Pulling! Any advice appreciated

(18 Posts)
SalvatoreMaroni Wed 09-Sep-20 18:29:33

Hello everyone, Iv'e had my dog for 6 weeks, he is almost 8 months old. His previous owners rarely if ever walked him. As a consequence he is terrible on the lead. He tries to sprint the whole time. I've tried various harnesses and leads, head collars ( which he hates so I don't want to use again), I've watched countless different trainers on YouTube and tried all the methods they suggest. I tried stopping dead each time he pulls but he ends up getting very frustrated after a Couple of minutes, and he starts barking and whining, and getting very worked up. I have tried to treat him each time the lead is slack but as soon as hes had a treat he goes full on hyper mode, and pulls even more. It takes him ages to calm down. I have also tried turning the other direction when he pulls which didn't seem to work at all either. I kept that up for a week and then I gave in as we were getting absolutely no walking done, we weren't making it to the end of the street as i was having to turn around every couple of steps. This really frustrated him too and also resulted in the whining/barking so I gave in. This post is a last resort before I shell out for a professional trainer or behaviourist for help, does anyone have any hints or tips please? There must be a way to teach him to at least walk and not run? I've had dogs all my life and never encountered a puller like this before. He's brilliant in every other way so I would be over the moon if I can crack this. Thanks !

OP’s posts: |
Borderstotheleftofme Wed 09-Sep-20 19:19:29

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MrsElijahMikaelson1 Wed 09-Sep-20 19:21:54

We used a gentle leader which helped. What also helps is a long retractable lead for when she can just walk on ahead and mooch.

MrsElijahMikaelson1 Wed 09-Sep-20 19:23:36

And no to a prong FFS-they are instruments of torture and designed to punish your daughter. He won’t want to go anywhere with you with one on.

MrsElijahMikaelson1 Wed 09-Sep-20 19:24:05

Dog FFS! I wouldn’t use one on my daughter either🤣🤣🤣

PollyRoulson Wed 09-Sep-20 19:28:06

Borders I am totally shocked by your post shock You don't really mean it do you?

You can crack this without causing bodily harm or pain, fear to your dog.

Break this down into two occasions.

1.Training and play time
2.Actually going for a walk

Initially you will teach him to walk without pulling BUT this may not initially transfer to your walks. He has been a persistant puller for a while so it will take a little bit of time for him to learn new behaviour.

Hopefully knowing this you can relax a bit which also makes the situation a bit easier to handle.

1. Play and training heel work.

Put your lead on your dog in the house , stand still and say do nothing. Eventually your dog will glance in your direction (depending on the dog it may whine jump up pull bark or sit and do nothing ignore all of this.

The second they glance in your direction drop a treat by your feet.

Every time they look at you they get fed.

I would feed all meals like this for several days.

next step is to add movement - they should glance at you again drop treat by your feet (preferbly to the side of you) All of this is done inside in a boring location.

When you can take a few steps and they continue to look at you and you treat then try out in the garden.

Over time you can add more distractions eg going for a walk and more time between treats. Only do one thing at a time

You will have it sussed in days - honestly

SBTLove Wed 09-Sep-20 19:33:13

Please ignore the prong suggestion, there is no need for aversive training techniques, these should hopefully be banned soon.
If you’ve only had him 6 weeks and tried a variety of items, you really need to persevere with one. Halti head collar is very good and it does take them a bit of getting used to, another is halti double ended lead; one clip to collar, one to harness, gives you good control of him.


CMOTDibbler Wed 09-Sep-20 19:33:19

It takes time and consistency. Get a good fitting harness, and accept that he's had 8 months of pulling and you are expecting him to change that behaviour in a few days. I teach my foster pups to walk nicely by first playing with them in the garden so they have taken the edge off their energy, and then hold the lead across my legs (so with two hands) so that they are walking at my side, not having a whole lot of lead to pull on. I then praise them all the time they aren't pulling forward. As many walks a day as you can manage so its small amounts of time and often to reinforce the behaviour you want. And keep remembering that its taken 8 months for them to get here, you need to do something consistently for at least a month if not more before deciding it doesn't work

Borderstotheleftofme Wed 09-Sep-20 19:50:11

I’m afraid so.
I’ll try and explain my viewpoint then keep quiet because I know they are hated.

I think chains are extremely dangerous and should be banned as there’s no limit to the tightening.

I think head collars are extremely cruel, even with extensive desensitisation training a lot of dogs are really unhappy wearing them.
I don’t like seeing dogs scraping their faces along the floor and pawing at their faces which I’ve seen too many times.

I think prong collars when used sensibly, as in a feather light touch, no ‘corrections/Leash jerks’ are fine.
I get that they look terrifying but I really don’t think they are as cruel as claimed.

With regards to your training approach polly my dog is a master of perfect heel work in the house.
I used the very same method you suggested and yes in the house, a boring environment with not much to do it works great.

It works fine in the garden too.

But transferred outside on a proper walk she’ll do it for as long as she’s hungry but sooner or later she’s not that interested in the treats anymore no matter how ‘high value’ they may be.
She isn’t massively food motivated anyway.

I understand I can also use a toy, the trouble with that, is she will play with toys over anything else.
No sniffing, no exploring, just toy.
She’s walked into things before because she was too focussed on the toy.
I don’t think that kind of obsession is healthy and it’s not something I want to encourage.

I have also done the stop and be a tree and the turn around for months at a time.

And I’ve used a head collar (never again) and various anti pull harnesses.

As it is, she is rarely on lead as her recall is so good so on the rare occasions I leash her, to get her past a dog say, I can hold her attention and use treats but no way would she keep it up a whole walk.

PollyRoulson Wed 09-Sep-20 20:13:16

BOrder then you added too big a distraction too soon. If it works in the garden and house then you need a smaller step to moving to the great outdoors.

Most/all dog training fails when you increase the criteria too much.

I rudely did not read the bit about prong collars as noone ever will be able to tell me they are the right way to train dogs ever.

I use the old but true motto "train with brain not pain" smile

JoeCalFuckingZaghe Wed 09-Sep-20 20:19:09

Harness are designed to help dogs pull.

Honestly, a good trainer will be able to help more than any internet advise imo. It’s all about training you and equipping you with the correct techniques and timing (of commands and lead adjustments)

Bergerdog Wed 09-Sep-20 21:18:23

I wouldn’t use a harness either. I actually hate training dogs in them, there’s a reason huskies pull sledges in them grin

I start by teaching my dogs that the right position is to the left of my hip. Great things happen when they stand there, treats/attention etc. This must be something really high value to the dog.
Gradually we move onto walking around the garden or home. When they stay in position again treats etc. I treat every step at first, moving to 2 steps etc until we can do laps of the garden. I find it easier to do in a boring environment than on a walk until they get the idea.
If they can’t manage 3 steps without a treat go back to two and keep repeating. Eventually you should be able to do a fair amount of steps without a treat at which point you can just treat intermittently.
I also make the whole thing fun and make the game about staying in position. Sometimes I run them walk or turn quickly so the dog is predicting what I want and playing along.

The lead must never ever go tight. If it does then I stop, all treats stop and life’s boring.

The only training aid I like are the dogmatic headcollars. They are comfortable and don’t tend to move around. I use these on my giants for extra a security against lunging but they can really help strong pullers get the idea!

Ylvamoon Wed 09-Sep-20 21:40:33

PollyRoulson & Bergerdog have the right approach to successfully training your dog.
Except I would also introduce a clear hand signal and once dog is walking successfully up/ down the garden a voice command to release the dog from the "heel" position e.g. right hand in leg for heel, put dog into a sit & say "free" when you let your dog off lead.
I would also remove all pulling sensations, by practicing the walking without the lead. It may take some time for your dog to work out what you want, but patience & consistency will give you the results you are after!

Sitdowncupoftea Wed 09-Sep-20 21:55:51

@SalvatoreMaroni You said you have had your dog 6 weeks. Have you took your dog to a dog training class to help. One thats a KC good citizen one are the best. Personally I dont agree with chain collars or prong collars. Prong collars the RSPCA are trying to get banned and rightly so. What breed is your dog tbe reason i ask is done breeds love to pull. I use positive reinforcement on my dogs i have sled dogs. If you google zak george on YouTube he has really good training methods. There are head collars such as canni collars but really your dog to me is a little young. Its probably time and patience. One of mine which is 9 month now is the same. Its not easy and won't happen over night but reward everytime they come to heel, stop dead if they pull and walk the other way. Keep at it.

SalvatoreMaroni Wed 09-Sep-20 22:16:52

Thanks for all of the great advice everyone, there are so many really helpful comments here, I really appreciate it! I will definitely be trying some of the techniques that have been suggested. Its pretty frustrating, he has loads of energy and he gets over stimulated very easily. He sometimes won't even accept treats if he is too wound up. I think he's just so excited and overwhelmed by going out and realising there's a whole world out there to explore. Plus the fact that he's a working breed probably adds to it. I think the key may be starting off training in the house, and trying to get some of his energy out through play/mental stimulation first. As for using a prong collar, I would rather train the dog not to pull than rely on an aid if you know what i mean. I think they may help in the moment, but they don't actually teach the dog anything. If you took the prong collar off and swapped it for a regular collar and lead the dog would still be pulling. I'd rather try and teach him not to pull no matter what lead/collar/harness he has on smile

OP’s posts: |
Sitdowncupoftea Thu 10-Sep-20 00:27:09

I walk mine on harnesses. I have a working breed. You can train without aids but it takes time. I'm training one of mine now hes a pup so excitement takes over. If yours is food orientated that's a bonus. Everytime your pup looks at you while onleash also reward as they are taking notice of you. Dogs do pick up things fast. If your dog hasn't been walked much then everything is new to him.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Thu 10-Sep-20 07:38:59

Let me get this straight. MN deleted a post because someone suggested using a prong collar?

Girlintheframe Thu 10-Sep-20 07:58:21

We walk ours with a collar. He is 2 now and still doesn't walk perfectly all time so it's very much a work in progress.
Start of the walks are always more difficult imo because pup is full of energy and bounce!
We started when he was very young by having a treat in our hand and getting him to walk close. We used to do it in the garden/around the house.
Once he understood that we used to do a very short lead walk and basically have a supply of treats that he got literally every few steps if he stayed in position. If he pulled we just stopped and corrected him. We built upon the length of these walks as he got better.
Now he is older and 90% of the time walks well but if he doesn't we just stop. He's learnt that we aren't going anywhere until he is back at my side.
Some days he is just so full of energy he won't walk nicely until he's had a good run.
Main thing imo is to keep calm and be very consistent.
We did the good citizen training as pp mentioned and found it very helpful.

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