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Discussion Starter #1
hi guys! i'm new to the group, so greetings from philadelphia!

i'm the proud new owner of a 6.5 month old borer collie/ pit bull mix. she is about 45 pounds and a little taller than knee-height. she's very strong, very dominant and wickedly smart. you can see i have my work cut out for me in terms of walking...

i've used a harness since i've had her (about 1.5 months) and it does absolutely nothing to control her. i'm not a tiny person- average 5'6. she is going through some fear stages, and ranges from pulling like crazy to freaking out at strangers/other dogs. not aggressively, but definitely nervous/doesn't know how to behave. we're in beginner's training class, but she's already mastered all the commands.. the trainer isn't much help on this topic. she said that if we pull georgie in the opposite direction of her pulling (every time she pulls) then she'll let up, no problem! completely not true in this case.

my question is... is the gentle leader a good idea at this point? i've read mixed reviews. she does need to be put in her place while walking outside- she's decently good indoors. any thoughts would be so welcome.. i love her but she makes me crazy outdoors.

it may help to mention that she is a rescue, and i am her third home!
 

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I have used Gentle Leaders on dogs before, but a lot of dogs do not like them and one of my personal dogs actually shuts down when I put it on him (and I've tried to make it a game, have him put his nose through the loop on his own, everything). I don't generally recommend them for that reason, but if you need something to tide you over while you work on proper leash walking, I would suggest that you try the Gentle Leader harness (clips in the front).

What have you done thus far in terms of teaching loose leash walking?

ETA - It took me about a year of constant training to get my youngest to the point where she is now walking with a loose leash everywhere (and I got her at 8 weeks). It does take time, but if you put the work in from the start, you end up having 14-15 years ahead of you of nice, enjoyable walks :)
 

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Proper walking takes a lot of time to teach. It's not that the dog is "dominant", it's that the dog doesn't know what you want, is now on her fourth owner and has probably been through twice that many training techniques. It took me a year to train my old dog to walk nicely on a leash. I'm not a bad trainer, he wasn't a bad dog, it just takes that long sometimes.

I'm not a big fan of the head harness because if the dog charges forward suddenly, their head will be snapped to the side by the halter which can result in serious damage to the neck and spinal cord. Some people love them. your mileage may vary.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thank you guys for your reply! as of now, our leash training has consisted of wearing a harness. when she pulls, we go in the opposite direction and then continue on when she's walking nicely. the effect lasts for about 10 seconds, even when done repeatedly over a mile walk. it can make us dizzy! we've also brought along treats to keep her walking next to us, but it doesn't hold her interest long. i guess we'll just keep working on it this way.. i wouldn't want her to shut down or risk injury. (when we first had her she was a real biter- she had to wear a muzzle in public. she didn't appreciate it. she's past that now and no longer needs it, thankfully.)

do you have any more ideas for improving the system we have in place currently?
 

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I would continue what you're doing, but try it on a regular flat buckle collar. Reward when she's in the correct position. I literally would go no where on walks because I wouldn't make forward progress while my dog was pulling (ahead of me a bit was fine, as long as she wasn't pulling).

Search youtube for "Silky Leash" and check out some of kikopups videos. They demonstrate some awesome techniques for walking. I also tend to work on proper walking off leash (in the house, or in a fenced in area like your yard if you have one). I walk, reward the dog when they are next to me, making erratic turns and all of that once they get the idea. Then I add the leash in that environment, then we move to the driveway/sidewalk outside the house/further down the sidewalk, etc. But on a general walk, I do the "turn around" method.

If you need something to get the energy out while you're training, I would check in to that front clip harness. That's what I use when we just need to take a quick walk and I don't have time for training. Dogs DO understand that different equipment is used for different purposes, but at least with the front clip harness, they won't be choking themselves/hurting your hands.
 
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