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Hello, my name is Maddie and I recently adopted a 3-year-old Husky/Collie/Golden mix. She came from a family, and is very well behaved in the house. She knows the commands come and down/off very well, however, my troubles come especially when trying to walk her.
Her previous family did not walk her at all. She is extremely overweight right now (about 20-25 pounds over) and other than adjusting her diet, I've been exercising her more. However, she has no motivation to run around in the yard, mostly just sleeps on the ground all day. So instead I've been trying to take her on walks/runs.
The entire time, no matter what I do, she pulls on the leash all the way. It's constantly like I'm using all my strength to hold her back. She's 85 pounds (!!), and I'm only 120, so it's a real battle. It's a steady pull when she's walking, but forbid she sees another dog- I have to dig my heels in and hold her back.
I don't know how to fix this for two reasons.
1: I cannot use "humans" as practice distractions, because she has no interest in people when we walk. We could pass an entire family and she doesn't care. The only thing that makes her pull aggressively is dogs, and even then it's only when a dog is right in front of her and barking at her. Otherwise, it's like she's focused on nothing, just feels comfortable walking straight ahead on the sidewalk but tugging me along. It's just a constant pulling, not like there's anything that she's focused on, just that she wants to move forward faster than I am.
2: She has NO treat or toy motivation whatsoever. I have never had a dog that is such a picky eater. It's a struggle to even get her to eat, even though I've been using a schedule to feed her. I could throw a steak in her face and she couldn't care less. Doesn't beg, doesn't respond to food at all. So I don't know how to reward her for good behavior. At home I can give her love, rub her head etc., but out on a walk, she just completely ignores me. If she does walk correctly and I "reward" her by giving her rubs, she doesn't act all happy like she does at home, she ignores me and then repeats the pulling. And she doesn't like toys at all. I've tried rope, rubber, tennis balls, plush, nothing works. She just doesn't play or chew on anything. The poor thing has probably just been ignored her whole life, and never learned to play with anything.

I could really use some help here. I've trained three other dogs in the past to near perfection, but despite that, I've completely found my downfall: a dog that doesn't like treats. I don't know what to do because she desperately needs the exercise. All she does literally all day is sleep. I'll walk around the house and she'll just of to whatever room I'm in, then lay down on the floor and go to sleep. Literally sleeps unless I'm walking her, rubbing her, or taking her to the bathroom. I've gotten to the point where I have a chronic pain in my right arm from the pulling, but I'm so desperate to get her walking that I put up with it. Every time I walk her I'm embarrassed because I stop every two feet trying to correct the behaviour, but she just doesn't get it.

I refuse to resort to a choke or poke collar, so don't even bother suggesting it. I would like to keep her happy and pain-free. I also have to walk her on a harness, because her previous owner told me she knows how to slide out of her collar, and I don't feel comfortable testing that. So the best I have now is a harness with a handle on the back for service dogs, so that when she gets out of hand I can hold her back, but still it pulls so badly on my arm that I can barely take it anymore. I don't know what I'm going to do, because I'm afraid if I continue on like this she's going to seriously cause damage to my arms. Even typing this is hard because I have to walk her about three times a day because she won't get energy out otherwise, and I have constant pain.
 

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This is an online self study class on teaching loose leash walking that doesn't need treats and doesn't use aversive methods. Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - EW100: Reducing Overarousal and Reactivity via the Circle Method of Leash Walking I've seen some really amazing results with it, and use it with my own dogs on occasion. I've got ligament damage in both shoulders, and 100 pounds worth of dog (a pittie and GSD) pulling like freight trains hurts.

If she slips a flat buckle collar, then a martingale is a good option to try. Properly adjusted, it's darned near impossible to get out of, which is why they are so popular with sighthound people. Otherwise, a front clip harness will give you more leverage than a back clip harness. The method in the class I linked works best with a collar or front clip harness.
 
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I've been working on loose leash walking with my puppy, but his energy level even after exercise and training is about 97 on a scale of 1-10, so it's an ongoing challenge. In the meantime, I cannot tell you how magical the front clip harness is. Given that we're still iced over here where I live, the front clip harness has been a lifesaver. Possibly literally.

Based on my experience with previous, sane dogs (you know, dogs that didn't constantly act like they'd just railed all the methamphetamine in Missouri), it's easier to teach loose leash walking in a boring place (indoors at home, even, for starters), then gradually transfer those skills to more increasingly interesting (to a dog) places.

I second the recommendation of a properly fitted martingale collar as being pretty inescapable. Better than a harness, even; I've seen dogs wriggle out of harnesses.
 

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This is an online self study class on teaching loose leash walking that doesn't need treats and doesn't use aversive methods. Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - EW100: Reducing Overarousal and Reactivity via the Circle Method of Leash Walking I've seen some really amazing results with it, and use it with my own dogs on occasion. I've got ligament damage in both shoulders, and 100 pounds worth of dog (a pittie and GSD) pulling like freight trains hurts.

If she slips a flat buckle collar, then a martingale is a good option to try. Properly adjusted, it's darned near impossible to get out of, which is why they are so popular with sighthound people. Otherwise, a front clip harness will give you more leverage than a back clip harness. The method in the class I linked works best with a collar or front clip harness.
Thank you! I'll check it out. And I can't even imagine having a dog that big! Good on you (y)

I looked at the Martingale collars and I think I might get one. I dog prefer to keep her on the harness, but it would be nice to get her a collar she can't escape from. Also, the harness she has now has a front clip, but I've bee using the one on her back. To be honest I wasn't sure what the purpose of the front one was but now that you mention it, I realize that would make the training a lot easier. Thanks for all the advice!
 

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I've been working on loose leash walking with my puppy, but his energy level even after exercise and training is about 97 on a scale of 1-10, so it's an ongoing challenge. In the meantime, I cannot tell you how magical the front clip harness is. Given that we're still iced over here where I live, the front clip harness has been a lifesaver. Possibly literally.

Based on my experience with previous, sane dogs (you know, dogs that didn't constantly act like they'd just railed all the methamphetamine in Missouri), it's easier to teach loose leash walking in a boring place (indoors at home, even, for starters), then gradually transfer those skills to more increasingly interesting (to a dog) places.

I second the recommendation of a properly fitted martingale collar as being pretty inescapable. Better than a harness, even; I've seen dogs wriggle out of harnesses.
I use the back clip on her harness, but only because silly me didn't understand why there was a front clip on it. So I'll be using the front clip now and seeing how that improves.

I've been working with her on it in the house, but just like outside, it's like as soon as the leash goes on, bam- it's time to pull. I'm not sure exactly what she's so excited about, if anything it seems to me like she has fun pulling my arm off.

She has actually wiggled out of the harness. The first one I had is the one the original owner gave me, and it was just one of those plushy felt ones that you slip around them and had one clip to adjust. First time she saw a rabbit in the bard she backed up and pulled herself right out. Since then I switched her to a four-point adjustment harness, and so far she can't get out of it.

Thanks for all the advice!
 

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I have two dogs, a 35-ish pound pittie and a 55-ish pound GSD. Separately, they are fine. Together, they act like the are locomotives running behind schedule. The GSD is responsible for the ligament damage in my left shoulder, and my late mutt girl tore up the right one.

I use harnesses for lots of things, like tracking, nosework, and parkour, but prefer martingale collars when walking. My pittie has slipped a harness more than once, but has yet to get out of her collar.

I know a lot of people who like the Ruffwear Web Master harness because it has an additional belly strap that helps prevent a dog from backing out of it. Web Master™ Dog Harness with Handle | Secure Supportive Multi-Use | Ruffwear I don't think it has a front clip point, though, and it rather bulky.

The Balance Harness is extremely adjustable, not bulky at all, is difficult for dogs to slip when adjusted properly, and does have a front clip point. Balance Harness® | Blue-9
 

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I almost lost a rescue that I think would have kept going when she backed up violently in a buckle collar. Since then I've always used martingale collars. And if I'm using a harness, I have a coupler type device that's adjusted so it's shorter on the harness side, but if that fails, the longer side to the martingale collar comes into place. Of course you can just use 2 leashes, but I found that cumbersome.
 

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First you need to get rid of that harness, It is ideally made for pulling and the dog has everything going in its favor. I use a Martingale but be aware if not adjusted carefully and it gets on the top-middle of dogs head they can pull out. Had it happen twice over the years. Still a good choice. There are some other collar options, non choke type, that pull dogs head down etc.
There is an old adage. If what a dog is doing gets him/her what they want then they will keep doing it. Your dog is pulling you and getting what he wants. Going forward. Why would he/she stop? Many trainers will suggest the following; Using a non retractable 5' leash begin walking the dog. As soon as they reach the end and start pulling STOP. [use both hands if you have to] Then begin again and keep repeating this until your dog realizes that every time he pulls on that leash he/she will not be getting what they want. You can vary this process if there is a lot of resistance by your dog by turning around and going in the opposite direction as soon as he/she pulls. Keep at it and good luck.
 

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Great thread and info guys. I will be harness shopping tomorrow.
Our dog has gotten out of her harness several times already.
 
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