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Lead/walking manners(8 Posts)
Please give me your lead training tips. I have an 18 month chocolate lab, he's beautiful but big and strong. We did puppy training just over a year ago and it went well, he had the basics nailed. But I had accident early last year where the ligaments in my knee were torn, I couldn't walk the dog for a while so it was left to DH and his parents help us out too. This has resulted in him being a nightmare to walk on lead (he's fine on off lead walks) because none of them kept up the training. I had no idea of the extent until I started walking him again last autumn. He walks head down sniffing everything, loose lead walking has gone out the window, he pulls badly, I've got a halti to help with this. The biggest problem is meeting other dogs on lead, he lunges and won't listen to a damn word I say. I'm worried another dog owner is going to have a go at me soon as it's obvious I've only just got him under control. He's not barking or snarling, he wants to sniff and play which is fine if he could be calmer about it, plus I don't know how the other dog reacts. It's driving me mad, I just want to take him for a nice walk without him pulling like a bastard. DH is at work until 6 today, I've spoken to him and said we need to pull together and get this sorted otherwise I'll not be walking him anymore, which is a bit crap as I like the exercise. Any tips on how to address this now he's past being a puppy, he's lovely dog, just over friendly and no lead manners!
Back to basics short lead and high value treats. I hear a tube of primula cheese can work wonders as easy to hold and u can just squeeze a little into there mouth
I found Victoria Stilwell’s method very effective for lead walking. She has a website you can look up but basically it involves turning instantly and walking in the opposite direction as soon as dog puts tension on the lead or lunges. Say something sharp and loud like “Ah ah” (I found myself saying “turn” and it got to the point where the dog (it was my cousin’s dog) just turned instantly as soon as I said it.)
He's a lab so I'm guessing he loves his food?
Get yourself a good treat pouch and make sure it is fully stocked with tasty treats for a walk. I use this:
And have a supply of chopped hot dogs in the fridge, ready to go. They are tasty, easy to swallow quickly and stinky. Perfect.
On a walk, if he pulls then stop still, use a piece of hotdog to lure him back by your side, feed him and start walking again. The chances are he will pull again almost instantly. Just repeat. Be prepared for the first dozen walks or so to be slooooow but be consistent. Your dh needs to follow the same routine and never waver.
Pulling on lead = a brake that stops you still
Coming back by your side = a treat plus releasing the brake and you move forward
You'll need to walk him properly while training is going on so, when you're not prepared to train but need to exercise him then try to drive him somewhere you can let him off lead. Alternatively, have 2 clear bits of kit so he can tell the difference.
e.g. a body harness with lead attached = you need to exercise him but do not have the time or patience to train and just accept he will pull
a collar and lead = training time.
For the lunging at other dogs, practice having him sit and stay by your side, using treats to reward him.
You will need to practice this at home first until his sit/stay is solid. Then only practice outdoors when you are a long distance away from the other dog. As he gets better you can slowly decrease your distance to the other dogs but start a long way off and only decrease if he is successful. If he fails at any point you have gone too fast and need to up the distance again. This will mean you will look foolish or rude as you maintain an unnaturally large distance from other dogs but does need to be done.
This is really worth doing because excited lunging can become frustrated lunging can become aggression over enough time and repetition. It needs nipping in the bud now. Don't worry about him getting to 'say hello' to other dogs. He doesn't need to. Right now, he needs to learn manners and keeping his distance is the best way to start this.
I did halti and short lead to do this training. Wasn't needed long term, just as part of training. Lead short enough so it doesn't allow for sniffing and keeps dog next to me and easy to guide away if any issues arrise.
Also daily (long) walks and off lead time helps to reduce the overall excitement at being on a walk, to make the whole process calmer.
The callout with the turnabout method (which can work) is that one way may be more rewarding to the dog than the other.
e.g. you are walking towards the park and the dog knows it. He pulls so you turn around. Great, you have just punished him for pulling. He pulls again so you turn again, now you are walking back towards the park. Does the dog see this second turn as punishment or reward?
It's hard to say. If he sees it as punishment then your training is consistent. If he sees it as a reward then you have just reinforced pulling and your training is not consistent.
That said, with my method, a dog that loves to sniff can end up using pulling as a brake because sniffing is rewarding and he can only do that if you stop. So he pulls, you stop, he gets a chance to sniff = pulling has just been reinforced.
It's all about knowing what your dog finds rewarding
Yes he's a lab so is very food oriented. I have a pocket full of treats on a walk, which distracts him to a point, l might have to get some stinkier ones. Some good tips thanks, also good points made, everyone needs to be consistent and also I'm worried the lunging will lead to frustrated aggression. I'm really grateful to the in laws helping to walk him but I think it's added to the problem as they all have different styles! They have their own dogs, some walk nicely, some pull, ones a bolter! Our dog is quite wilful so it might take a lot of practice! But I'm determined to sort him out, all my other dogs walked nicely so this is new for me. I'll see it as a challenge, by the end of the year I'll have a dog that will walk nicely and not lunge. The point about not needing to say hello, I totally agree, I think DH found it cute when he was a puppy but it's not so much now! Thanks
No problem. TBF I wish I knew he didn't need to say hello when Battendog was a puppy. I inadvertently taught mine that other dogs were hugely exciting and ended up with a lunger myself + recall went to hell when another dog was around. We are undoing it with sits/stays and consistently making other dogs as dull as can be by keeping our distance. That's how I know for sure it works. Right now we can be about 3/4 metres away from another dog and keep calm and sitting. Plus he's much better at walking on after another playful dog has run up to him to say hello. Any closer is too close but we'll get there.