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Discussion Starter #1
This is basically "how do I get my dog not to drag me along when walking/running."

I've read a bunch of threads/articles and have tried three different methods:

* Walk, and as soon as he starts to tug, become a tree
* Walk with him, and if he tugs then I pivot and start walking the other way
* Hold treats by my side and give them to him when he stays next to me

I've experimented with each of these for three weeks at a time, with no success. For the first two, he doesn't seem to even know I exist - he's plenty content to do the tug-stop-tug-stop thing. I figure he would look at me at some point, but he just waits until I walk again. I'll pull him around to my left side and wait before we walk, and he might walk on a loose leash for about 15 feet before tugging again. If I use treats, he walks next to me until he gets a treat and then darts off ahead.

So two questions at this point...the first is obviously what can I do to get him to walk on a loose leash? At this point, heeling feels like a pipe dream, so all I want for the time being is for him to walk without dragging me.

The second is how can I be consistent with his training. He needs to exercise, and I know that "a tired dog is a good dog." I'm not sure how to balance his (and my) need for exercise with his training. He needs to get out to exercise, but he doesn't get high-quality exercise because we're just doing these start-and-stop routines. Which have been frustrating, but then today he lunged out into the street because there was another dog on the other side, and he almost got hit by a car. I jerked him so hard back onto the sidewalk that he actually came off the ground, and he's an 80 pound, very strong dog that caught me by surprise. So now in addition to my general frustration, I'm afraid of taking him out for runs because it can be dangerous for him and also for me.
 

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For the exercise take him to a dog park or day camp so he can tire himself out. Then you can try walking.

You say "he waits until I walk again". So...who's in charge here? ;) YOU wait until he looks at you. Then reward and take another step.

Or instead of stopping, reverse.
 

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You figured out the main problem.... "he doesn't seem to even know I exist". That's the big, big part of walking nicely and the one that everyone seems to neglect. It's not the fancy tools of halti's, gentle leaders or choke chains. It's walking as team but, that means you both have to pay attention to each other. Skipping the attention training makes everything else so much harder yet, the training is so easy (albeit, it takes time to polish it to the heeling level).
Start in the house....when he makes eye contact with you... immediately praise him and toss a treat. Repeat throughout the day....when you're sitting down...standing up. Once he gets the idea to watch you closely, up the ante......invite him to walk with you (off leash in the house). This next move is important....treat/praise AS YOU'RE WALKING...don't stop to treat. Keep adding things to raise the bar even more but, still with attention....that's what this is all about....ask for Sits, Downs, Come, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Skipping the attention training makes everything else so much harder yet, the training is so easy (albeit, it takes time to polish it to the heeling level).
I've never done anything like what you've suggested here. Will try it out for a while and let you know how it goes.


Start in the house....when he makes eye contact with you... immediately praise him and toss a treat
This is a lot of fun (for both of us!) now that I know I can toss him a treat from across the room and he can snatch it out of the air :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Sorry for the necro bump but it's me again, three and a half years later and absolutely NO progress on walks. As soon as I stop walking, or turn directions, he just sprints off in that direction until he hits the end of the leash. I look like a crazy person turning around and around in circles while my dog is just running back and forth.

Today while walking, a dog at a fence started barking and Buddy pulled towards the fence. My other dog followed him at which point Buddy turned and snapped at her. I lost my cool (and justified it by saying I'm keeping Buddy off of Bailey) and kicked Buddy hard in the side. He stopped, sat down, and walked behind and next to me for the rest of the walk. There was one time when he made a move forward, and I kicked him in the chest with my heel, and then he dropped back and walked politely the rest of the way home.

I'm at a loss for what to do. I've spent thousands of hours training him to the best of my abilities. I've spent thousands of dollars on trainers to help me improve my abilities. I've used all their tricks and bought all their tools and done all their exercises and nothing has helped. I've done lots of attention training at home and as soon as we get out the door he goes completely hyper. I hate to be the guy that kicks his dog into submission but man I can't tell you how amazed at the difference in how we walked after that. I know people will say that he's only doing it out of fear and intimidation, and I have no idea how this would translate to off-leash walking (presumably he would just dart off and get as far away from me as he could). But I had a half hour there of walking as a team, with my dogs walking next to me or beside me or Bailey slightly ahead but never pulling. It felt sooooo good. Buddy doesn't respond to martingales or choke collars or citronella collars (that was a real waste). He doesn't respond to toys or kissy sounds or treats or even freshly made carne asada. Seriously I've taken carne asada on our walks and he's more interested in pulling than he is in eating steak. Maybe he's vegan? But he *does* respond to a kick in the chest and walks like a perfect gentleman after that. I know I wouldn't like being kicked, then again he's a strong dog and has nearly dislocated my shoulder on multiple occasions so I don't feel particularly bad if he experiences some unpleasant kicks now and then if that's what gets him to pay attention and walk politely. Up to this point I've doled out love and treats and affection and play, but not really discipline.

Now I'm wondering what I should do. I'd like to figure out a way to walk with him without kicking him. I can build up the attention exercises, but I can't take him on walks in that case. I'd have to basically do attention exercises inside the house, then walking inside the house, and walking outside in my yard, etc. But never actually going for a walk outside around the block until we build up to it. Which would involve going out to the sidewalk and doing attention exercises there for five minutes, just taking 10 steps but never going to the corner, etc etc.

I feel torn between a) give Buddy a kick in the chest when he starts pulling and b) not letting Buddy walk outside until he's earned it. I feel like it'll be 3-7 days before he catches on to a) and walks normally. And I feel like it'll be 3-7 years for b) to work. I'd really love an option c)

edit: he's a ridgeback / lab mix, 4-5 years old, I got him when was ~1.5 years old
 

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Please don't kick your dog.

Start working on silky leash in the house:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZarFGdcj8s

It will take TIME and patience, lots of it. You have let him rehearse this behavior for years so it's as ingrained in him as can be. He might be bored and overstimulated outside.

Why not look into activities where pulling is a good thing? Check out weight pull. There's a sticky on it in the sports/show forum. Check our canicross and urban mushing.

If you absolutely have to take him on a walk while you work on LLW, use a management tool. It really just sounds like he's bursting at the seams with energy and regular walks aren't cutting it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Please don't kick your dog.

Start working on silky leash in the house:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZarFGdcj8s

It will take TIME and patience, lots of it. You have let him rehearse this behavior for years so it's as ingrained in him as can be. He might be bored and overstimulated outside.

Why not look into activities where pulling is a good thing? Check out weight pull. There's a sticky on it in the sports/show forum. Check our canicross and urban mushing.

If you absolutely have to take him on a walk while you work on LLW, use a management tool. It really just sounds like he's bursting at the seams with energy and regular walks aren't cutting it.
For a few hours after we got home, he would jump back and cower when I walked towards him. Not a winning strategy as it turns out.

Yeah I have a harness for him that encourages him to pull me on my bike...and he does, up hills. "bursting at the seams with energy" is an understatement. It sounds like I need to give up on walks for the time being, bike with him to get the energy out, and work on a long-term training program to build his impulse control.

Those weight pulling web sites made me cry. The thing that drives me crazy about my dog, other people love so much about theirs that they have national and world championships for it. I didn't realize it could be such a positive thing.
 

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And if silky leash doesn't work for you (give it lots of time; like Tofu_pup says, you're trying to change an ingrained behavior here), you could try Penalty Yards. It's the only method that worked for my guy. He used to try to drag me on walks, but now he only pulls if he sees a cat or fox.

(I used a really simplified version, though... no treat pile on the ground, and no clicker. All I did was immediately start walking backwards when he pulled -- no leash pop, no scolding, just a "no." He got frustrated very quickly with going backwards instead of forwards. If he hadn't learned so quickly, I would have treated him anytime he walked a few steps nicely to help reinforce it... but for him, simply losing ground constantly was enough. Oddly, "being a tree" never had the same effect -- he's fine with standing and waiting to move; he just hates going backwards!)
 

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Sounds like your dog is very stimulated during the walks, and because of that you can never get his attention.
Remember that being frustrated does not teach your dog anything and if anything it wants to make your dog get away from you, which only frustrates you even more.
You need to start small and then take your dog outside.
Watch this video and start it inside your house, and once your dog begins to master it inside, then you can take it outside.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYmRaGyqsJs

I've personally never been a fan of changing direction or turning in circles when teaching a dog how to walk. I believe in planting your feet in the ground, and "being a tree", then giving the heel command that the dog should have SOME knowledge of what it means outside, but it's never been done outside so don't expect it to be perfect the first time or the time after that. Heck don't expect it to be perfect one month or two months from now, but it will be better and reliable.
If the dog ignores the command then you can pull the leash back and put him into a heel position and reward that. That's how I usually train dogs the heel command. Worked great for my dog, if he ever makes the mistake of going ahead, it's as simple as stopping in my tracks now and he moves back and sits without me saying anything.
 

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Being a tree doesn't work for a LOT of dogs. Actually, most pullers I've worked with will hang out at the end of their leash until the cows come home while you're just standing there.

And I second what Crantastic said about penalty yards. I've had success with that even with serial mustpullmustpullmustpull types.
 

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I think you've mistaken me for the OP. My dogs both walk great on a loose leash -- and I trained them without corrections, "loving" or otherwise.

Perhaps you missed the point of that first article, which is that there is no debate anymore. Punishment-based training doesn't work, and the experts all accepted that long ago. There's nothing to balance.

Also, despite your long post, you haven't actually given a bit of advice. What good is your sympathy for the OP? It seems like you're just here to get your name out there so people will look you up and buy your ebook. I know I'm not going to bother when that "exclusive group" of experts already have so many amazing, well-researched, actual books between them.
 

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Haha, "loving" corrections! A contradiction in terms if I've ever heard one (if talking about "corrections" that cause physical pain anyway). You did see that he kicked his dog, yeah? And tried collars? I think he's tried "corrections".
 

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I looked her up. Her website says things like:

Garvin’s method of dog training tucson has always been based on using a behavior modification approach. In the study of behavior modification with people, we learn that all decisions are based on seeking rewards and/or avoiding consequences. This is also true for animals.

Herein lies the need for integrating both rewards and consequences, into a harmonious whole. While Garvin’s trainers are all “pawsitively” as positive as possible, they also believe in discipline. We are proud to offer you the wide range of tools in our tool box.
Thanks, I'll pass. Amused by how you make sure to call yourself "positive" because you know that's what most people want today, while making the punishme... sorry, "discipline" sound as loving as possible. Still curious about the tools used, though. Was I not far off on my shock collar guess?
 

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Aheheh. "I can't comment on your situation without knowing more (than what you've already described at length in your posts), so buy my e-book because then I'll really... be involved in your training and knowing a lot about your situation?"

Snrk.
 

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Try a gentle leader. It acts like a halter on a horse--attaches under the chin and makes it more difficult to pull. It is a gentle training aid. Not a punishment tool. Then, keep the leash short. Remember "seam of the pants." Keep the dog's head, the leash and a treat at the seam of the pants. Make sure it is a good treat. Walk a few steps saying something like "let's go" and when the dog walks nicely, reward. Don't get frustrated if he jumps to get the treat yet. He will stop eventually. Try working in the house first. Then the backyard, then the front yard and then on short walks.

Don't physically punish your dog. All you are going to teach that dog is that walks are bad and painful and he will not want to go anymore.
 

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My dogs are pulling maniacs when we walk together, and close to angelic when walking alone. Maybe try walking him alone for a while?
 

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Awwww.....sad. That's why physical corrections are so misguided. Glad you learned. (We did, too- when our dogs grabbed a chicken, my hubby hit them while they had the chicken under their paws, but it didn't stop the behavior. They just wanna chase these squwaky fetaher-y things!)
For a few hours after we got home, he would jump back and cower when I walked towards him. Not a winning strategy as it turns out.
 
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