Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,927 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We keep trying to train Caeda to walk nice, but nothing is getting us consistent results, and Being a Tree isn't quite cutting it now. Tree branches can break :p Nothing has been badly hurt yet, but the big issue with Caeda is that she'll walk nice for a while then she will wind up and BOLT. There isn't much to do against it. She has almost pulled me off my feet a few times on even a short leash, and has certainly jerked my arm hard enough that it acts up for a day or two. I tried bracing the leash against my hips around the back....she spins me. So it is becoming very reinforcing for her since she DOES gain ground doing this, and I can't stop it!

She still does her head down pulling occasionally, but I can usually fight against that (usually) and a leash-twitch usually fixes it. It is usually her first reaction if there is a smell she really wants to check out. She is always WAY more interested in the smells and sights than she is in treats, and if she gets a treat, it doesn't stop her from doing it afterwards. If she walks nice she gets treats, if she walks nice and intermittently dashes she gets one or two treats less AND checks out smells. I've tried giving her the occasional time for a "sniff-fest" hoping it gets it out of her system....nope, there are OTHER smells.

Even the front-leading harness isn't helping much, it might turn her, but she is still gaining ground, and despite treat luring she wants to keep a consistent minor pull with it on, which makes her wander in front of me. I don't like using the flat collar (or a head collar) for her walks because she will choke herself out pretty hard. I'm really not liking the amount of force this is putting on her (or me!) physically on any of the harnesses. I worry about the physical issues with a prong collar too because of her force, though I haven't tried it recently. A lot of her basic obedience and general self control is very good, but not enough to redirect her in any way in these circumstances. I'd get my DH more involved in this, to add some muscle, but thanks to his unpredictable work hours he cant' do it consistently and I'm home more often.

Thoughts and suggestions for when "being a tree" isn't working thanks to a strong pup? I haven't posted about this issue for a while since we've been trying so many techniques that I haven't even mentioned. Getting a little frustrated (and sore!) now with this. Haven't been hearing great reviews about the only trainer in town....so I'm really stumped.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
801 Posts
Well, I don't know if it will help and I don't exactly have the same problem as you, but...When Casbah was having trouble focusing on loose leash walking instead of the surroundings I bought a clik stik which I smear with peanutbutter and hold out in front of her so she pays attention/follows it instead of trying to chase after butterflies. I take her on her training walk in the morning and then she gets to have a fun walk around the field behind my apartment or to the dog park in the evening.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,615 Posts
I have never found being a tree to be a great method. I now use a combination of penalty yards, premack and some work on silky leash training works best.
Penalty yards and silky leash are for "training sessions" and premack combines with the no pull harness are for walks.
Penalty yards works like this: pick a thing your dog would like to have (this can be going to a fave person, a fave toy or a piece of food) and place it about ten feet away. You and dog are at the start line, ask for a sit and then cue the go forward (heel, walk nicely, lets go) as soon as dog pulls ahead Mark It with an uhuh or Oops! and turn and return to start line, sit and then start over. It is very important to mark the exact transgression clearly so that the dog can learn what is causing their loss of yardage. If they walk nicely then they get to go to and receive their reward.
Silky leash is a way to condition a dog to go against their natural opposition reflex and learn to give in to leash pressure. Go to youtube and search for the silky leash vids from Ahimsa dog training. I would link it for you, but cant do it from my phone...
Premack is about using what the dog really wants as a reward for a not so popular behaviour. Same concept as the penalty yards but modified for on walks. Since Caeda is a big sniffer, work out those areas on your regular walk that she is most likely to want to sniff...the bush at the corner, the yard where the cute boy dog lives, the lamppost etc. and well before the spot comes up, stop, cue a sit or wait, and then use the penalty yard concept with the spot. You should be able to get to the point where she will "ask permission" by stopping and looking at you...then you can decide whether it is okay to do so.
All in all, getting a good llw in a dog less than a year and a half (meaning a consistent llw) is very difficult, so be patient and continue to work on this and other impulse control exercises like leave it, drop it, stays, doggy zen etc. all designed to increase self control and for the dog to learn that good stuff happens when they look to You and dont grab it for themselves.
Phew, that is a poo load of typing on a smartphone, please excuse any typos.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,927 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Interesting stuff....I'm thinking a combo of these things would work best. Click stick for working in familiar places, getting a good heel. I'll have to get back on the Silky Leash. She was GREAT inside, but step out the door and on came the pulling to an almost painful degree (I don't want to do do further damage to my pre-existing injury ugh). Maybe using her tether to start getting the concept in her head a bit while outside, she occasionally fights her usual range. Does this sound like a useful thing to try? I'll have to do a lot of the more involved ones, like penalty yards when my DH is home, since it will still require some muscle when it is a situation where we KNOW she will pull. Sessions may be sporadic, but at least they can happen. I was kind of hoping I'd find something I could do myself....but I should know better, training a dog that pulls means dealing physically with a dog that pulls :p
Since Caeda is a big sniffer, work out those areas on your regular walk that she is most likely to want to sniff...the bush at the corner, the yard where the cute boy dog lives, the lamppost etc. and well before the spot comes up, stop, cue a sit or wait, and then use the penalty yard concept with the spot. You should be able to get to the point where she will "ask permission" by stopping and looking at you...then you can decide whether it is okay to do so..
This I think will be the big result-getter. She already sits quite often when she wants something. If I have a toy or treat and haven't prompted her for an action yet, she will automatically sit and sometimes try to give paws to "ask" for it. As soon as she gets THIS concept into her head as applied to sniffing the battle will be over half won! A big problem with our area is that the interesting things move. We are very rural, so some days there is a deer, moose or coyote scent trail, or a human, the next day there is something new, and unfortunately I can't sense when interesting stuff is coming. I'm very proud of her self control in some situations. I can throw the yummiest treats and toys all around her if I put her in a sit-stay, and she won't go until I say so, or she will sit in the open doorway when I go get her long-line from the carport. If can apply her self control, and her behaviour when she wants things to scents (and other interesting things) a breakthrough will happen :D I don't know how I didn't see this lol.....Thank You!!!

I do have two related queries about giving her outlets for these things she likes/is good at:
First, Caeda is from a breed whose purpose was pulling (we read some fascinating stuff about the Swiss Army using GSMDs instead of horses!). Would it be a help at all (of course when she is properly developed) to train her to pull something, like a cart or small sled (maybe to help me take garbage to the dumpster) to give an appropriate outlet for the pulling. I wouldn't want to do it seriously, not with 3000+ lbs like some of do, not our thing!
Second: Being very scent driven would it be helpful to do some basic scent training with her....again as an outlet for "appropriate sniffing"? We have thrown around the idea of eventual Search and Rescue training, but know its a bit of a pipe dream, but maybe some just for fun stuff could help with her "sniffiness"?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,615 Posts
Quick answer, yes and yes. lol. Use a proper pulling harness for training pulling..I know Sassafrass has recently started skijoring with her dogs, maybe send her a pm? You can also google and search youtube for Nosework exercises and info..there may even be classes offered somewhere near you. As for the things that move issue...a flirtpole can be a great way for her to blow off some of that preydrive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,927 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Quick answer, yes and yes. lol. Use a proper pulling harness for training pulling..I know Sassafrass has recently started skijoring with her dogs, maybe send her a pm? You can also google and search youtube for Nosework exercises and info..there may even be classes offered somewhere near you. As for the things that move issue...a flirtpole can be a great way for her to blow off some of that preydrive.
I wish I could get into Skijoring! unfortunately my neck and shoulder's wouldn't likely hold up (2 years of physio and still pretty fragile). Trying to convince the DH though! I think he would love it! We consult a Swissy forum occasionally and they do a LOT of pulling but it seems more competitive. Sassafrass might be able to help out with the lighter-weight pulling. Oddly enough we just noticed the local feed store has dog pulling harnesses!
We've used a broken off tree branch as a fully destructible flirt pole, and that helps a bit with her prey drive. The big one lately has been a laser at night out in the yard. :D
Going to start Youtubing the nosework stuff to get some exercises for that though and see what we can get. I know there is a local K9 unit with the police.....they might be able to help me find someone who could help with it too!! :D Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
I cured pulling by using a prong collar.
He keeps a semi taught leash, but all it took was about 3x of him hitting the end of the training lead at 3/4 speed and he stopped and recognized his boundaries quickly. but of course this dog takes a few tries to learn anything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
We've had moderate success with a big, strong puller using a head collar. Even if he tries, Jasper can't pull me enough to bother me with it on, and after a few tries he gives up... usually. Although when we get into soft, grassy areas he immediately starts rubbing his face around trying to get the collar off.

I think the results would be better if we were more consistant - but while I always begin the leash portion of our walks with the head collar, my boyfriend never uses it at all when I'm not around. Which drives me nuts, by the way.

It's worth a try if all else fails, but I can't really tell yet if a head collar is the way to go when you're actually making (or hoping to make) potential progress with training your dog not to pull or try to dart away even without the collar on. Jasper still pulls just as hard when he's in his regular harness - so I am thinking the head collar is more of a quick fix than a long-term training tool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,145 Posts
First, Caeda is from a breed whose purpose was pulling (we read some fascinating stuff about the Swiss Army using GSMDs instead of horses!). Would it be a help at all (of course when she is properly developed) to train her to pull something, like a cart or small sled (maybe to help me take garbage to the dumpster) to give an appropriate outlet for the pulling.
Yes, yes, yes!

I haven't actually started skijoring yet because there isn't snow on the ground, but I've been doing dry land training (canicross and scootering) with Squash and Maisy all summer. The funny thing is, I originally started this stuff because of Squash since he's half Alaskan Husky, and I only started with Maisy because he wasn't getting the concept of pulling and she is an incorrigible leash-puller so I thought she might kick him into gear - and now she is the one who is really excelling at it despite no apparent pulling breed heritage (although he is still only 9 months old and is showing more interest and aptitude as time goes by, so I think he'll get there).

Anyway, if you do canicross you shouldn't have any undue stress on your shoulder or neck - you wear a wide belt (I use my skijoring belt, I'm sure there are canicross-specific belts although I've never looked into it) around your waist that is attached to a line that is attached to the dog's harness. And you do NOT need to run/jog, although I will jog with them for short bursts I spend the majority of the time walking. I also have a scooter that I've mostly only used with Maisy and she LOVES it. I've only had both dogs hitched up to the scooter once so far, just up and down the alley.

I've found it to be an excellent outlet for Maisy. As I said, on a leash she's a die-hard puller no matter what I've tried training-wise... and it's my weakest skill to train a dog, anyway, so with her I've been pretty much doomed. But I do think in her mind she is starting to make a distinction between when she is and isn't allowed to pull - in the x-back, yes, on any other harness/collar, no, because (although honestly at this point I almost always walk her in the x-back with the skijoring belt) when she is not in harness she is much calmer and pulls less on walks.

I'd highly, highly recommend a book called Ski Spot Run. It is about skijoring, but the general principles of training are similar for other pulling activities and there are some chapters about non-skiing pulling sports as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,927 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Yes, yes, yes!
Thank you for the glowing endorsement!!! I was going to PM you after work today and I get home....lo and behold :D
I'm absolutely going to start looking into it, especially with the prospect of other than skijorning (I can't help but worry about using the ski poles, weird things set off muscle spasms). Maybe next weekend we'll go to the feed store and grab an x-back harness then order a belt :D I'm going to grab that book too. Yay, fun times to come!!! Even it ends up that I HAVE to harness her to a scooter for walks because she won't stop pulling, heh....so be it!

As for those suggesting head collars, we tried one once. It was truly alarming the way her head twisted when she bolted. I read into it and apparently neck injuries aren't uncommon, and with a bolting dog its asking for it. If it were just pulling I'd go for it. The prong collar too is similar. We tried it on one walk when she wasn't as strong and it made her yelp and whimper but she kept pulling and bolting (with it on!) THEN she would get wound up and bite us every time. I've done positive reinforcement so far, and I've got no problem with aversives to a point, but enough force to pull me off my feet at high speed on her puppy neck scares me, especially with a prong. I would honestly prefer an intelligently used e-collar to the other two tools, they just don't work for her (or for us). The front lead harness isn't so bad, it just isn't helping much.

Some more time on silky lead and penalty yards will hopefully get her decent and using some canicross or scootering as an outlet will hopefully improve her. I think its going to take FAR longer than we want to make her walk decent, I just hope we get her there before she's too strong for me!
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top