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Old 07-23-2008, 09:56 PM
Suzzie Suzzie is offline
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Unhappy GAH Impossible to walk!

Well, Popper is a fun little dog... that's absolutely no fun to walk. He's THE worst dog I've ever walked. He pulls harder than any dog I've ever met. He could pull me and all our other dogs in a cart down the street. It's AWFUL. I tried a Gentle Leader - no go. I ended up walking at a weird angle with my arm raised in the air because he would scraaaaaape his nose on the cement until he had a nasty bloody nose. He screams and cries the entire time. The first time we had an hour walk - people thought I was killing him or doing some horrible meanness to him. An hour. Of beagle squeaking/screaming/barking. I was particularly sad because my other two dogs have gentle leaders and do very well with them.

I had a lot more success with the sporn harness. He still pulled, but drastically decreased. Well my sporn broke (I guess it could only take so much). Now I'm back to a regular harness. He can't be walked on the collar - when he was smaller, pre-sporn, he pulled SO hard he has injured his windpipe. Even on the harness sometimes he will start hacking and wheezing if he's been pulling.

He is much better when I walk him by himself - but with five dogs, that rarely ever happens. I need to walk at least 2 at a time. He HAS to be the front dog or he starts his running in place/screaming/crying thing. I've tried doing the "jerk and release" harness corrections, I've tried telling him no, I've tried bribery, I've tried changing directions frequently so he has to watch me. He becomes aggressive to whatever other dog I am walking him with if he doesn't get his way, and he will bite the dog that's beside him, a quick, short bite, then back to being a spaz. I tried making it kind of a game today, because he loves games, and he acted a teensy bit better, but I don't know if it's because he got worn out and tired or because he thought it was more fun that way.

He's really intelligent so I figure he probably has a good idea of what I want, but I've either been letting him get away with it too long or he's just incapable of controlling himself. We have a similar problem in agility where he will do the next obstacle without waiting for me or my command (though we've only just completed the first course out of a 7 course program), and he has a lot of trouble with "wait" and "stay" when he's placed in front of an obstacle. He wants to go through life at 90 miles an hour and mommy flailing along behind.

Oh, and he's a leash biter. I have soaked the leashes in fooey, and he doesn't care. Bitter apple was a tasty flavoring. I have a chain leash I use sometimes but I don't like to use it because if he walks under roofus it cuts into roo. He drops it when I tell him to, but I think this behavior has become an attention-seeking behavior and I'm not sure what to do about it. He can and will destroy leashes in less than a minute unless I do something about it. He does do it mostly when he's not getting his own way (free and wild dog) or when he's bored (which he gets pretty easily).

Anyhow. I need help. I want to enjoy walking my dogs. He's not making it enjoyable. He's making me miserable. I can't imagine he's too happy either. I'm pretty sure I'll have to start him by himself and then add in another dog slowly to fix this... I'm just at my wit's end and need a fresh perspective. Right now my SO walks all the other dogs and I walk Popper. He's not happy. Nor am I.
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:25 PM
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For control only (link below)- with a light weight metal link leash (to stop leash biting) unless he just needs to be sensitized to the bitter product in order for it to work. Also, with a scent hound, you can put a tiny bit of perfume on the eartips or chin in order to discourage so much interest in following his nose. Of course there's no substitute for training. I always teach a 'BY ME' (heel on either left or right) in a non distracting environment BEFORE adding the leash and going out on a walk.
Stopping when he puts pressure on the leash, moving forward for no pressure...without leash corrections, they don't work anyway. Changing direction, this works better if you use the leash around your waist instead of in your hands, this also helps to avoid the urge to leash correct. Using your walk times as training time. Giving commands every few feet, even feeding meals on the walk a little at a time for behaviours so that he doesn't become saturated by his environment instead of paying attention to you.

And, the big one....training him alone before adding the other dogs. Adding so many other variables to the walk will make it impossible not to reinforce things that you don't want to continue. You can use most regular harness almost as effectively as the one below by simply attaching the leash to the chest ring (most regular harnesses have one). It doesn't work as well but it's the next best thing.

Edit - I just noticed that you've tried a chain leash already. If he drops it when asked, I would just work more on behaviour training on the walk to keep him stimulated.

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Old 07-23-2008, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
We have a similar problem in agility where he will do the next obstacle without waiting for me or my command (though we've only just completed the first course out of a 7 course program), and he has a lot of trouble with "wait" and "stay" when he's placed in front of an obstacle. He wants to go through life at 90 miles an hour and mommy flailing along behind.
How much and what type of exercise does he get? An hour walk isn't exercise. He needs some hard working exercise and mental stimulation. After he's had a chance to burn off some energy, then he can focus and learn some self control.

Walking or jogging with a backpack and some weight added to it, swimming, hide and seek with his toys are some things that might help.

Quote:
I'm pretty sure I'll have to start him by himself and then add in another dog slowly to fix this...
Yea, I would suggest working with him by himself for now.

Also teach him to focus on you and reward any calmness he offers, even if it's fleeting.
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Old 07-23-2008, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Suzzie View Post
I tried making it kind of a game today, because he loves games, and he acted a teensy bit better, but I don't know if it's because he got worn out and tired or because he thought it was more fun that way.
What do you mean you made it a game? How was that different than any other walks you do?

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Originally Posted by Suzzie View Post
He's really intelligent so I figure he probably has a good idea of what I want
No, I'm relatively certain he has no idea of what you want. When was the last time he went on a walk and walked appropriately at least 80% of the walk? Sounds to me like a long time.

Keep in mind that walking is very self-rewarding. Walking with you is somewhat self-rewarding, and pulling in front of you and the other dogs is VERY self-rewarding. So the more he's allowed to pull, the more he's being rewarded for pulling, and the more you're going to have to do to un-train him to pull. I think it will be pretty much impossible to teach him to walk correctly unless you're one-on-one with him, no other dogs.

I'd suggest starting to practice leash walking in your house. You can use a hallway, walk around the kitchen table, or even next to a couch or some other furniture, it just needs to be an area a few steps long. Start with him off leash, and just start walking. Whenever he chooses to walk near you, treat him for that. If he gives you eye contact, no matter what position he's in, treat him for that. If he walks next to you, even for only one step, BIG treats for that! Pretty soon you'll be able to walk a dozen or so steps in your house with your dog at your side, preferably looking at you. Once you get there, practice in a different place - a different room, or possibly outside if there's a very familiar area of the yard that's not too distracting. Do the same thing there - still off leash (assuming it's a fenced area), just walk and reward him for walking with you and/or giving eye contact. This may take a week or two, but it will lay a good foundation for when you start working on the street and it is much more distracting. When you do start practicing on the street, take it in small steps - maybe just walk in the same block up and down your street, where it is very familiar. If he starts to pull, just stop and wait for him to come back to you or give you eye contact, which you should reward heavily again. Reward every two or three steps that he walks with you, and stop often to give him breaks - tell him a release word, and then let him go sniff whatever he wants to sniff for 30 seconds to a minute or so, then start walking again.

When he becomes VERY solid with walking at your side (like, walking perfectly with you about 90% of the hour-long walk), you might be able to try walking him with one other dog.... But be prepared for his training to fall apart and you'll have to reteach a lot of things in the presence of the new dog. That's ok, but it will take a lot of work. I'll be honest, I'm not sure if you'll ever be ready to walk him with other dogs, given his history with them.
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:24 AM
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I recently got Buster's leash walking under control. He was 5 years old when I started and had always been a puller, not hard but always wanted tension on the leash. Since I've got his lease manners under control his DA on leash has dropped significantly, he doesn't loose it. I think its because he's more secure int eh situation because I have control of it and he isn't trying to do it on his own.

It took 2 weeks practiscing multiple times a day till he got a decent walk. I replaced his excercise with backyard agility and ball games, and he got his mental stimulation from the extra training so I don't think it was that much of an issue. We're still proofing things but he's so much easier now.
What I did was read all the different methods I could, combined them, then picked out the points I thought would work best for Buster and used them. This is how I taught it, maybe it will help, maybe not but just use whatever might be helpful.
I used to force, no pulling, leash pops etc. He wears a harness so now he get sthe occasional leash pop but nothing too drastic, just if he's switched off or he's getting too ahead of himself while we're jogging.

First, I changed him from his flat collar to his harness, not a special no pull harness, just a harness. Straight away it got easier, after 5 years of pulling on a flat collar, I think he was desensitized to the pressure, so he clued in a bit more when the pressure was from a different place.

I started in the backyard because he was already pretty good. This is where I did the foundation, outside was too exciting to try to teach new things, so I started in he yard.
1 short step, thean C&T before he had time to get ahead. Back to my side, 1 step C&T. Until I worked up to 2, 3, 4 steps. C&T when he stayed at my side.
I kept working on that till we were going all the way from one side of the yard to the other with him in position.

Thats when I opened the gate slightly, ofcourse that took us a step back. So I left it open and went back down the yard a bit and worked on him with the gate open, while he was behaving we'd head towards the gate. If he went ahead I'd just turn around and head back into the yard.

It took a few days to get allt he way to the nature strip. Than we started practcing up and down the nature strip, clicking every 10-20 steps than a C&T, if he went ahead we'd switch direction, if he went ahead again we'd stop. If he still wasn't paying attention I'd do some simple obediance and take him back inside.

After a couple of weeks we were going on real walks.
I would suggest finding a way to cut him back to walking alone for a while.
And no matter what method you use, you need to be persistent no matter what and you need to not let him be rewarded for pulling.

Like I said, Buster's leash walking still needs some work, but the other day we walked past a dog only metres from us barking at us. We walked past it and he stayed at heel. I didn't have to haul him away from the little thing, we walked past like he your average dog. This was purley from the leash training as I havn't done much work with him regarding his DA yet.
This training has been invaluable to us, I can't believe how much it has helped.
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:18 AM
Suzzie Suzzie is offline
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Popper gets a fair amount of exercise - we play ball everyday, backyard agility at least three times a week (and he does have the backyard to run around and play with the other dogs in), agility class once a week, and we do flyball at home as well. We're working on frisbee but he's more interested in the ball. Whenever we go to the park he goes swimming. I work on obedience and targets nearly every day with him.

I do have a doggie backpack for him and that does seem to have helped in the past, I will start using it again. He doesn't mind other dogs that aren't mine, probably from all the flyball training or the doggie daycare. As a rule, he can walk within inches and pay them no attention. Even in agility he doesn't care. It's just walking beside a dog when he's angry, probably because they're right there and convenient.

I am very willing to walk him separately until we get this under control. He is fine off-leash, but I can't walk him off-leash pretty much anywhere. We will work on it in the backyard, and I like the idea of having the gate open once he's doing okay... he is extremely food motivated, I can give him dinner on the go.... we practice targets and downs and "go touch" every morning for his breakfast, I can make his dinner something he has to earn every kibble as well.

Thanks. I'm rereading all your posts to see if I missed anything (I usually do)!
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Old 07-24-2008, 10:00 AM
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I agree with everyone else, you need focus and control before anything else.

Your agility problem of him breaking the stays/wait, can you put him in a stay, turn your back and walk 20 ft away from him and come back to him without him breaking the stay? Of course that is without being near any agility equipment.

If you can't do that away from the agility equipment, then you can't expect him to hold the stay when near running it.
If you don't have proper training and control over him away from agility, how can you possibly expect him to behave then when he is so very much over stimulated?

While you are training your obedience and focus, I would also be working on control exercises. Let me know if you want to know what they are.
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Old 07-24-2008, 12:08 PM
Suzzie Suzzie is offline
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i can put him in a stay and walk away and he'll hold it. But not around agility equipment. The stay is actually relatively new, we've been working really hard on it and he's much better. But add in the agility equipment and he gets so stimulated I think he'll burst.

I would love to know some control exercises. One of the trainers at agility told me Popper needs to learn control but she never did tell me HOW! I think control is a major issue that would help in every other area as well. Please share!!
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Old 07-24-2008, 01:40 PM
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If you stay is new, then he needs to learn how to stay with other distractions etc before adding agility.
When you do your stay, how do you do it? Walk backwards away from him, keeping eye contact? Or can you walk away, stop, pretend to take off in a run and have him hold the stay? Can you put him in a stay and run away?
You need all of that before adding even one jump of agility, then you do it all again.
Dogs need to learn to relax near or beside agility, even if you are not in a class ask your instructor if you can help set up for other classes before the dogs get there. Spend a couple of minutes working on your stays and getting him to focus on you, don't do any agility. The goal would be, asking him to do a down, stay there while you set up the agility sequences/exercises/courses, this is a great way for him to learn that being near the equipment isn't always about running and a free for all.
If you can't trust him to remain in the down or stay, tie him up in the ring to the fence or stake him. While you are setting up and you see him laying down, calm and relaxed (could take a few classes), click and reward.
I also suggest that while the class is in progress, that you sit either outside or inside the ring (as long as he isn't disrupting the class) and you work on 'watch me', hand targets and just normal obedience like sit, downs plus a trick or two. Nothing like a good trick to relax a dog (train the trick at home first). You should also be working (first on leash) basic obedience in and around the agility equipment. Once you are off leash, work on heeling, the goal should be that your dog wont do any obstacle without being asked. Even when you are running beside jumps etc.
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Old 07-24-2008, 02:19 PM
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With Emma we did alot of wait, walk away a few steps, return and treat. She never knew when she was actualy going to go over the course. Also when going through a door in your home practice wait. Dont go 10 feet away at first. Do one step and treat. Then slowly work up to a good lead off
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