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  #1  
Old 12-13-2010, 01:23 AM
sleepyflower sleepyflower is offline
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My Mika is about 6-7 months now, she's a german shepard/bermese moutain dog mix. She's never been good on the leash, zig zagging, pulling, hurting my arm lol Now with the snow/ice it is even worst lol

I can not get her to calm down for the leash. Every walk is the same thing, when she gets excited she gets ignored till she is calm.
Once the leash goes on it's like she goes into alter mode, there is no way of getting her attention, let alone get her to become calm.
Just to get my boots on takes a few minuties because she can't sit down long enough. I always try to leave the house first, but when I tell her to come, she's right past me pulling me away from the still open house door that I need to close.lol

When outside I try to get her to calm down, to sit and give me her attention. She'll sit for all of 30 secs, the hole time with her nose down sniffing.
But now she started barking at people and at dogs.
My up stairs naibour(I live in a deuplex) can not go into the house if Mika is there, she barks and jumps and again she has selective hearing and can't hear any of my commands.
With dogs she barks and the hair on her back stands...

So what to do? I know Mika is a very excited dog and needs good long walks for an outlet, but it is becoming such a hassle, I am dredding the walks with her. And I know if I do not adress the pulling and barking now she will just get bigger and harder to train..

Any suggestions??
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:20 AM
kafkameminger kafkameminger is offline
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i have a dog just like her...
what i do is just some little spanking... not that hard though.
it calms them a little.
but I guess it's in their nature to be that way, so there I think we should just deal with it.
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Old 12-13-2010, 03:31 PM
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Renee750il Renee750il is offline
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I haven't used it but many of the members here whose knowledge and opinion I highly value and respect recommend Karen Pryor's Click to Calm for teaching an unruly dog to maintain composure.

One thing I would recommend to start now is desensitize her to the actual leash since it sounds like she is equating her leash with OMG!!!!! Put it on her in the house and just let her walk around with it, treating her when she is calm to reinforce that behavior.

I'm sure some of the good trainers here will chime in to give you better and more thorough advice
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Old 12-13-2010, 04:25 PM
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corgipower corgipower is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepyflower View Post
My Mika is about 6-7 months now, she's a german shepard/bermese moutain dog mix. She's never been good on the leash, zig zagging, pulling, hurting my arm lol Now with the snow/ice it is even worst lol
I'm assuming she's probably fairly large and strong. It might be helpful to walk her with a no pu;; harness.

Quote:
I can not get her to calm down for the leash. Every walk is the same thing, when she gets excited she gets ignored till she is calm.
Once the leash goes on it's like she goes into alter mode, there is no way of getting her attention, let alone get her to become calm.
Just to get my boots on takes a few minuties because she can't sit down long enough. I always try to leave the house first, but when I tell her to come, she's right past me pulling me away from the still open house door that I need to close.lol
Practice putting the leash on and putting on your boots several times throughout the day without any actual walks. This makes it no big deal. The leash and boots don't mean she's going anywhere.

When you walk out the door with her, if she bolts past you, pulling, take her back inside and start over. Rinse, repeat as necessary. Enough repetition and she'll get the idea that bolting and pulling out the door won't get her what she wants, and will in fact get her the exact opposite.

Quote:
When outside I try to get her to calm down, to sit and give me her attention. She'll sit for all of 30 secs, the hole time with her nose down sniffing.
30 seconds of sitting outdoors, in cool air, with activity going on around her is a long time for a young dog. Try for a 1-2 second sit and work your way up to longer. Also make sure she can maintain a sit stay indoors, away from distractions first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kafkameminger View Post
i have a dog just like her...
what i do is just some little spanking... not that hard though.
it calms them a little.
but I guess it's in their nature to be that way, so there I think we should just deal with it.

IMO spanking a dog is never necessary or appropriate. It runs a lot of risk of making them fearful and defensive of us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Renee750il View Post
I haven't used it but many of the members here whose knowledge and opinion I highly value and respect recommend Karen Pryor's Click to Calm for teaching an unruly dog to maintain composure.
Click to Calm is a great book and certainly might be helpful with the barking at other dogs and people that's going on.

But it's not by Karen Pryor. It's by Emma Parson.
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Old 12-13-2010, 04:25 PM
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Kayla Kayla is offline
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Great suggestion Renee!

To be honest, with my own two dogs, I really use a lot of managment tools, to get me by. I used to want a dog that could walk perfectly on a flat collar next to me, but when Duke started showing reactivity towards other dogs at a young age, one of the behaviouralists I worked with insisted I use a head halter. We worked on some sessions and I recall asking when could I take it off so that I could "actually teach him to walk on leash". I remember very clearly what he told me that after he got his sixth dog he stopped caring about teaching a loose leash on a flat collar because it was easier to use head halters. I really didn't like that answer at the time, but after a few months of seeing huge changes in Duke I decided it didn't matter to me anymore.

I use two different managment tools that I like.

The first is the no pull harness, that is not correctional (some tighten under the chest and armpits). I know premier makes one, that I use with Duke called the EZwalker that I really like. The ring attaches to the front of the harness, so there is a risk that they can back out of it, so I always use a regular nylon harness underneath and hook the EZwalker through it.

It works in the concept that a dog cannot move forward if you have control of it's front, tension causes the dogs chest to be turned towards you so that dog physically cannot continue forward.

When I started with Duke I just fed him for wearing it then progressed to walking around the house. The criteria I progressed through (things I would reward him for) is below:

-I stopped periodically and clicked/fed Duke the moment he stopped trying to move forward.

-I stopped periodically and clicked/fed Duke for turning to face me

-I stopped periodically and clicked/fed Duke for returning back to my side

Once I started walking outside I started over from the beginning.

With a dog like Mika that has 6 or 7 months of conditioning under his belt to feel excited about walks and pull you may want to start with a head halter and later if you want to switch to a no pull harness.

With a head halter most dogs with fuss with it much longer then they will with a no pull harness but the benefits are quite significant especially for your safety in the winter time.

To start I just showed Duke the head halter and then fed him. I did this with his meals for about a week. From there I started putting it on, feeding him his meals and continued that for a week.

Then I followed the same criteria with the no pull harness starting in the house first.

-Clicked/ Fed Duke for ceasing forward movement the second I stopped
-Clicked/Fed Duke for looking back at me after I had stopped
-Clicked/ Fed Duke for returning to my side after I had stopped

Then when I moved outside I went back to the first criteria (clicked/fed the moment I stopped) and stayed at that easy step for a few weeks before moving forward.

With Mavrick, my newest dog he runs over to put the head halter on, however once it's on he looooves rubbing it on the ground, and anyone walking near him, so my criteria for him has been walking a few steps without rubbing and then clicking and feeding. I also practice having him stop and look back at me when I stop, but my bigger focus has been on not rubbing. If while we are out walking and he is rubbing I simply hold his flat collar to prevent him from furthur reinforcing himself (rubbing must feel soo good) and then walk a step and click within the first second as that's when he won't be rubbing.

Remember that you are working through 6-7 months of conditioning where your puppy has learned a context where he is excited and he pulls. The great thing about conditioning though, is that it can totally be re-conditioned the other way.

For example- a dog that's been conditoned to love playing with cats, because it grew up with a friendly cat, will very quickly be conditioned to be cautious around a cat when it first meets a not so friendly cat.

A lot of people really don't like head halters, and I was certainly in that boat, however for a situation like Mika, where he is a large dog, and it is now winter time a head halter, along with some positive training out on walks will go along way to recondition walks to be a bit more calm.

Almost done, last thing I like to play with Duke and Mavrick is the look at that game. Alot of people use it for reactive dogs (which is where I first saw it in action with Duke when he was younger) but the concept works well for any dog to help reduce the excitement and pulling when you pass other people, dogs, squirrls,etc.

The look at that game works by conditioning the sight of distractions with high value treats. In the early phases of the game you make it soo easy for you dog by literally putting the food to his snout everytime a dog,human, squirrl appears. This means your dog will be earning most of his daily rations on walks. As the conditioning takes root your dog starts to expect yummy treats when he sees a distraction and starts looking at you in anticipation. Now you reward for this new criteria.

If you look at it in simple format it's actually incompatiable with getting excited because the look at that game interrupts the typical cycle of:

1)Notice a distraction (be it a dog, human or prey animal)
2)Stare at a distraction while getting excited
3)Pull like a madman at distraction

If we cut in at the notice a distraction phase and we feed a decent stream of high value treats as we continue to move away we in effect stop the cycle by having the dog focus on something else (in the early phases eating, later by staring at you). The nice thing about food is that it actually releases chemicals in the brain that physically calm your dog down. Overtime your dog becomes conditioned to expect good things from you when a distraction appears, and his brain starts releasing the feel good chemicals that help keep him calm as you feed and walk by the distraction. After a month of two of this you'll hardly need many treats at all.

Hope that helps
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  #6  
Old 12-13-2010, 04:27 PM
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Kayla Kayla is offline
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oops posted at the same time as you Corgi, that link is another style that I really like
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  #7  
Old 12-13-2010, 07:02 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corgipower View Post
But it's not by Karen Pryor. It's by Emma Parson.
Actually it's Emma Parsons.

Great post, Kayla!
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