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Let me start out by admitting that I currently have a lot of frustrations in my life.

When I walk my dogs, I tend to burst. Especially since my mom de-trains them every time she takes them out. I expect them to follow me, and I have previously trained them to walk behind me perfectly, but since my mom started walking them more often than me and letting them drag her, they forget my lessons by the time I take them out again.

I only walk one dog at a time now, but it is a horrible experience. I try to get the dog to exit the door after me, but instead I am pulled for the first 5 minutes. This is an extremely frustrating part of the walk for me. The dog drags, sniffs, and pees on whatever he wants while ignoring my every command. Finally, as the dog tires down, he gets a bit more obedient, but the seed is planted and I am angry. So angry that I have to really force myself not to be violent towards him. I use touches on the neck when I am really annoyed, but as the walk continues these touches get more aggressive.

I recently realized why I have anger management issues during walks. I don't confront issues I have at work, in relationships, and at home, so I let it all build up until something sets me off and I explode. Unfortunately, when I take one of my dogs for a walk I have to deal with the frustration of HOURS of training lost, and I just go off. I have never hurt my dogs, but I have been to the point that I am saying "if you don't ****ing obey me i WILL kick you." I don't get physical, but I get mean. I yell and I tug.

Last time I took Cooper for a walk, I said i was finished. He needed exercise, but it wasn't worth it if it made me want to kick him. Tonight, he was very bored and restless, so I decided I would give him another chance. The difference was that I had become aware of my anger issues and realized it was really about me, not the dogs I love so much.

The difference was night and day. He did nothing different, really. He was extremely excited to finally get out of the house and stretch his legs, and he was very disobedient at first. But instead of focusing on him, I was concerned with my own reactions. When he disobeyed, I corrected him, but I didn't get angry at him. Instead, I got mad about my ex-girlfriend, issues with brother and parents, and the lazy people I work with, which made me want to run faster. Cooper, a half jack-russel, is way better at running than walking. Once I burned off some of my frustrations, I decided to walk, and he was getting a bit tired too so he mostly stayed by my side. It wasn't a perfect walk, but I can finally say I somewhat enjoyed it.

Cooper is an extremely sensitive dog, like me. I know I am at fault for his severe anxiety because I have taken out my anger on him. Let me repeat that I have never hurt him physically in the least, but the irrational anger I have shown around him has affected him severely. I really hope that it isn't all my fault, but he really looks up to me and my instability has not been healthy.

I am really making changes right now, and tonight was a HUGE step in my own anger management. Not that i am a scary person. You would never guess I have anger management issues because I let it build up for so long. But I love my dogs like babies, and it really scares me that I burst on our walks. I have to learn to channel my rage before I have children so I don't raise them in fear as well.

OK, so now that I have left you all with a less-than-kind impression of myself, do you have any further advice? More importantly, can someone please tell me I am not alone in losing my temper around my dogs?
 

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Good for you recognizing your anger issues. For you I would recommend a few things but I will PM those as they are not approriate for the Dog Forum.

As to the dog... the thing with loose leash walking is to focus on one thing.. the leash NOT being taught.

When I help people with this, and there are a lot of dogs that have been trained to pull their owners around, I do it a lot differently than just wearing the dog out. I play "the Crazy Owner" game. In this game you watch the dog and the minute the dog gets to the end of the leash, you change direction. You can make a 180 or a 90 degree turn.. just change your direction putting the dog somewhere else.. not ahead of you.

Every time the dog tightens the leash, you change direction. It does not matter if he is pulling to the side or in front. Be quick and expect to not get very far on your woalks for a few days. Be consistant. Do not worry if the dog is in front of you or behind you (this sounds like the TV dog trainer talking and you need to forget the TV.. really you do). The dog's position is NOT important. The thightness of the leash is all you are trying to work on.

As you keep changing direction, your dog will likely start to waqtch you. He is looking at you as if to say, "Where is this nut going next?" When he looks at you instaed of sniffing etc, REWARD him (food.. take a singel hot dog, quarter it lengthwise and then make cross cuts to make 50-75 treats.. size is not important.. quality is). When he looks at you, and this means the instant he looks at you, mark that moment with the word YES and give him a bit of hot dog. Soon he will associate YES with food and as you mark the beahvior you want with the word and food (ALWAYS follow the word with food BTW even if you say it at the wrong time.. you must be 100% reliable in this). Soon the dog will relate the behavior you want with the word yes.

As for the racing out the door.. teach your dog to sit and wait. Put him on a leash and have him sit. Open the door. If he breaks the sit and goes for the door, close it so he can't get thru it. Put him back in a sit and repeat. Soon he shoud get the idea that breaking the sit to go out the door does not get him what he wants (going outside).

Dog training is not hard. Not really. You decide what behaviors you do not want and instead of focusing on stopping those behaviors you focus on training what you do want.

... and turn off the TV and the TV dog trainers. They do what they do for entertaiment and they get paid money to appear successful and to entertain you. You are not them. Fact is, you may be better than they are. :D
 

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First off, yes, you are not alone.
I walk dogs for a living and there are times where I think I'm going to lose it and yes it is almost always not because the dogs are being "bad" but that I am stressed about something totally unrelated.

The days that I am not "myself" the dogs are all over the place...if I have more than one chaotic walk I have to think to myself..what's the common denominator here? Oh, it's ME. The dogs pick up on my stress and this throws THEM off. When this happens and I am at the end of my rope I literally stop in my tracks, stare at the sky and focus on my breathing. None of the stress is the dog's fault..I have learned to manage my stress, when I am calm the dogs are calmer.

So, this training is FOR you, not your dogs.
Pause. Count to ten. BREATHE...and find an outlet for your frustration. Whether that be a sport (mine is basketball) or meditative practice (I occasionally do yoga) stopping and doing something else makes a huge difference. I find using my ipod for happy music or even something 'pumpy' like hiphop makes me happier and looser.

I'm glad to see you are seeing the issue is you. Good luck and remember you are NOT the only one.
 

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You got some very good information here. :) I won't add anything. Good Luck to you. I know how frustrating it can be to deal with dogs that someone else is UN training. Good for you for knowing your frustration is caused by humans and not the dogs themselves.
 

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Let me start out by admitting that I currently have a lot of frustrations in my life.
Don't we all? ; ) But that's okay, stress does funny things to us, it makes us say and do things we wouldn't normally do- It can have the opposite effects that love has...

When I walk my dogs, I tend to burst. Especially since my mom de-trains them every time she takes them out. I expect them to follow me, and I have previously trained them to walk behind me perfectly, but since my mom started walking them more often than me and letting them drag her, they forget my lessons by the time I take them out again.
Oh Geez... I'd like to suggest that you talk to your mother, and explain to her how important it is that she makes your dogs mind her when she takes them for walks... Tell her that the dogs are being disobedient and it's important that they behave on their walks... Tell her that you need her help to train these guys. ; ) (Even though you really may not need the help...) I've had to explain to my mother not to do things around my dog that she "thinks" is helping him overcome some of his fears... I've had to explain to her that he needs me to help him so he can trust me and trust the people I let around him... You could ask her for the opposite, ask her to "help" you keep them trained.

Last time I took Cooper for a walk, I said i was finished. He needed exercise, but it wasn't worth it if it made me want to kick him. Tonight, he was very bored and restless, so I decided I would give him another chance. The difference was that I had become aware of my anger issues and realized it was really about me, not the dogs I love so much.
Heh, I have said the same thing about my dog and training him. I have thrown my hands up and chased him to the sofa and declare that I'm never training him again, what he knows now is all he's ever going to know. I'm DONE! lol! Then I came on here, explained what happened, then more or less came to the realization that it wasn't my dog's fault, it was mine... I was the one becoming frustrated, and that was causing Donatello to shut-down and refuse to learn... So I waited a few weeks, almost a month, and now I'm back at it again and everything is just how it should be.

It wasn't a perfect walk, but I can finally say I somewhat enjoyed it.
That's good. You did good, as long as the experience was an enjoyable one, I'd say you'll make some progress in no time. : ) Perfection takes longer than you think...

Cooper is an extremely sensitive dog, like me. I know I am at fault for his severe anxiety because I have taken out my anger on him. Let me repeat that I have never hurt him physically in the least, but the irrational anger I have shown around him has affected him severely. I really hope that it isn't all my fault, but he really looks up to me and my instability has not been healthy.

I am really making changes right now, and tonight was a HUGE step in my own anger management. Not that i am a scary person. You would never guess I have anger management issues because I let it build up for so long. But I love my dogs like babies, and it really scares me that I burst on our walks. I have to learn to channel my rage before I have children so I don't raise them in fear as well.
I am like you, trust me, I bottle everything up inside and typical blow and everything comes spilling out in a waterfall of profanity and empty threats. I love my dog to death, like many, and would never cause physical harm, but my dog is a very emotional guy- A harsh word can hurt his feelings and scare him stupid for a few hours... I didn't realize how deep the wounds were for my dog when I got him until I started training him to "sit", "lay down", "shake" and things like that... Then it became apparent that he's not as robust and rambunctious as other dogs. I have lost my cool with him countless times, and all does is set him back... It's not like even makes me feel better to go off on him, because then when I see him upset and emotionally wounded I feel like even more crap... So I too have had to work on my emotions and my anger around him... I haven't worked on them for the rest of the world, but I haven't lost my cool with Donatello in some time now. ; ) And he's a happier dog for it.

OK, so now that I have left you all with a less-than-kind impression of myself, do you have any further advice? More importantly, can someone please tell me I am not alone in losing my temper around my dogs?
YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN LOSING YOUR TEMPER AROUND YOUR DOGS. I just wanted to be sure that you read that. : ) Because trust me, I have done the same exact thing a time or two, possibly three with my dog. Just remember all is forgiven when you break out a treat. ; )

Plus, I want to add, having the courage to come to a forum about dogs and reveal this side about yourself to dog-lovers, that takes guts and courage and I don't condemn you, I praise you. : )

Good luck to you. : ) Keep us updated. : ) (And I'd love to see pictures of Cooper.)
 

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Deege is correct! You are certainly not alone, I've done it more than once. It just gets so frustrating! You invest all this time in something just to turn around and see the exact opposite from the desired happening. Whenever you start getting frustrated just stop, that's what I do. I just stop dead in my tracks or go sit down somewhere with my dog to give us both a chance to calm down. Just remember when it comes to dogs patience is the key :). I have a very sensitive dog as well and if I barely raise my voice she reacts, and most of the time that's enough. I've never hit my dog but I have jerked the leash before, not for absoultely no reason though and not hard enough to hurt her or anything. It did get her attention though. Good luck we all know how hard it can get! :)
Patience is the key! :rolleyes:
 

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Wow, what positive responses. I expected at least a little bit of scolding for the tugging part (it isn't hard enough to hurt him, but it has been harder than is actually necessary for correction).

I definitely realize that it is all me and my own issues, and the dogs are just being... dogs. They aren't trying to be disobedient, they just have conflicting messages sent to them by me and my parents.

I definitely like a few ideas that i read- particularly the "crazy owner" trick. Funny enough Elana, I saw this for the first time on one of the shows I watched last night and thought it looked like a great idea.

I also like the idea of bringing a bunch of tiny treats on the walk. I want to learn how to use positive reinforcement rather than negative.

Another idea I loved was just stopping. I actually did that for the first time last night! Cooper was being a bit bad and I was getting a bit frustrated, so I just sat on the ground and let myself breath. He responded by walking over and curling up on my lap--- how can I get angry at that point? The guy doesn't know he is a bit too big to be a lap dog.

It makes a lot of sense to me that he acts out when I am blowing my lid. I can't expect him to listen if I am not calm, collected, and confident.

I wish I could take him out for a nice little walk right now, but I came home from work and he is walking on 3 legs! When my dad put him on his rope this morning, he was fine, but when he came in he was crying and wobbling. My guess is that the rope curled around his leg and then he saw a bunny and charged. Now he is hiding behind the bed. I wish I could do something :(
 

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Just a quick comment on "crazy owner" ( I like that name..lol)..be sure when you do the turn that it is a calm, smooth turn, not a jerk. Easier on the dog and on you.
 

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You are definately not alone! I get frustrated as well and sometimes I think to myself it's just easier to not walk my pup at all or deal with any issues but then I come around, get over the frustration and continue.
I told my daughter last time to please not let her pull you and to make sure the collar is higher on the neck and she was irritated that I told her that! but really, how else is the dog supposed to learn when I'm the only one trying??
 

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I just also wanted to comment on your post that sometimes I can feel the same way, but I just calm myself down and realize that it is my dog just being a dog and I have to remain CONSTANT on my training as well..Wicket can be a big big handful, he is a very high energy dog that demands so much more attention than Spooky. Spooky is laid back easy going, knows how to heel and although sometimes he loses focus, just one quick high toned heel would pull him back in...wicket...another story....he pulls, wants to run run run...that there are times I just want to lose it...before we even get out the door he pulls your arms out of joint and just won't relax at all....
most of all have been there and not really alot of us want to admit if for fear of being tainted bad owners...
this place though has so much good advice and to be open and honest about yourself is the best way to realize how to train your dogs...!!
 

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Have you thought about trying a Prong collar? They come in real handy if you have a puller. And you don't even have to correct the dog, just hold the leash firmly and let the dog correct itself. If the dog starts pulling, he'll back off on his own. No need to pop the leash. When I used the Prong to work with Betty in Rally, it was very effective in teaching her to heel properly. And I never had to correct her, she corrected herself. With a regular collar, she would pull pretty good. Once she was getting it, then I would have both the prong and her regular collar on, and would have the leash on one or the other, and once she was heeling perfectly on her regular collar, I was able to eliminate the prong all-together. Some think of the prong as a torture device, but it's really not, if used correctly. Yes, it can be torture if you are constantly correcting the dog. But I just used it to allow the dog to correct itself. And it worked with Betty.

Edit:
One way I did it on walks was to wrap the leash around my hand to the length that I wanted it so Betty was by my side with a little slack, and just stuck my hands in my pockets as I walked. This kept my hand in place, and Betty would correct herself when the leash became a little tight. It worked rather well.
 
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