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Third bad walk in a row.

First one was Niko's first encounter with heavy rain, winds, and cold, both of us overtired, in a late night, rare "compensate for a day left alone" walk. Was great until the storm on the way home, him pulling like mad, me limping along, trying to stop when he pulls, soaking wet and freezing...

Second one was great behaviour on Niko's part and then our paths collided with a HUGE and very well behaved dog and a wandering loose dog at the same time. The loose dog (I always see him being walked but the owner doesnt allow him to interact with other dogs) was running around with no regard to cars or the road as if he was in a field, and got a little rough with the HUGE dog, who got spooked and smashed into a parked car, Niko wants to play, I turn to walk away and smash head first into a street sign, cars are swerving everywhere to avoid the loose dog, and this is right outside my house, so that was a sketchy ending to that walk!!!

Third walk tonight was to a daily meeting with several other dogs at 6pm. This would have been our third time attending so Niko (who REALLY enjoys playing with them) realized that is where we were heading and started to pull, so we stop, pull, we stop, pull, we stop, pull, we stop, more frantic each time as we got closer and his excitement grew. We never even made it in time. It will be a challenge to convince him that the tortoise wins that race.

Anyways, just sharing my misery.

Just did some great hide and retrieve excercises so it's not all bad news.
 

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...

... so Niko (who REALLY enjoys playing with them) realized that is where we were heading and started to pull, so we stop, pull, we stop, pull, we stop, pull, we stop, more frantic each time as we got closer and his excitement grew. We never even made it in time. ...
Sam is the same when he realizes where we are going! What helps is taking different routes every time or doing part of the way to the park by car / public transport. I feel your pain, Sam is a prodigious puller, but it is getting better, slowly, slowly ...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice. I have no car and no dogs allowed on public transit here, but I am going to try walking a different route next time. Coincidentally, the name of the dog he is most excited to see is also Sam! He's a year old and about twice as big as Niko, full of energy and really fast!

To add to my streak of bad walks, this morning I split my pants all the way from the top while bending down about ten minutes from home. They were literally falling off of me all the way home, as I try to walk Niko and keep my clothes on at the the same time. :redface:

Here's hoping our streak of bad walks ends today!
 

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Just a suggestion (as there are a bunch of great threads/advice on loose leash walking on this forum)... When he starts getting excited about getting somewhere, instead of just stopping and going forward again, have you tried going backwards?

From the sounds of what you wrote, it sounds like once you start walking again he immediately pulls forward (sorry if I misinterpreted :)). I used to do the stop-go thing too, and he knew to stop very well but as soon as I moved forward again he'd put the pressure back on the leash. This way, he was still slowly getting closer to the reward (ie the dog park) and by the time we got to the entrance, we could have stopped a bajillion times and I don't think my dog learned to walk politely. In his mind it was: "Stopping and pulling a bunch of times = get to the park!"

When my dog used to do this as we got closer to the park, for every time he pulled forward I would go back to wherever his self control started failing (10 feet from the entrance, the start of the block, etc.) and try again. So then it became "Pulling = moving FURTHER away from where I want to be!" "Loose leash = get to the park!"

There is no right or wrong way, but this is what worked for me. I hope your walks are getting better :D
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks for the feedback, i appreciate it. I do try direction changes often when he is overly distracted, to remind him that I control our route and to focus on me, and I find it is effective most of the time. Where it failed yesterday was when he could see the other dogs playing free and was determined to join them, but I was not yet in an appropriate place to let him off leash, and wouldn't have anyway since he was not being at all attentive to me. Today, I will try arriving early by a different route to avoid the visual temptation and also try the "pulling=backwards" approach every time there is an issue.

I have mobility/health issues (bone disease) so playing with me is mostly mental excercise besides when we play fetch. So I want Niko to have lots of time to play with the other dogs and burn off some energy. Living alone, having a disability and caring for a puppy is a BIG challenge, especially when his misbehaviour causes me physical pain (I think I broke my thumb yesterday while he was pulling on the leash and my knee has been a mess for the last month). It is hard to be more exciting than the environment when you are a limping old cripple!
:whoo:
 

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I have never had a dog that pulls, but my ex bosses golden pulled my bad shoulder almost out of place (cartilage damage due to repeated falls off horses when I was younger ) which hurt like hell, so my knee jerk reaction was so yank back as hard as she yanked me & it worked, while giving her a very firm "NO!" a few times & pulling her back when she pulled ME (hey... An eye for an eye, man!) of course, she was on a flat collar, but after a few times of that, she didn't pull me anymore, all I had to do is say a quiet "no" when she thought about it. But this is a golden, which are very trainable, dont know how that would work wih a more stubborn dog
 

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Just a suggestion (as there are a bunch of great threads/advice on loose leash walking on this forum)... When he starts getting excited about getting somewhere, instead of just stopping and going forward again, have you tried going backwards?

From the sounds of what you wrote, it sounds like once you start walking again he immediately pulls forward (sorry if I misinterpreted :)). I used to do the stop-go thing too, and he knew to stop very well but as soon as I moved forward again he'd put the pressure back on the leash. This way, he was still slowly getting closer to the reward (ie the dog park) and by the time we got to the entrance, we could have stopped a bajillion times and I don't think my dog learned to walk politely. In his mind it was: "Stopping and pulling a bunch of times = get to the park!"

When my dog used to do this as we got closer to the park, for every time he pulled forward I would go back to wherever his self control started failing (10 feet from the entrance, the start of the block, etc.) and try again. So then it became "Pulling = moving FURTHER away from where I want to be!" "Loose leash = get to the park!"

There is no right or wrong way, but this is what worked for me. I hope your walks are getting better :D
Wow - this sounds like exactly what I need to do with Hobbes! I usually stop when he pulls, and then he lets off the pressure pretty quickly and we go forward again. After several months of this, he still pulls. It's as though he thinks he's being rewarded, not for letting off the leash, but for pulling forward and then letting off the leash. I'm going to try your way! Going backwards for pulling makes a lot of sense.
 

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To add to my streak of bad walks, this morning I split my pants all the way from the top while bending down about ten minutes from home. They were literally falling off of me all the way home, as I try to walk Niko and keep my clothes on at the the same time. :redface:

Here's hoping our streak of bad walks ends today!
Lol, I am sure it does, as that one is difficult to top! ROFL
 

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... It is hard to be more exciting than the environment when you are a limping old cripple!
:whoo:
It is for me also, and I am 'only' a middle aged, overweight, boring (at least for a young dog) woman ;-) So I converted myself into the only (for him) walking food bowl http://www.dogforums.com/dog-training-forum/102735-call-me-walking-food.html#post1085159 and is has done wonders for his focus on me. No, it is not an overnight wonder cure, but for us it is a step, or better said leap, in the right direction.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I am, and have since I got Niko, also been a walking food bowl, which is a big part of why we usually do so well! He eats 90% from my hand, every few days I give him a meal in a bowl. He usually gets a small handful for leaving the apartment properly and then gets the rest when he is behaving during the walk or for following instructions. On a rainy day like today, he earns his handfeeding through games we play inside, like fetch or 'find-the-bone, bring-it-here' or practicing commands. By the way, we now use 'OFF' meaning to get off the couch, as opposed to 'Down" like you suggested, and since 'Down' was new, the transition was seamless and great!
 

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I am, and have since I got Niko, also been a walking food bowl, which is a big part of why we usually do so well! He eats 90% from my hand, every few days I give him a meal in a bowl. He usually gets a small handful for leaving the apartment properly and then gets the rest when he is behaving during the walk or for following instructions. On a rainy day like today, he earns his handfeeding through games we play inside, like fetch or 'find-the-bone, bring-it-here' or practicing commands. By the way, we now use 'OFF' meaning to get off the couch, as opposed to 'Down" like you suggested, and since 'Down' was new, the transition was seamless and great!

Seems we do have a lot in common, such a pity we live on different continents! The joys of the internet, you connect to people you will, most likely, never have the chance to meet in real life!
 

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Gweeb has pulling issues and one thing I found works other than going backwards is if he is focused on something, I pick him up and start walking away from it and I put him down when he calm. This is a last chance kind of thing and he figured out if I pick him up again, it means he's going home, into the kennel and Jezzy and I leave. Sometimes with dogs and kids I think it helps when you're not set on going if they don't act right. I do this with my nephew but he would pull stunts on his mom who will take him anyways. Worked for kid and is working for Gweeb.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
happy to report we broke our bad walk streak with a great 2+ hour outing yesterday evening. We arrived first at the dog meeting so Niko wasn't tempted to pull towards the free playing dogs. I brought along extra stinky treats to help keep his attention, and changed directions often and unexpectedly to keep him following my lead.

I made a slight tweak in our walking method that I found helpful and maybe some of you will too.

Normally Niko is fed on walks when he is "good walking", which means being slightly behind me and stopping when I stop. He would be fed when we stop together. When Niko begins to become distracted, he normally sees something ahead of us and moves in front of me. He gets to the end of the leash, i say "don't pull" and we stop. Although he knows to stop and sit, he doesn't really redirect his attention to me with this method, he just knows the procedure.

Now when Niko first becomes distracted and begins moving ahead, I immediately slow down or stop, which often restores his attention because he associates me stopping with being fed. I think before I was too focused on what to do when he pulls, that I wasn't being active enough in finding ways to get him not to pull in the first place.

Anyways, our consecutive bad walk record stays at 4 for now, hopefully never to be broken.
 
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