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ljs624
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Post We need help! We can't figure out how to walk our dog...
My husband and I are looking for any help that we can get.

We adopted our dog from a shelter about 6 weeks ago. He is a hound/lab mix (40 lbs or so) and is about 18 months old.

Our dog has definitely never been walked on a lead before. We live in a small condo and have to walk him outside in order for him to have any good exercise. We take him on the same path 5 times a day. The path is roughly 1/2 a mile and takes about 15-20 minutes to walk.

We had several sessions with a trainer who said when we walk him and he pulls to pause until he loosens the lead then give the "OK" command and walk again. This has almost become a game to him and he goes back to pulling as soon as we say "OK" (especially when a squirrel is nearby). This is not working after 3 weeks of trying.

Besides the pulling problem our bigger problem is figuring out what type of collar/Halti/harness to use in combination with a lead.

The first two days we tried a neck collar with a nylon lead. He pulled to the point that he would cough for 10 minutes after we took the lead off.

We knew the neck collar was wrong so we next tried a Halti with the nylon lead. This worked for a few days but he quickly figure out the nylon lead was soft enough that he could bite it and it could become a tug toy. We tried high-value treats, his favorite toy, and rawhides to distract him from the nylon lead but once he had it in his mouth we could not get it back from him.

The trainer said to try a chain lead with the Halti so he couldn't put the lead in his mouth and play tug with it. She also said to get him a good tug toy for in the house so his urge to play tug is appeased elsewhere. The Halti/chain lead worked for about a week but the chain lead is VERY heavy. The Halti is like a bridle over his nose and the chain lead pulls it down and I'm sure it is uncomfortable.

Now when we walk him he puts both front paws into the Halti and takes it off his nose. Luckily we have also linked the chain lead to his neck collar so he doesn't run away but he again goes back to pulling and hurting his neck. We've tried stopping when he puts his paws in the Halti and we've tried to continue to walk. It doesn't matter what we try because he finds a way to slip the Halti on EVERY walk.

We also tried to start the walk with the Halti/chain lead and about half-way into the walk we unhook the Halti and put the chain lead on his neck collar. This worked for about 2 minutes then he would pull until he choked again.

We finally tried a nylon harness with the chain lead but once again he discovered the nylon on him and as soon as we step outside he would lie down to try to bite and play with the nylon harness. He does everything he can to slip it and bite it.

My husband and I are completely out of ideas. Is there anything on the market that we can put on him AND use as a lead so we can help train him to walk?

Does anyone have any better tips for training him to walk? Should we try shorter or longer intervals when we pause? We can't remove the distractions when we walk him because they are nature and our neighbors and we don't have alternatives where we live (North-Central NJ).
 

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It sounds like your boy is ready for a prong/pinch collar. They are not cruel and they simulate the natural correction they would have gotten from their mother if they were out of line. make sure it is sized correctly and for a hound mix of that size probally a heavy gauge (not the little wincy size). When you size it make sure it hangs loosely on your dog (likely an extra link from how it would fit just right if it were any other collar). The corrections are sharp quick little pops not nagging pulling (that is ineffective) if you're concerned about it hurting your dog put it on your thigh first and correct yourself just to see and keep in mind that a dogs nerve endings are a LOT deeper into their dermis than ours. Since you're already talkign with a trainer maybe they'd be willing to give you a lesson on how to properly use a prong collar.
 

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Thank you for the suggestion about the prong collar. I was nervous to try it because it looks so scary but from what you are saying it doesn't hurt him, it just corrects him. Our trainer sessions are Saturday mornings so I will check with her next week to see what she says.

I'm not convinced our trainer is giving us the best information for training a year and a half old dog with no prior training but I am willing to try anything.
 

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If you're not satisfied with your trainer tell them this and if they get offended well too bad... you're paying THEM to help you and if they aren't helping then it's wasted money. Prong collars DO look a lot worse than they really are. I have used them on everything from 12 week old pups to 230 pound newfies all with out objection, discomfort or hostility and they all respond AWESOME from the second the collar is put on them. I do animal behavior work as well and have had several clients tell me if they were uncomfortable with something and we always work it out. If you're comfortable with it PM me your phone # and I'll give you a call to discuss your trainer and your issues with walking your pup.
 

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A couple of suggestions -

1) Try training him on the leash inside the house where there are no distractions. If he pulls you can do two things; stop until the leash is slack or walk the other direction. The whole idea is that pulling gets them the opposite of what they want. You will find that with young dogs with high anxiety level, the stopping and starting routine increases their anxiety. It is probably better to try walking the other direction so that they at least keep moving.

2) Invest in a clicker. If he takes a few steps without pulling, click and treat. At first, you want to reward him often. Again, do this inside the house first. Eventually you can shape the behavior so that he not only walks on a loose leash, but he walks by your side.

3) Do not let the leash represent excitement. If he is jumping around while you grab the leash, put it down until he's calm. You can't proceed to the next step until he's calm. Do not let him rush out the door. If he tries to rush out the door you can try two things; close the door or body block him.

4) Instead of the halti, try the gentle leader. It's harder for them to get that off. Remember though, the gentle leader, the halti, prong collar, they're all just tools. You still need to do the training to make it work. You don't hand a carpenter a hammer and expect a house to be built the next day.

I know exactly what you're going through. I got my dog at approximately 1.5 years old and he was a wreck on the leash. He would pull like his life depended on it, no matter how badly it hurt. It never occurs to them that to keep from choking they can stop pulling. We got the gentle leader head halter and that helped with training as it gave us ultimate control.

Eventually, after about 1-2 months of following the above tips, he started to routinely walk calmly in the heel position. He's not on the head halter anymore, but we do have him on the no pull harness, just because that gives us a little bit more control than a flat collar. If you saw our dog walk with us these days you'd be like, "wow, that is one well behaved dog!" He walks better than 95% of the dogs out there, but there was a time about 4 months ago when he was a nightmare just like yours. It takes a lot of patience and consistency, but it can be trained. Stay positive and believe.
 

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One thing. A properly fitted prong collar should fit snug so that you can just get your little finger between the prongs and the skin on the dog's neck. You should not be aboe to just slip it over the dog's head. It should also sit high on the neck behind the ears. It's ok if it slips down a bit but it should not sit down where his regular, buckle collar sits.

I also recommend getting a good quality one, such as a Herm Sprenger brand rather than one of the cheaper ones found at many pet supply stores.
 

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I would encourage you to take a training class with your dog. In a class you will see and learn hands on techniques for dealing with your problem.

In the hands of someone experienced, this is an issue that can be corrected in MINUTES.

Part of the problem is your half of the equation. The dog can't pull unless he has a partner in the game. ;)

The secret is getting to a loose lead, and then rewarding the dog for the loose lead. Many people have a serious problem with getting a loose lead, recognizing a loose lead, and not unconsciously tightening/pulling on the lead. This is one area where a class or some private instruction can be immensely helpful.

On a 40 lb dog I would use a buckle collar, and I would not allow the dog a tight lead. I would do one of two things:

1) as soon as he got in front of me where he could not see me, I would quietly turn and walk in the other direction without saying anything at all. Laws of physics will take care of the rest. Work to reward the dog as soon as he comes back up to your left side.

2) as soon as the dog gets 18" in front of my leg, I will pull the dog back behind my leg with a smooth pulling motion, and immediately dump slack in the leash, and feed the dog a treat right beside my leg. An easy way to make sure you are rewarding the dog by your leg is to take the treat in your left hand, and then touch your wrist to your leg while the dog eats the treat. This will remind you ever time to give the treat in the correct position.

It is very important to get to the loose lead so you can reward the dog for that.

Attention games will also be very beneficial, and this is something you can start indoors without the lead.

http://www.redyre.com/training/nolookie.html

Good luck, try to find a class, it will help you so much!
 

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One thing. A properly fitted prong collar should fit snug so that you can just get your little finger between the prongs and the skin on the dog's neck. You should not be aboe to just slip it over the dog's head. It should also sit high on the neck behind the ears. It's ok if it slips down a bit but it should not sit down where his regular, buckle collar sits.

I also recommend getting a good quality one, such as a Herm Sprenger brand rather than one of the cheaper ones found at many pet supply stores.
THAT is incorrect.. a prong collar should NOT fit snug... if it's snug the slightest bit of pull or pressure gives your dog a correction, and that is not proper training. You only want your dog to get corrected where it is needed not on every slight movement. THAT is NOT how to correct with a prong collar. You always want to use the leat amount of correction as possible... if the collar is lwoer then that is a lower level of correction... if your dog needs more correction move the collar up to behind his ears and keep a little more pressure on it. Your dog should not be walking in a constant state of correction... that is just scary for the dog.
 

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For me I don't see the need for a prong collar with a 40 lb dog.

With the right technique this problem can be fixed quickly with just a buckle collar.

OP.....

If you need help finding a class or instruction in your area, PM me and I will see if I can help.
 

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THAT is incorrect.. a prong collar should NOT fit snug... if it's snug the slightest bit of pull or pressure gives your dog a correction, and that is not proper training. You only want your dog to get corrected where it is needed not on every slight movement. THAT is NOT how to correct with a prong collar. You always want to use the leat amount of correction as possible... if the collar is lwoer then that is a lower level of correction... if your dog needs more correction move the collar up to behind his ears and keep a little more pressure on it. Your dog should not be walking in a constant state of correction... that is just scary for the dog.
A prong collar should NOT be loose. The collar needs to be fitted snugly in order for it to work properly. Please read the following links, especially the first one, to learn how to correctly fit a prong before advising anyone else in the future.

http://leerburg.com/fit-prong.htm

http://www.ezdogpark.com/prongcollar.htm

OP:
Address your concerns with your trainer. If you sit down and talk with the trainer and things do not improve, there is nothing wrong with finding a new one. You are paying them, therefore you should be getting the results you want. Redyre offered some excellent advise, the same that I would have offered you as well. If you choose to use a prong collar, that is fine, they can be wonderful tools, but find someone who can show you how to properly fit and use the collar. Good luck with the pup and have some patience, sometimes it does just take a lot of time and patience before it "clicks." The more you make a slack leash a positive experience, the sooner your walks will be relaxed for you and your dog.
 

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I have read several links on fitting the prong collar and I disagree with them totally. if you fit the collar tight it puts your dog in a constant state of correction. I have tried training both ways tight and loose and find the dogs much more reactive to the loose fitting prong collar, a lotl ess anxious because correctinos are given at the precise moment when they're needed and also it doesn't desensatize your dog from the constant corection they get from wearing the collar high and tight.
 

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I have read several links on fitting the prong collar and I disagree with them totally. if you fit the collar tight it puts your dog in a constant state of correction.
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I like the word snug verses tight and IMHO the dog should only recieve the level of stimuli that is needed to act as a true correction at the appropriate time along with any cues, verbals, or warnings. I have used a snug fitting prong collar in many circumtances and in others found it best to allow for a loose fitting collar depending on different issues.

Snug DOES NOT nec equate to being continuosly aversive in my experience having used a prong on hundreds of dogs I have also trained/participated in training hundreds of dogs without the requirement or need for them it just depended on the dog/circumstances. .

There are many ways in which to use this tool in the method of using corrections and what may be needed or work for one persons circumstances may or may not for another person in there circumstances.

The only absolute I might offer is that If your trainer is not skilled enough to explain and show you all of these differences then you SHOULD consider other options.:eek::)
 

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Dog_Shrink
I second the too tight collar. I do not do the prong collar high on neck routine. I prefer a loose collar so that when dog is corrected the collar can only close to the circumference of dog's neck and there is no constricting/choking at all. I am not silly enough to claim that this is correct or proper use of a prong-collar. Other trainers can do the collar work as they see fit.

It is just the way I use it as I dislike choking sensation of any kind on dogs that I train, I start all dogs on prong and then switch if I decide other methods/collars should be used. 95% of dogs are started and finished with prongs.
 

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You could also try an easywalk harness. It hooks around their back, under their tummy and across the chest and the loop to attach the leash is in the center of their chest so when they pull, they actually turn around because of the way the harness is designed.
 

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We offer a Patented No-Pull harness on our website that features a martingale loop on the back of the harness (the patented part) so it tightens gently around your dog's chest to discourage pulling. It has an additional connection on the front of the harness that allows you to redirect your dog's attention back to you. We offer the harness with a 2 ended training leash so that you can connect to the front and back of the harness at the same time.

http://www.2houndsdesign.com/Patented-No-Pull-Harness-c-13.html

Let me know if you have any questions!
 

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It sounds like your boy is ready for a prong/pinch collar.
So let me get this straight. A shock collar is cruel, but a PRONG collar is not?

Laughs!! :D

Anyhow,

This is my example of a mainstreme dog owner. If he doesn't know how to walk a dog, how is he supposed to pick a breed or know how to buy a dog. That was the point I was making.

Back to topic though,

I would just use the choke collar and be more aggressive with the dog. He'll come along eventually. Another way, is to 'lure' him forward with treats. That is the positive re-enforcement way.

You'll need to musle him fwd and raise your voice may help. Learning to walk on the leash is always a painful lesson and you can use negative re-enformacement, but only use it on those important things.

It's odd there is a lab mix at 18 months old that has never been on a leash before. How did they walk him at the shelter?

BTW How is his temperment?

A prong collar should NOT be loose. The collar needs to be fitted snugly in order for it to work properly. Please read the following links, especially the first one, to learn how to correctly fit a prong before advising anyone else in the future.
Ouch!!!

Dog_Shrink get SERVED!!

Anyhow, I agree with Dog_Shrink. The collar needs some play so he can get jabbed with the prongs.

Again I would just be a bit more forcefull with what you have. Learning to walk is painful for the dog and usually involves negative re-enforcement. A 40lb dog you'll really have to muscle him and you might think your really hurting him but don't worry about it. It's part of training and he wont hold it against you.
 

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So let me get this straight. A shock collar is cruel, but a PRONG collar is not?

Laughs!! :D

Anyhow,

This is my example of a mainstreme dog owner. If he doesn't know how to walk a dog, how is he supposed to pick a breed or know how to buy a dog. That was the point I was making.

Back to topic though,

I would just use the choke collar and be more aggressive with the dog. He'll come along eventually. Another way, is to 'lure' him forward with treats. That is the positive re-enforcement way.

You'll need to musle him fwd and raise your voice may help. Learning to walk on the leash is always a painful lesson and you can use negative re-enformacement, but only use it on those important things.

It's odd there is a lab mix at 18 months old that has never been on a leash before. How did they walk him at the shelter?

BTW How is his temperment?



Ouch!!!

Dog_Shrink get SERVED!!

Anyhow, I agree with Dog_Shrink. The collar needs some play so he can get jabbed with the prongs.

Again I would just be a bit more forcefull with what you have. Learning to walk is painful for the dog and usually involves negative re-enforcement. A 40lb dog you'll really have to muscle him and you might think your really hurting him but don't worry about it. It's part of training and he wont hold it against you.
Believe it or not......

There's thousands of individuals on this forum with thousands of opinions.

Not everyone agrees on the best training method. Some people believe e-collars are cruel. Others believe they are humane.

This is not a borg hive you're talking to, for gods sake.

But.

One thing that we can all universally agree on:

You're wrong. :)

Also... a correction from a prong collar is Positive Punishment, not Negative Reinforcement. Learn your defintions.
 

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