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My dog keeps pulling

(20 Posts)
Wonderflonium Thu 20-Oct-16 12:59:10

I have a golden retriever/spaniel cross. She's 2 years old. When we go on walks, especially at the start of them, she pulls really hard. I'm pregnant and it's getting harder to walk her because it's hurting my hips.

We have tried some techniques (as in we were consistent with them and gave them a good go for several weeks before trying something new)
1) Turning around when she pulls and going "home". This looked like it was going to work until she just started pulling to go in whatever direction.
2) Stopping when she pulls. This doesn't work. She thinks we just want her to stop temporarily, sits patiently and then pulls anew once we get going. I have adapted this into passive aggressively going-slow when she pulls so she doesn't sit down, hoping she'll associate pulling with not getting anywhere faster... But with this hip pain, I just don't have the strength.
3) Bringing snacks on the walk and dropping them where we want her to walk and offering them for walking where we wanted her to walk. We did this mostly when she was a puppy and it completely failed because she didn't get Shit One about treats, not when there were amazing places to discover and sniff up ahead.

We got a harness for around her back because I was afraid of damaging her neck.

The boyfriend took her to dog training for a long time but they didn't really practice life skills, it was more of a gymnastics class for dogs. He quit anyway because he didn't feel he had time for it. I'd take her myself but there's a language barrier involved and people here are often pricks to foreigners, and I'm just not in the mood for it. (They might NOT be pricks but you pay up front and it's too soul destroying to be treated like an asshole for getting your words in the wrong order/putting the wrong stress on a syllable.)

I am so jealous of dogs that can walk to heel, hell, I'd settle for a slack lead while she's a pace or two ahead of me.

What are we missing?

sparechange Thu 20-Oct-16 13:10:41

Do you praise/reward her when she does walk to heel? Even if it only for a split second?

I've always used a flick of the lead and a sharp NO when they start pulling and to get their attention, and then lots of praise when they walk to heel, if only for a few steps. At the moment, it sounds like she hasn't made the association that pulling is bad and walking to heel is good

Where abouts are you based? Can you throw some money at the problem with a few sessions with a trainer to save you the strain on your hips?

Wonderflonium Thu 20-Oct-16 13:16:00

The issue with praising her when she's walking to heel is it makes her speed up to do a victory lap! I don't think she understands what exactly it is that is getting her praise and I haven't figured out how to make it more clear to her.

A flick might work! Just getting her to look around when she's pulling might be enough to distract her from doing it.
I'm in Denmark. Maybe there are one-to-one trainers out here but I wouldn't know how to find one.

sparechange Thu 20-Oct-16 13:26:16

Does she have the submissive spaniel-y thing?
If so, a loud voice and flick could be a good starting point, and then a gentle 'good girl' praise when she walks nicely
It will be absolutely tediously slow going, but you'll get there..

If she is really spooky, you can also flick the looped end of the lead against your leg to make a 'crack' noise instead of flicking it against her, but it isn't a painful flick at all (as you'll discover when you do it to your own leg). It's just to get her attention towards you

Wonderflonium Thu 20-Oct-16 14:17:17

I'll give that a go, thanks! (She goes back and forth on how spaniel-y she is)

Purplepixiedust Sat 29-Oct-16 22:29:32

We have a halti harness which helps with out collie cross who pulls like a train on the lead! He is much more manageable on it.

Hoppinggreen Sun 30-Oct-16 08:31:38

We have this with our 1 year old Goldie boy.
Our trainer has suggested a body harness and double ended lead. We should also leave on his collar so the lead will be attached to his neck and body in a sort of loop - sorry I can't be clearer but we only got this advice on Friday night at our class so haven't had time to put it not practice yet.
Sounds like a lovely cross, bet she's gorgeous ( hint hint photo?)

WooWooChooChoo Tue 08-Nov-16 22:56:23

Have you tried a harness which allows the lead to clip on the front (on the chest plate bit). It makes it impossible for them to pull as they get pulled round. With our dog it got her out of the habit and we've been able to stop using it now. This is the harness we have

Cannothtinkofaname Wed 09-Nov-16 10:01:47

I'm reading this thread with interest as our 10 month old cockapoo is a puller.
Sometimes she's ok but others, she just pulls all the time, despite trying all the above suggestions.
We tried a harness but it made her worse, she was like a flipping husky so that went back!
I'm hoping she'll grow out of it, but we seem to say that about a lot of things!

minniemoi Thu 10-Nov-16 08:10:24

I've got a puller and what I've done is put an extra bit in the front of her harness (I used the ring off a key ring) and attach one end of a training lead to the back of the harness and one to the front so when she is likely to pull (when she sees other dogs) I can pull on the front of her harness to pull her to the side. This is working for us so far.

everythingis Sat 12-Nov-16 13:23:53

I had some great advice for my lead pulling spanner on here and it made me bin all the anti pull gear. The idiot has been in a very padded harness for ages now and we just tell him off and obstruct every time he pulls. He still pulls but it's never been as bad as before I posted on here. I feel very bad for using the restrictive harness/choke collar

Ylvamoon Fri 18-Nov-16 19:17:29

The best is to teach your dog the command "Heel" .... and be very patient!

Start off at home, no collar or lead needed! Get your dog to walk beside you with a treat in your hand (it might only be for 3-5 steps...) - when your dog is in the right position, tap your leg and say "Heel" & walk with your dog beside you. When you stop, give the treat & say "good boy / girl heel" .

Repeat this exercise often, but make sure dog don't get bored- little and often is the key. Slowly increase your steps.

Once the dog has understood the basic command you can start practicing outside. Best is to start off on the way home from walk - when the dog is less eager and tired. Just repeat steps as above (on lead of course). Slowly increasing the time for the command "Heel".

To underline this exercise, make your dog sit, before you let him/ her off the lead and give a command like "Free"- so your dog knows it's time to play!

This method will take time, but you end up with a dog that can walk by your side on and off the lead.

everythingis Fri 18-Nov-16 19:19:16

Yl I'm inspired by your post to crack the heel
Command thank you!

Mytholmroyd Fri 18-Nov-16 19:24:25

We were recommended this lead rather than a harness and it has worked a treat

pklme Fri 18-Nov-16 20:19:22

Nose harness works well, as long as it's not a short nose breed.

Shriek Fri 18-Nov-16 23:55:56

Good luck its one of the difficult to master and takes a lot of repetition.
I would advise to not take your dog out for walks but stick to just training.
Everything you do is training so going out on a walk is going to work directly againsst you a ddog already thinking abou the park at the end of it! If you can master it indoors then go out for walking training (note-not just for a walk) and then do same out in parks and so on.
This will also ensure you are keeping safe inpregnancy.

ExitPursuedBySpartacus Fri 18-Nov-16 23:57:48

I have a 9 year old springer.

Still pulls like a jeffing train.

Whitney168 Sat 19-Nov-16 16:40:39

What is the current trend for harnesses all about? Surely all they do is allow the dog to lean in and pull like a train, along with being such a faff to put on?

Given that you are pregnant, I would work on training her with a headcollar for the moment, and ensure that you can walk her comfortably without putting yourself at risk of discomfort or a fall. Use food to distract her and treat it as a training exercise, rather than just expecting her to walk on it immediately, but most dogs will walk very easily on these when used to them.

(Note that you should always have a standard collar too, just in case the dog gets the headcollar off before they are used to it - I would use a standard check chain for this, as this way you have enough space to reach the headcollar without being tight, and purely because there will be no pressure on it at all - just clip lead to that before you attach it to headcollar as a safety device.)

When the baby is here (or your husband can start with it now), and she has learned to walk on headcollar without pulling, I would then have two leads - one attached to headcollar, one attached to a traditional HALF check collar - slacken the headcollar lead and use it to correct her when she pulls on the traditional collar and lead.

Eolian Sat 19-Nov-16 16:50:00

I have the same problem. Mine is a 34kg pointer and he's very strong. I've tried pretty much everything. Training him to heel doesn't really work because he's not that interested in treats.
I have him on a figure of eight lead because that's the only think that reduces the strength of his pulling (I've tried harnesses and head halters including ones which attach under the chin ).
He is otherwise a gentle, well-behaved, obedient dog - good recall etc.

Spam88 Sat 19-Nov-16 16:53:54

I was also going to suggest a Halti. We used one on our German shepherd when she was a pup.

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