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Discussion Starter #1
I am at the end of my rope with my 6 month old Westie.

She is not food motivated. She is not toy motivated and verbal/touch praise is not enough for her. I get the excited voice going in hopes that's positive enough but ... unsure. Teaching basic obedient commands were a challenge and we're still working on listening 100% of the time but she's still young.

The problem with her is excessive barking and pulling. She sees or hears another dog, she barks/growls excessivly and pulls until she gets up to it. Same with people. Same with squirrels/birds/cats/anything that moves. It got to the point I can not keep her in a flat collar at this time because its irritating her trachea and a hardness doesn't discourage her at all and because she is not food or toy motivated ... what I know as a technician has gone right out the window and has made this a real challenge for me. My other westie was the same way - non food motivated - and for him I would just change up my speed and directions (go one way, then another. weave through trees or around objects) to get him to focus on me without using corrections. This does not seem to have the same result for her. A light touch interruption, "sshhhh", shaker can, ignoring ... no effect either. Its like its a fixation.

We're planning to start seeing a behaviorist soon to do private consultations and eventually obedience. He does not train with treats but does not use harsh methods either. I have seen him work and as a technician I do approve. We just wanted to be sure that the noises she was making was not a result of a mild kennel cough or bronchitis or something (seems to be a result of the flat collar and constant pulling) so we have been holding off because I do not wish to make anyones dogs sick.

I do not believe in choker, martingales etc. so I would prefer to keep her in a flat basic collar or the harness (currently in the harness due to irriation by the collar).

If anyone has any suggestions, I am all ears. I need something to try or to start using in the meantime. Hoping when my call is returned to book the appointment that he will have some suggestions to start with.
 

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(This could easily be misconstrued and I'm not saying its the solution)

But when she pulls to the end of her leash and is barking nonstop at something, what happens when you give a leash correction?

Example: one of my dogs in this situation will do a complete 180 at a leash correction (just a pop of the leash) and will turn to face you. The other dog doesn't even begin to take notice from a leash correction.
 

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Maddie is also a beasty puller on a leash. She may be a mix, but she's pure westie, personality wise! I think it's a westie/terrier thing. I finally put a Gentle Leader on her, and it was a miracle! Properly adjusted, it's NOT cruel. She can still open her mouth enough to pant. Is it a crutch? Yes. Are walks now more enjoyable? YES!!! I've also considered trying the Easy Walker harness, but I've heard mixed reviews on it, and for $20, I don't know if I want to risk it not working. I also wouldn't use a choker on a westie. They've got delicate tracheas.

Westie's are alert barkers, for sure (again, a westie thing, being a terrier)! Maddie would bark a lot more, if I'd let her. She gets an immediate correction, both verbally ("quiet/no bark") and with a quick leash snap and we turn away from the trigger, when on a walk.

This probably won't go over well on this forum, but at home, if she won't stop barking, she gets a quick spray with a bottle filled with 1/2 water, 1/2 vinegar. It doesn't hurt her, but it definitely gets her attention, and she doesn't like it. I've only had to do it a couple of times. She now is pretty good at stopping the barking with a verbal "quiet/no bark" command. I keep the spray bottle on a nearby table as a reminder. I don't spray Maddie everytime she barks - I don't want her to never bark! I only do it if she totally blows off the "quiet/no bark" command and starts barking non-stop.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I don't mind the alert barking, its very handy because I work after hours/emerg and its handy overnight if there is a creeper outside. My older Westie will alert me of certain things but he doesn't bark excessivly. He picked up the "no bark" command really easily. He'll start barking but will stop on command, on the off chance it fails turning away and ignoring him does the trick. The puppy on the other hand.... she's a different story. Its like nothing will break her focus. I'm not against the gentle leader but I don't know how she would do with it, it would stop the pulling but its not a solution more a perminant aid... I don't want to put a choker/martingale because she does have the sensitive trachea already (just using a flat collar) so I'm not sure I would want to give that really good correction with her simply for that reason that's why I hadn't tried it. I'm not sure what it would do. She is unphased by spray bottles. I seem to have the worlds most troublesome puppy (we were at work again tonight over a split paw pad...)

I've got her in a harness (its not an easy walk - only difference is her rings to attach the leash are ontop vs. at the chest) but I didn't have a wide selection of harnesses in her small size.

I may have to get over myself and just give her the leash correction. In a harness ... pfft doesn't phase her (tried tonight). I would need to put her back in a flat collar I think. I just hope it doesn't do her harm.
 

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You have a dog that is reactive. Please don't do anything to "punish" her for doing these things (including leash pops). These will make your dog MORE agitated. I would get her into any Easy Walk (for your convenience while you deal with the reactivity). Search for the "look at that" game-- this basically involves figuring out your dog's threshold (the point at which she will respond negatively to the dog or person) and learning to stay just under it. Meaning if she begins freaking out at 20 feet away, you should stay 21-25 feet away, etc, then when she looks at the person or dog without responding negatively you click and treat (or whatever motivates her...I wouldn't give up on food entirely, though. Try something super smelly. Also Sydney often won't take treats when she is stressed, so this might improve over time as your dog gets more relaxed during walks). Don't allow her closer to these things until she starts to learn they are ok. Over time you will be able to move closer and closer. This creates a positive association where there was a negative one and it has helped my dog TREMENDOUSLY. I used to not be able to walk her during the day because she'd make such a scene. Now as long as I keep a few feet away she does great. I can even put her in a sit on the side of the road while a bike passes which is SUCH an improvement. It is all about being proactive with this sort of issue. Learn to manipulate the environment to set her up for success and that's half the battle. :)

Here's one of many Kikopups videos on loose leash walking. If this one doesn't work for you, search for the others. This one has worked well for me.

Here's a really good one for getting the dog to focus on you. I love this method.

"Look at that" game.
 

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(This could easily be misconstrued and I'm not saying its the solution)

But when she pulls to the end of her leash and is barking nonstop at something, what happens when you give a leash correction?

Example: one of my dogs in this situation will do a complete 180 at a leash correction (just a pop of the leash) and will turn to face you. The other dog doesn't even begin to take notice from a leash correction.
Leash "corrections" really don't have a place with a flat collar or harness, which is what the OP is using.

I also have a very reactive dog. He's friendly as hell but just loses his mind when he sees other dogs, squirrels, etc. He's very food motivated so we're working through it and showing improvement after only a week and a half.

My advice, and your behaviorist will probably help too, is that you have to find a way to increase distance between the dog and these triggers. Get the dog calm at a distance and slowly work closer and closer. Good luck!

EDIT: I didn't read Kafka's post! Beat me to it. :)
 

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I may have to get over myself and just give her the leash correction. In a harness ... pfft doesn't phase her (tried tonight). I would need to put her back in a flat collar I think. I just hope it doesn't do her harm.
Again, no surprise a "correction" doesn't work with a harness. That's not what it's for. And no, don't correct with a flat collar.

I'd see how she does with a gentle leader. No it's not a permanent fix but it'll help keep your shoulder in the socket while you work through this and attack the underlying problem.
 
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