think a better fitting head collar is the best option so I will look into that first, he seems to pull from his head and neck which is why a harness doesn't make a lot of difference.

I have been changing are waking route as I want him to get used to walking in different places and I thought it would work his brain a bit more ( and I want to walk further ), most of the time he is off lead if we are walking through fields but it was so muddy today that I had to put him back on the lead to stop us both getting covered in mud or getting stuck in it, we walked quite far today so thought he would stop pulling after a while due to being tired but sadly labs don't get tired very easily sad.

Ideally I would like him to walk nicely next to me and ignore other people when we see them but at the moment I just need to make sure I can control him and hold onto him when he sees a person or other dog so I don't get dragged into the road.

Frenchie84 Thu 22-Jan-15 12:11:35

We went to puppy class, did the walk and turn as soon as he would pull. We found that positive reinforcement worked well with our pup, whether it was a cuddle, a treat or a bit of cheese (super treat). If cheese, you only needed to have it rubbed on fingers so he would walk licking your fingers and not pull on lead at all.

Lilcamper Thu 22-Jan-15 12:12:21

How much mental stimulation does he get and what are you feeding him ?

artforartsake Thu 22-Jan-15 12:15:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Buttholelane Thu 22-Jan-15 12:20:49

I know, a lupi harness worked for mine and that is humane also.
I was just offering it as something to consider if the op didn't find anything else effective.

As far as I am aware, a prong is worn very high, right by the ears where it's most sensitive and it only takes a very tiny amount of pressure to get the dog to stop. Studies have been done on correctly fitted prongs and found no damage whatsoever.
The study did find damage from correctly used choke chains.
Dogs who wear them correctly often get excited when seeing the prong as they associate it with walks, that suggests to me that the dog doesn't find them that traumatic.
Compare that to the dogs who are headshy, who get nervous, run away or get aggressive when the choke chain or improperly used prong comes out.

While I agree that a dog could associate punishment not with pulling, but with another dog and therefore cause aggressiveness, you could get the same reaction with other devices.

On a flat collar, dog sees dog, pulls, it's collar presses against it's throat with such force that quite often the dog coughs or gags.

On a flat collar, dog sees dog, pulls, owner gives 'correction', it's collar presses against it's throat with such force that quite often the dog coughs or gags plus has an uncomfortable, lifting sensation plus it's owner telling it off.

On a head halter, dog sees dog, pulls, has its nose sharply pulled down towards the floor. If head halters are kind, then how come so many dogs end up with fur loss around the eyes and kick up an almighty stink wearing it, going to great lengths to get it off.

On a body harness, like the lupi I use, dog sees dog, pulls, gets a sensation of being lifted up under the arms.

Apart from teaching 'watch me', liberal use of treats and stop/start or turn around, all methods, including humane ones are negative reinforcement.
The prong is a more severe negative reinforcement, but it is negative all the same.

I would try and avoid using one but if nothing else had worked I would give it a go.

Lilcamper Thu 22-Jan-15 12:24:08

Hurting a dog in the name of training is unacceptable. The harness I recommended is the least intrusive while training.

tabulahrasa Thu 22-Jan-15 12:28:11

Does he have a watch me or look at me command?

Is there anything you could do with him when there are people or dogs about? Something exciting? To keep his attention on you.

The halti harness isn't front fastening is it? It doesn't look like it is, what you'd want with a harness is one where the lead clips over the chest...those do work, I use a headcollar over one of those purely because my dog is very reactive and in an emergency I have his head.

With respect to choke chains or half chokes, it's not that they're cruel...I mean they are, but not up there with prong collars, it's that they don't work on determined pullers, dogs just choke themselves.

Lilcamper Thu 22-Jan-15 12:33:20

You could also try teaching him the Look at That Game. This really worked with my daft lab that wants to make friends with every dog he sees. Now he sees a dog and looks straight to me.

Buttholelane Thu 22-Jan-15 12:38:27

I think prongs are safer than choke chains personally, but in any case, the op has said she won't use one so I won't say anything more about them.

I wasn't wanting to cause debate, just offer a possible solution to the op's problem.

Endler32 Thu 22-Jan-15 12:39:01

Lilcamper, he gets at least an hours walk each day and half an hour brain work ( clicker training or puzzle work ), in the summer he gets more but because we live in a area with no street lights I can not give him a evening walk. I have posted a lot about my dog and we have worked out that I have probably been giving him too much stimulation which is why he finds it hard to settle. As soon as I set a routine it causes problems ( if I walk him at 9am for 2 days in a row he will cry at 9am every day expecting to be walked ) so we have been trying to walk him at a different time each day ( same with feeding which also causes problems ). He's fed on a natural dry food, ideally he would be raw fed but due to not having the space to store raw meet and the fact I have a child that licks every thing I can not raw feed, I know it would probably help if I could.

We have another dog, they play together a lot, we have a huge garden but he refuses to go out there alone other than to go to the loo. He rarely settles and when he does he will jump up as soon as I move, he follows me around like a shadow. He barks at the slightest sound, loves people and other dogs but can't control his excitement at all when he sees one. He drools when he is very excited, it pools out of his mouth ( the sight of me putting my shoes on, sight of a person or other dog, seeing a tennis ball, all of these make him drool and shake ).

He fits all the traits of a hyperactive dog ( I know it's rare for a dog to be diagnosed as hyperactive but I am beginning to wonder ), today we walked miles, my feet have blisters, I'm covered in mud and so is the dog but he still isn't tired and is still bouncing around.

Endler32 Thu 22-Jan-15 12:40:33

I know some like to use prong collars and if used correctly they can work, I worry that I would not use it correctly so I think it's too risky.

Floralnomad Thu 22-Jan-15 12:46:38

If you kept a ball in your pocket would that distract him if he saw another dog etc - my dog has issues with big dogs so I always carry a spare squeaky ball to attract his attention even if he is carrying a tennis ball ( which he always is on walks) . Balls are high value to my boy and he is only allowed them on walks - if he has one in the house he is impossible to live with .

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