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Any tips for a spaniel that REALLY REALLY pulls.
We have just about tried everything.
Started with a collar and lead and taught her loose lead walking, inside and at dog training she’s perfect, outside she refuses point blank to take treats and pulls like a train.
Next we tried an ezydog harness, as at least she wasn’t choking herself. This made the pulling worse.
Then we tried a halti anti pull harness, this did absolutely nothing.
Then we tried a figure of 8 collar. Although it works to an extent, so she can’t pull she ferociously rubs her face on the pavement the entire walk and cuts her face, claws at the nose piece and scratches herself, causing cuts, stands on her back legs to walk as she hates it and will squeal with frustration as she can’t pull.
We’ve just started using a canny collar that we’ve borrowed, and although it’s slightly better she is still clawing at it and walking on her hind legs.
Our old dog was a massive puller and the canny collar helped massively.
But I just cannot find anything to help this one.
Oh and we have tried the whole stopping still when she pulls, changing direction etc.
In fact our dog walker has been trying that every walk for 7 months and puppy still hasn’t got the hint.
Place marking. I have a 33kg pointer who does the same. Tried everything. In addition, he isn't really fussed about treats, so using them to try and train him out of pulling doesn't work either! Mine is nearly 5 years old now...
A couple of things that stand out to me:
- if she can do it indoors but outside won't take treats then outside is over stimulating for her and the step up beteen the two environments is too big. Battendog (springer)'s loose lead isn't perfect at 2 years old and sounds very similar in that he can do a perfect obedience heel indoors where it's dull but in new environments is so exited he is all over the place. Street walking in his own village now has a solid loose lead and so is enjoyable.
Where we made progress was to target a specific bit of pavement and work just on that, then slowly stretch it out.
So, we'd walk to a nearby field on lead and he'd pull. We'd train here but rarely made an progress for this bit. He'd have a good run about the field and then on the way home we'd really focus training on the last little bit of pavement leading to the house. By that time in the walk he'd sniffed loads, pee'd loads and knew he was going home which is much less exciting than going somewhere. That meant he got it 'right' more often and lots of praise and treats were used. I really bigged it up with almost constant praise whenever he wasn;t pulling. Treats were more effective (though he's never been especially foody) because he was less distracted by the walk.
When we had that bit of the walk sorted, I'd simply encourage it earlier and earlier in the walk home. When the full walk home was sorted I started being stricter for the full walk.
(Strict to me means stopping dead when he pulls and not taking another step until the lead was loose).
Other things that helped:
- we used a flat collar and lead for training walks where I was going to actively train him and we used a harness and lead for social walks where training was going to be sporadic or awkward (e.g. when rushing or when out with friends)
What I was trying to encourage here was consistency with the lead and collar. I wanted the message to be absoluely clear: pulling when wearing lead and collar will never work. That means everyone has to follow the same routine every single walk. Having two sets of kit meant I could send him out on a harness with people I thought probably wouldn't be so strict.
- We practised the obedience heel at home all the time. In the garden, in every room. We then started to do it occasionally mid walk. For us, this is a perfect heel, looking up at me, turning with me if I turn around. We linked it to games. So, if he wanted me to play tug, we would do 30 seocnds of this first. If he wanted a bit of roast beef, we did this. With enough practise this gave me something I could encourage outside as well. It allows us to get past distracting things in the street without pulling, such as the sight of a cat or children playing etc. But you do need the properly lay the foundation work first.
In the end I think it can require 100% perfect consistency from everyone wo walks the dog, all the time. Dogs do what works so if she's pulling then it is working for her in some way. Figure out how it's working and stop it doing so. Make walking nicely work instead. (Easier said than done)
She’s nearly 1.
She’s so clever. She’s done 3 levels of obedience classes and was top of the class every time.
I think the problem we have is consistency. Probably because we have about 5 different people walking her so it’s hard to keep everyone doing identical things.
She is not a pleasure to walk at all, so really need to get this sorted.
And I would send her out on a harness with people that aren’t so strict, but the dog walkers refuse to walk her on a harness due to her pulling. For a 15kg dog she is surprisingly strong. She’s blistered my hand before from pulling.
But then the dog walkers moan that she rubs her head collar off, spins on walks with excitement, cuts her face on the floor and walks on her hind legs.
She’s not so excited with us walking her as sometimes it’s a 5 minute walk on the lead to the postbox or sometimes an hour round the village so she never knows what to expect, but the dog walkers have a private field they walk dogs to, so she knows when she gets walked with them that there’s an exciting destination at the end of it.
Your dog walkers don't sound very good! Is there any way they could drive her directly to their field and cut out the lead walking altogether? Then you work on the lead walking yourself.
It’s literally a 3 minute walk to the field. They collect the dogs along the way and walk there.
So unfortunately not.
the dog walkers refuse to walk her on a harness due to her pulling
This is a walker that is putting convenience before safety. A dog that is pulling should be on a harness, not a collar (nless being trained) because there is less risk of throat damage. I would question a walker that insisted a pulling dog had to be walked on a collar.
Nearly 1 is a spaniel that still has a lot of maturing to do. She needs consistency and time, imo.
She can’t pull when she’s wearing her figure of 8 collar, so she always goes out with the dog walkers wearing that.
But dog walkers complain that she cuts her face, rubs her head on the floor, spins and walks on her rear legs whilst wearing it, as if I’m honest she doesn’t like it.
We walk her every day on the figure of 8 and generally she’s not too bad unless getting close to the field where we let her off, when she does the same for us as she does the dog walkers.
So I just don’t know what to do.
Harness they complain of pulling.
Figure of 8 they complain of spinning, face rubbing and yelping.
Collar I won’t let her be walked on due to strangling herself.
Not quite - it's this:
we had a springer lab that pulled and pulled and like you tried all sorts. she does like to be out in front and we found a slightly longer collar with the Halti has eventually worked (now aged 5.5, started working about 3) for me anyway. Husband uses a chest harness and copes with that OK I find she pulls too much on it for me.
I used a Halti with my very strong pulling rottweiler.
We have a husky who walks great on a lead but pulls like hell on a harness.
I agree they associate different 'walkwear' with different styles of walking.
Dh used a scooter with the harness and she goes into pulling mode instantly!!
If she forgets out with me then my arm is nearly dislocated until she remembers its me on the other end not dh!!
Lack of consistency seems to be your problem ime.
I think the problem we have is consistency. Probably because we have about 5 different people walking her so it’s hard to keep everyone doing identical things. This is your problem you have chopped and changed people, methods leads etc but your dog is still unmotivated or unrewarded to walk to heel.
Dogs walk quicker than us fact (spaniels walk quicker than most dogs!) so the pulling is not being defiant or bad or naughty it is just easier for them to walk at that pace.
I hate the stop and go method (especially with spaniels) as all it does is increase the owners frustration and the dogs frustration no one learns much and everyone just gets huffy (usually)
Get a copy of easy peasy puppy squeasy and go back to the basics. The drunk walk is a good place to start.
If you are not all consistent it will take longer but if YOU are consistent you will get a dog that walks well with you but does not with others eg dog walker.