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Springer puppy pulling on lead till paws sore :((45 Posts)
Am sat at a bus stop on way home from school trying not to cry.
18 week old Springer and she is just impossible.
I spent hundreds on 121 training lessons from 8 weeks and she just won t walk nicely.
He paws are literally scraped raw in places.
She pulls so much she is gasping for air from her collar choking her.
Does anyone have any techniques?
She's a lovely dog but the biting, pulling and toilet training are getting nowhere and I'm fed up tbh
Agree, look at a Halti. I got one after my 30kg rescue mutt nearly got us both killed by jumping out unexpectedly in front of a car, from sitting nicely waiting to cross the road. I barely held on to her enough to hold her back and stop us both going under the wheels.
Bought a Halti the next morning.
Harness with front d ring to attach lead helped my sprocker walk better, he still pulls but I just think he always will and it’s nowhere near as bad.
Also used a halti which was ok for a while. Are you going off lead? Mine always walks better when he has had a good run off lead. Actually he walks much better off lead next to me but obviously that’s not always possible.
18 weeks is HARD, it will get better (may get a bit worse first though...)
Spaniels are a pain in the arse to get to walk nicely. Yours is still a puppy which makes it doubly hard.
For now invest in a harness like a halti, dogmatic, or perfect fit with front d-ring. Worry about training to walk nicely on a collar later.
I've only ever trained one pup, a springer cross. With the lead thing I just walked the other way/round in circles so he wasn't able to pull as he didn't know which way we were going. He also walked at my side by command and recall was something we worked on a lot - mostly in the house. He learns things really fast, but he was probably about 18 months old before he became a 'proper dog'. He's my shadow, very loyal, and constantly amazes people with his understanding of language, and is sat on my foot right now.
18 weeks is still very young, but biting is something I never allowed. Puppy 'mouthing' isn't funny as they get bigger and it's cruel to laugh one day and scold the next.
How many hours each day do you spend with her and how long actively training? Does she understand 'no' yet?
Do you do the turn around (or stopping still) thing? It’s a Victoria Stilwell technique. As soon as dog starts to pull you turn and walk the other way. Keep doing it. It’s tiresome at first. I spent my early puppy days just turning on the spot or thereabouts. Start it in the house. Relaxed dog for lead going on. No relax, no lead. Once you get lead on start the turning around. He’ll bolt for the door, you turn or stop still. In the house stopping still is easier. You just stand and wait until he relaxes the lead. Once relaxed you move forward, he’ll pull, you stop. I would do this for 5 minutes a few times a day in the house until you get progress then take it to the garden. The key thing is you do not move forward until that lead is relaxed. You have to be consistent with it.
She is a baby. I would be amazed if a springer this age was anything but a pain in the arse . The bad news is, she is likely to be so for several months yet. Your springer is not going to be properly mature until about 2 years old.
Battendog is a springer who is 15 months old. He:
- walks ok on the lead in environments that are not overly exciting. As soon as he sees another dog, gets another smell or spots something he wants to investigate his first reaction is to try and drag me over to it.
- didn't stop biting until about 9 months old.
- wasn't reliable at toilet training until about 5 or 6 months
Springers take while to mature!
I would get her on a harness to stop her hurting her neck. Use the harness any time you are not actively training her to walk nicely.
I'd also find a decent trainer. Honestly, anyone worth their salt would not have allowed you to spend hundreds without giving you a way to work on this.
I personally use a combination of stopping dead anytime battendog pulls on the lead (think of the lead like a brake, he pulls, it stops me). I only start moving again once the dog has slacked the lead, and they will do so eventually - even if it takes 10 mins of you stood like a statue. This is why you need to be clear when you are actively training, because the first hundred walks are going to be slooooow .
In the early days I would also use a treat to lure him back to where I wanted him to be (by my side) and still use treats to reward him when he is there.
We have been doing this twice a day, every day for six months and I expect to need to do it for at least another year, with small improvements as we go. Loose lead waking (for some dogs) is a long haul.
I also found that Battendog learned much better when the lesson was fun and exciting. For loose lead walking this meant that when we are walking along I try to make being with me as interesting as possible. We stop to sniff things, I change direction often, I sometimes speed up a bit, I often reward and I praise liberally.
If I took him to classes where he just had to repeat the same exercise over and over he lost focus and was a pain. I took him to agility where the work is exciting, fast paced and different all the time and he shone like a genius.
Work WITH the dog. Think about all the things she is designed to do and understand that she cannot resist doing them. She is designed to run and flush and sniff. She is designed to be absolutely focussed on those activities and to never give up until she has the bird. She is designed to bond closely with one person and want to roam the fields with them. Think about ways you can do versions of those things with her.
She will need plenty of mental (and limited physical) stimulation. At her age Battendog was almost a full time job! I would expect a springer that age to need 2 or 3 short walks a day, along with about the same number of training sessions, lasting about 10 mins plus one or two good play sessions. Something like that.
I wouldn’t get a halti harness , get a perfect fit or an Indi dog with a front ring and top ring and use a double ended lead , she’s still a baby cut yourself some slack , very few people in real life have dogs that walk perfectly or even nicely on a lead at that age .
Dogmatic headcollar. Like a halti but alot better fitting and fits more like a bridle. Best thing we ever bought for our boy.
I have a Dogmatic head collar for my Lab on the advice of a walker. Pricey but best thing I ever bought. Halti was useless as she pulled regardless and always does in a harness.
I did the reverse direction thing a lot when she was younger too, neighbours thought I was bonkers!
I'd echo what Floralnomad said. I definitely wouldn't put a head harness on a dog this young for fear of developing neck problems.
There is some conflicting advice on this thread
Head collars are dogmatic halti
Harnesses is the perfect fit fit
If you get the perfect fit then get one with a front d ring.
Heel work is so much more than just getting your dog to walk next to you.
Forget the turning around and stopping when he pulls you get nowhere the puppy and you get really frustrated and he will pull more.
At home reward your dog for being near to you so I have a "magic circle" about 3 ft around me if the dog is in the magic circle he will get a treat (usually from his meal allowance) do this at home a lot.
What is good about this is the dog is getting rewarded for being with you no tension, nothing else happening, it is his choice to be near you and then he will be rewarded.
Do this a lot for a long time .
When you put the lead do exactly the same just reward for being near you - no movement at this point just being in teh magic circle gets treats. Do this at home in the calm.
Then go into the garden and again reward for being near you, when this is becoming a stronger behaviour you can start to add movement.
What I would do is always have the lead attached to the d ring of the harness when you are expecting the dog to be near you.
When you are going out for a walk this afternoon the dog will not have learnt heel work so attach the lead to the back of the harness grit your teeth and do expect some pulling.
Over a few days as the d ring walking becomes stronger you can attach this and expect your dog not to pull - they should be looking at you or checking back into you and you will always give them a reward - and I mean always!
I ordered it already
Its got good reviews so it may help.
That's got a front and back ring and I ordered the double ended lead.
You can never have enough different harnesses and leads
She's got a Julius k9 but it does nothing for pulling
A harness is just giving her something to lean into and pull more.
A dogmatic halter is your best bet. She's more likely to hurt her neck pulling than by using a halter.
I think different ones work for different people. Have a go with the halti (I use a perfect fit) but remember it's very early days so I agree with PP to cut yourself some slack.
Know this feeling well! He is probably testing boundaries. My cocker spaniel is now 8 but took ages to get walking right. I avoided him being on the lead as much as I could when he was young - big parks for a good run around were life savers.
He didn't like the halti - managed to stop and paw it off his face and the got caught in his paws.
Carry some nice treats in your pocket - google how to make a liver cake/cocktail sausages something that he can smell. When he walks to heel reward him - the trick is you want his attention on you, not the park/other dog/ postman etc. Talk to the dog and tel him he's being a good boy. When you have extra time practice walking up and down the street. If he miss behaves stop/turn direction. The more he pulls the longer it takes to get to the park/get a treat etc.
Although tempting don't pull back to make him walk to heel, he will just keep pulling. Dogs need regular reminders throughout their lifetime. Even now my dog will start to pull again and I will go back to basics, or decided something is more interesting instead of coming back right away when I recall him.
Every dog owner goes through this, your not alone. Puppies are hard work, but the hard work pays off a million times over.
He is not testing the boundaries dogs walk faster than us - so do the math - they will be ahead of us and will pull!
Spaniels walk faster than anything on earth so it appear they pull more - they just walk faster
Head collars may prevent pulling for some dogs but they will not train a dog not to pull - they can cause neck injuries, back injuries so I would avoid them if possible. However there are occasions when the risk can be measured against the situation eg elderly owner walking large pulling dog.
With a puppy I would try to train the behaviour before giving in to using a headcollar.
Spaniels put their noses down and zig zag about the place because that's how they hunt. Pulling isn't just the problem with spaniels it's the fact that they try and trip you up as well
A harness is just giving her something to lean into and pull more.
Depends on the dog.
My cocker pulls like a train in a harness but on a collar walks on a beautiful loose lead and has done since day one (he is so food motivated it's beyond belief though, so all I did to "train" loose lead walking on a collar was keep giving him food as we walked along - somehow it didn't work for harness though ).
On the other hand my cavalier pulled and yanked so much on a collar that he made me pull a muscle in my back/shoulder, I put him in a perfect fit harness and he quickly gave up trying to pull.
I agree LittleBLUEsmurfHouse
My dog isn't terribly food motivated and wouldn't even touch chicken, cheese or whatever high value food I tried to offer him on a walk so the training by rewarding with food simply didn't work for us.