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How is it everyone else has a normal dog?(25 Posts)
Hi, I hope someone can give me some advice. My working cocker spaniel is 12 months old. She’s a good dog, calm in the house, friendly with people and other dogs.
She goes to daycare and the trainer who runs it always says what a good dog she is. No recall issues, she just follows the older dogs.
With us though, since her adolescence has hit her recall is patchy. Not dreadful but if she spots a bird then she’s off. She comes back after a few minutes but it’s stressful.
The main thing is she’s so awful on her lead. Our trainer has told us to turn round every time she pulls and go in the opposite direction. He gave us one of those figure of 8 over the nose type leads for times we just need to get where we’re going iyswim.
Anyway she hates the nose thing. We tried it for a week and she pawed at it the whole time. The training part we’ve been doing daily since we started lockdown. She can now walk nicely if she’s just with me and somewhere boring and familiar.
I see dogs everywhere off lead pottering about near their owners and walking nicely on their leads. I want to take my kids and dog for a nice walk round the sea front today and I can’t because the dog will ruin it pulling.
Should I try a Halti or something similar?
Sorry for such a long post. I love her so much and want to be able to walk her without being literally pulled all over.
I’ve not got a normal dog! Mine pulls too. He also hates anything round his nose.
We have a training lead, with a clip on both ends and have found that he pulls much less when both ends are attached to his collar creating a loop, and there is a lead on each side of his body rubbing against his shoulders iyswim.
We had him at a trainer who used to train police dogs and he did get him walking nicely on a lead when there were no distractions, but we didn’t like his training methods...he was basically a bully, so stopped going. Tried a choke chain as recommended by this trainer and hated it.
We now use the lead where we have to, but chose to walk where he can mainly be off lead, so we are all happier.
She's an adolescent dog... I suspect those walking perfectly are mature dogs ..mine's 13m with patchy recall (was pretty good til she had her first season then bang..bolshy teenager!)
Most the dog owners I chat to on walks have simiar tales.. teen dogs are a pain in the ass, but if you keep working on recall and have the worlds best treats, they eventually improve.
Mine's good when it's boring, but if she sees a squirrel..or really wants to play with another dog all bets are off. I prefer a short lead when I know we will be somewhere I can't let her have a free run. I don't like halti or any of the control leads because it's coercive control rather than real training.
I do use a harness tho (Perfect fit) so I can hold her safely if a squirrel appears! I also have a Tractive tracker on her harness just in case!
I'm just keeping on working on it, and hoping that in a year or two I will have a sensible dog :D
Have you tried clicker training? There’s lots written on online. Cockers are a sensitive and very intelligent dogs and I think the positive training approach works well . It also makes training fun for the dog . It will help with the recall but I think would have rapid results on the lead .
I have a teen cocker spaniel and he's absolutely daft. He pulls on the lead too, trips over his own feet.
Pulling is TOTALLY normal in teenage dogs, honestly. I'm a dog walker and the only dog I walk that never pulls is a 12yo collie who frankly, is too lazy nowadays to bother
Please don't feel like you have a delinquent dog. Most dogs, especially teenage dogs, have problems like pulling, barking, or poor recall. I know it an be really, really embarrassing when your dog is the one pulling/running off/barking at everyone but most owners have been there, they've just blocked out how bad it was!
Your first paragraph reads exactly like my life - except dog is now 10.
There has been no improvement on the lead and at this stage of the day I’m not expecting there to be any changes.
Tried everything and if we’d continued the advice we were also given about stopping and turning around I think we would have managed to get about 20m from the house.
WC are bred to be off lead. It’s what they do, it’s in their DNA.
10 years down the line we still try to have minimum on-lead time and recall is ok. Treats help a lot unless there are ducks about and then...well...we’ve basically lost control...
I would do the stopping and waiting when she tugs on the lead.
I also think you do need to be firm and clear with dogs using a mixture of positive reinforcement (praise/ treats) and negative reinforcement (saying NO/stopping the walk/ turning round etc)
Dogs are generally happier pets once they know whats expected of them, and while it may look like bullying at first, you can hardly sit down and explain nicely to a dog. You do need to be very strict and consistent, otherwise theyre always getting in trouble for things that they arent actually clear about how to behave.
I am not sure about "normal" dogs . Most dogs I see out and about don't even walk on the correct - left - of the owner, but out in front and, often, pulling like a train. So dangerous, especially if the walker is using one of the ridiculous extending leads. My dogs have always walked to heel from the start. Puppies are like children, they don't come into this world having good manners, they have to be taught.
I am not surprised she does not like the thing on her nose - I would not either. When she starts to pull, stop and make her sit by your left side. If you repeat every time she pulls she will soon understand what you want. Spaniels are bright dogs and want to please.
We have a crazy working cocker. She’s 12. We use a Mekuti harness with a double ended lead. It’s fantastic.
Also, the Spaniels Rock Facebook group is lovely and very helpful.
Have a look at the Dogmatic head collar, the noseband doesn't ride up into the eyes which is the cause of most problems for dogs. This and a double ended lead, one end to the head collar and one to the neck collar. This way the headcollar only comes into play when the dog tries to pull, rather than lead solely attached to head collar (which i absolutely hate to see).
You have a perfectly normal teenage spaniel. Loving, affectionate, bouncy, strong-willed, distractable...
It's all part of the package.
She sounds like a perfectly normal working cocker spaniel. The 'walking calmly by your side' thing doesn't come until they are about three years old (or longer) and after LOTS of work on keeping their focus and attention with you on walks.
I help look after four dogs. Only one of them is like that. She will come back to me and check in on her own accord. Easy to train. Come when called even as a teenager. If I could steal her away and take her home I would as she is the perfect dog.
Now the other three. Don’t even get me started. It’s a good job they are cute.
we have a 3 year old working cocker...he is pretty good off lead but pulls like mad once on it...go figure!
He also peed all over the leg of an architect during a home meeting 6 months ago.....never done anything similar before or since....
He also exits and re-enters the house through any window (ground floor) open more than 6 inches...we call him the flying dog..
Gets so excited to see you he crab runs sideways grinning...even if you have only been to the loo.
Not sure what is normal.
I have a border collie and she’s horrible on lead, always has been.
Until recently I had her almost exclusively off lead which was fine as she had great recall, unfortunately she seems to have lost a little bit of hearing in her old age but still runs far, far away like a young pup and no longer hears me calling her at great distance which has once resulted in her getting lost and almost causing a car accident.
P.s that stop and wait.
What a bloody waste of time was!
I’ve tried pretty much everything.
I did months of that nonsense as a pup, she’d just bounce and pull happily, stop and waits and lunges forwards and pull again..
I would recommend clicker training. A good way to do training for lead walking is to walk around the house and garden. That way there are less distractions. With our stubborn basset hound we use the term nicely and she knows that she needs to walk next to us and not pull. We used to wait till she was walking where we wanted then click and treat. Then we added the word and removed the clicker
We had a very pull-y dog and after a similar query like yours got a lupi harness which works like a halti but on the chest, less likely to give your dog neck problems, less irritating for them, but way more effective. And if pulling does happen it transfers the force onto their own hind legs so your own arm isn't having to take the strain. My committed puller changed overnight with this and it has never been a problem since. Hth
P.s Mine is a border collie (now nearly 16 so much less if a puller 😆) and we had tried the stop-every-time-they-pull-and-they-get-the-message thing... He didn't. We persevered for ages, it made no difference whatsoever. Maybe it does for some.
On the plus side he was always very good off the lead and once we used the lupi perfectly fine on it. 🤷
At 3 mine now walks beautifully on the lead (99% of the time anyway). When she was was one though, she pulled a lot. Walking on the lead was a chore, especially as she’d got a much better recall at that point. It’s easy to give in but then you’re stuck walking in areas where the dog can be off-lead. So we just kept working at it. Stopping walks when she was pulling, turning round. Walking slow, then faster (practically running), then slow again, all the time using the instruction tone of ‘heel’ and rewarding as we go. Lots of praise when she was walking to heel. Lots of treats when she was doing it right. Practicing with a ball helped (when she clicked with balls). We would get her excited about the ball, then hold it at waist height, walk. When she ran in front, we would stop and make her back to our side. This works well on short stints to begin with, giving her the ball when she’s done some nice heel work for a time and increasing as you go. We practiced at home with her food bowl, similar to the ball. We would practice before her meals, walking around the garden on and off lead. Using obstacles on your walk like lampposts and wheelie bins to make the dog fall back in line with you, then rewarding when she did. We were consistent, both of us. I’m sure we looked like utter dicks, walking really slowly, then running, stopping, running again, walking in the opposite direction but it worked. We also practiced with both sides. I know the correct position is for the dog to walk on your left but instead we’ve taught ours to walk to heel on both sides and we switch her walking side to make sure she’s always on the inside of us when walking alongside a road. She knows the command ‘switch’ which means drop behind us, we swap the lead from one hand to the other and she comes around the other side of us.
There will be many times you want to give up and not every training style is going to work for your dog. However, it’s also likely to be a combination of techniques. It’s just going to take some time to work out which works for your dog and then more time to get it to stick.
I’ve been where you are. You’d be surprised how many dogs you see out and about have issues that aren’t immediately obvious.
I have the softest, daftest whippet in the world with people but I do have to watch him with other dogs as he does have a tendency to be rude and play rough. He also has issues with separation anxiety. If you saw me walking him down the street, accepting pats from random children you’d probably think he was the perfect dog.
Due to his issue I’ve done a fair bit of group training which ends up being a bit like group therapy at times It was a shock to see that the same cocker spaniel who growled and snapped at other dogs during class and on lead was suddenly an angel off lead with other dogs. Conversely, my dog who can get easily overstimulated off lead was an angel in class (even if he wasn’t great at the actual training part.)
I have a 14 month old Dalmatian and he pulls like a steam train. It's awful. I have the figure 8 head collar which he dislikes intensely so we I l'y use when we have pavement walking to do. Luckily we have lots of places nearby he can have huge off lead walks.
He's a bouncy, enthusiastic, idiot.
Bugger. Meant to preview the OP, not post
I was going to continue...
However, with lots of treats and Praise every time the head collar is on and making sure I adjust it and check it so it stays positioned nicely and not too tight we have hit a point he'll tolerate it.
He is changing in so many ways so quickly as he gets older, I'm hoping this changes eventually too!
We're about to start agility classes with him. I'm hoping it'll help both of us listen well to each other and support our training.
Your dog sounds lovely, I don't know any who are flawless.
We have a 14 month old working cocker and the only harness we have that helps is an Easywalk. I have tried many.
It's not perfect, but I don't feel as though my shoulder is going to be pulled out of joint when I'm walking him, and if I put him on the short lead I can keep him to heel (pretty much) when I need to.
They are relatively cheap, less than £15, so well worth a try if you haven't already.