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Puppy still not understanding loose leash(19 Posts)
My pup is 7 months old now and we've been trying to train him to walk without pulling (with help from trainer at first) for over four months now.
He's getting stronger and walking him is becoming more of a chore and more frustrating everyday, find myself telling him off more than I mean to.
We've tried changing direction every time he pulls consistently, feeding him as we walk, holding him tightly at the same side of our body and using commands and working on his lead walking after an off lead run so he is tired out.
How long/how much work did it take for your dogs to get it? Has anyone had luck with a halti?
We also have a 7-8 month old puppy and we have tried all sorts!
The only thing that seems to be working now is a sharp but not hard pull on the lead when pulling and then almost constant "yes" and reward when loose.
Over the last couple of weeks it's almost corrected.
Yes is our reward word and works very well.
Have you tried a harness that the lead attaches from the front?
We give him lots of praise when his lead is loose but he just goes right back to it again and pulling him back doesn't work.
Haven't tried harness with front clip as I'm sure I've read back clips are safest for puppy's, but could be wrong there?
The front clip is fine as long as you have a harness that is securely fitted.
Our dog is 9 months and is only just starting to get it.
I found getting a proper treat bag helped so he knows there is lots of food available, and mixing the treats up in the bag so they all taste more delicious. I can also ‘accidentally’ rustle it with my elbow to remind him it’s there.
He got a treat every few steps to start. Now we are up to every two houses ish so it’s slow progress! Plus if I have my kids with me or we see something more exciting than usual, or we are in a new place it all goes out the window and we are back to every couple of steps treating.
If he pulls we stop and call him back to us in a nice voice. Once he makes the slightest effort to come e towards us and the lead loosens again we praise, walk forward and treat again.
It’s slow and at times incredibly annoying but I’m hoping once he’s older things will all be slightly less exciting too!
Hope you get there eventually!
We also tried the front clip thing but I couldn’t get on with it.
Didn’t seem to bother the dog though. Just brings him round to face more towards you when you pull on it gently, rather than just stops them while they are facing forwards.
Mine only started to "get" it around a year old but he still pulls when he sees or smells something exciting!
We started by having small training sessions around the house where we would hold a treat and get pup to walk ‘close’ without a lead. After a couple of months this progressed to walking close for small trips outside with the lead on. Now at 8 months he does pretty well though finds it noteable harder if there are lots of distractions or at the beginning of the walk when he is full of energy. If he pulls I stop until he is ready to go back into the ‘close’ position (left side of us). He does really well but it really is a work in progress and think it will continue to be for months/couple of years yet.
I used an extendable lead and harness until he was ready to use a loose lead
Thanks a lot for all the advice.
Any other time he will jump through hoops for a treat but even with high value rewards, on a walk he loses all focus and doesn't really seem to care.
Constant rewarding is helping with ours. I’d prefer a harness but he pulls worse on a harness than a collar plus he hates a harness and runs away if I try to put it on.
How do you react exactly when he pulls?
This works but you have to be very patient and you won’t be going anywhere for a while, just forwards and backwards.
Set off with the dog and as soon as he pulls stop and wait. This bit might take ages but as soon as he looks at you, click, treat and change direction. Make sure you change direction. As soon as he pulls stop and repeat. You won’t manage a walk but if you do this consistently for 2-3 weeks it works. You need the patience of a saint...
Set off with the dog and as soon as he pulls stop and wait. This bit might take ages but as soon as he looks at you, click, treat and change direction. Make sure you change direction. As soon as he pulls stop and repeat
I remember this method well...
I kid you not she would walk for a few strides, jump backwards (completely unprompted), sit and smile at me and turn around and start walking in the opposite direction (unprompted)
Though I know it works well for most dogs.
If you do fancy a harness, the Mekuti balance harness is a great training tool.
A double ended lead is attached to both the back clip and through a ring on the side to a front clip. Then you sort of unbalance the dog if it pulls by alternating between pressure on the front ring, or the back ring. It worked on both my dogs like a charm. You can then reward the dog for walking on a loose lead much more often as it really works well to prevent the pulling.
Have you got his collar up high? That's how I was taught to get puppy walking properly. It basically needs to sit as high as it can go, right under their chin. You then hold the leash quite low down so it's kind of vertical, it stops them sniffing the ground the whole time. It can look a bit ridiculous but worked for us, you'll also need to adjust it several times during the walk as it can work it's way back down. It gets them walking at a non tuggy pace and you praise/treat them as they are walking well. The whole point is for them to be paying attention to you rather than focusing on where they are going which makes them pull so you have to constantly be talking to them as you walk along (makes you feel a bit of a plank but works eventually)
I’ve tried the stop -go method with two dogs which pulled hard. It didn’t work. With one dog I persevered for six months or more and it didn’t work.
I’ve used the halti it works well there have been some walks where I’ve needed it the whole way and others where she’s been ok for most of it so we slipped it off and back on when needed and some walks where she’s been fab and hasn’t needed it at all.
However I did a gun dog course at the weekend and we spent half an hour doing a calming circle. You start by walking between 2 posts about 15 steps apart and you keep walking slowly for as long as it takes for your dog to stop reacting to the environment and start focusing on you. This took about 20 minutes. The idea is you only walk when dog is calm. So no leaving the house looking like superman in flight, dog sits before door is open and only leaves when calm. I used the circle for 5 minutes before walk this morning and it honestly worked we usually walk a canal with loads of ducks and other exciting things to react to and she was mostly calm, when she spotted things to lurch at we stopped and did the circle again (I guess it’s taking the turning and walking the other way a step further) I got through 2 miles with a loose lead dog and only one painful lurch at a duck.
When DH took her out tonight though he did none of it and she pulled the whole way.
@billybagpuss don't suppose you have a link or know a name for that method so I can understand a bit better? Thank you for that. Superman leaving the door is exactly what we are like.
Have tried changing directions and keeping my tone short and light. Hadn't heard of the collar being high up but I'm a bit concerned about walking him on one as I think he could really harm himself pulling. I am going to get him a harness with a double ended lead to attach though.
Thanks for all the advice. Sick of returning from a walk in sweats with sore arms, feels hopeless.
I will ask at the weekend, this was week 1 of 4. I've been practising with her all week we have been using the circle and it seems to be working.