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Discussion Starter #1
We are trying to start working on some leash manners with our 13 week old pup. She is (probably) a shep/husky mix, we've had her since she was 8 weeks.

Until last week we were only taking her out in our backyard for potty and play time, but she is now full vaccinated and cleared to at least do some walks around our neighborhood (no rabies yet, so no dog park, etc.) When we take her out to go potty, we have her on her leash, but I've just kind of let her lead us around to sniff out her spot, when she was so young I felt like potty training was priority #1 and I didn't want to mix it with leash training.

Now that we are trying to do little walks, the leash training is going horribly. She wants to just sniff and lead me around like we do in the back yard. She has no interest in going the direction I want to go in. We've been doing clicker training (loosely using Pat Miller's book) She is great with all that in the house or back yard, but doesn't give a DARN about any sort of treat, reward, clicker, etc. when we are trying to do a walk out front. So I went back and worked on the leash thing in the back yard, making endless loops around our fence line. She does great. I say "Let's walk" and she trots right along side of me, click, treat. We walk, no pulling. I stop, she sits and immediately looks at me, click, treat. Its great. We do that for a few days, and try out front again. No way. No acknowledgment that I am even there. I can stick a treat right in her mouth and she has no idea its there!

Then if she does finally decide she wants to actually walk forward, the pulling begins. My heavens. She will lunge at the leash and jump and lunge. I'm so afraid she is going to hurt her neck. I was thinking of switching to a harness, but then worried that if she does have husky in her, a harness might encourage pulling even more? We tried the technique in the book, in which we immediately stop if she pulls, try to get her attention back to us to slack the leash. It sometimes takes like 5 min or more (the whole time she is jumping, lunging, whining), but if she finally slacks the leash, we click, treat (but she won't even take it) and then get to walk forward. She just then immediately pulls again. Repeat. We did this with our other dogs in the past and they got it quickly that if they pull, they don't get to walk forward. She just doesn't seem to make the connection at all. I know, patience and more time I guess, but it took over 30 min to go not even 1/2 a block, 4 walks now. Again, I know, you guys are going to say its going to take weeks, months, etc. I guess I was just lucky to in the past have dogs who got this idea in one or two walks.

Stick with this and wait it out or other ideas/methods to try?
 

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No experience with a Husky/shep mix, but my first thought is she's 13 weeks old. Give it time and please be patient. When she lunges, I would bring the leash down until it's horizontal to the ground and off to the side of her neck and call her in another direction. I don't love the idea of a young pup pulling hard on a leash and collar. I would be concerned about neck injury as well.

At 13-16 weeks, I like to encourage my pups to come with me on lead with a very happy and excited voice. I will crouch down (just a little), call them toward me and praise/treat them as they come. After a few quick times doing this, I let them explore a little with a "go sniff" command. Treats help. I also don't take them very far. Just a few houses down and back. Most of their exercise at a young age is in the house or back yard, until their neck muscles develop and they have a little more awareness of my role in their training.

I would probably do more work in a yard, on and off leash, getting her to recognize your voice, praise and treats. Work on "come".

JMO, I'm sure the professional trainers on this board will have some other/better suggestions.
 

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I had the same problem after letting Snoopy wander around at-will on his leash in the early potty training days. He got used to being able to go where he wanted, at least to some extent. One way I started breaking him of this was to play an enticing "chase me" game on leash out front of our house... where I get in front of him and run away backwards. At times it was hard to get his attention, but most of the time, if I was giving it a good effort (treats, making silly sounds, etc.) he couldn't help but want to follow me around. I'd put a lot of twists and turns into the game so he couldn't just walk in a straight line, he had to watch where I went. It's not heeling, but it's practice paying attention to me outside, and I think it helped.

I would agree that you can't go out with any expectations to go for a real walk yet. Resign yourself to the fact that you're not going to get anywhere for a few weeks, and just focus carefully on the heeling.

One thing I wonder about, is when your pup first becomes hyper... is it when the leash goes on? Or when the door opens? Or not until you actually get outside? Because with Snoopy, I had to train him in a slow process to wait while I put on the leash, wait at the door while I opened it, wait while I stepped through it first, wait again at the top of the porch steps until I proceeded... etc. The point of all that was to ensure I had his attention from the moment we started, and to set a calmer tone when leaving for a walk. I think it's somewhat counter-productive to wait until the pup is already hyper and then try to regain its attention. If you can keep your pup focused from the first moment, and make sure to stop and sit every time she starts looking excited, you'll probably progress faster.

My problem (and possibly yours) was that due to wanting to get Snoopy out into the grass quickly once I let him out of his crate, I let him run straight out the door and down the steps as fast as he wanted to go... and that was why I couldn't control him later when I wanted to teach leash manners, he'd just go zooming for his potty spot. Which is good from a house-training perspective, but I had to back up and calm down the entire going-out process from start to finish.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No experience with a Husky/shep mix, but my first thought is she's 13 weeks old. Give it time and please be patient. When she lunges, I would bring the leash down until it's horizontal to the ground and off to the side of her neck and call her in another direction. I don't love the idea of a young pup pulling hard on a leash and collar. I would be concerned about neck injury as well.

At 13-16 weeks, I like to encourage my pups to come with me on lead with a very happy and excited voice. I will crouch down (just a little), call them toward me and praise/treat them as they come. After a few quick times doing this, I let them explore a little with a "go sniff" command. Treats help. I also don't take them very far. Just a few houses down and back. Most of their exercise at a young age is in the house or back yard, until their neck muscles develop and they have a little more awareness of my role in their training.

I would probably do more work in a yard, on and off leash, getting her to recognize your voice, praise and treats. Work on "come".

JMO, I'm sure the professional trainers on this board will have some other/better suggestions.
I definitely try EVERYTHING to get her come towards me - crouching down, kissy noises, her name, being super happy, holding a treat out of her. NO interest at all in rewards or treats or me when we are not in the back yard or the house. None. At. All. I've only gotten her to come towards me maybe two or three times, which I tried to reward and praise, but she literally refused the treat I tried to give her and just ran off to lunge away again. I'm having a hard time figuring how to do positive reward if she has no interest in any rewards. I guess I have to figure out the right one, but I have no idea what else to try beyond praise, treats and the natural one of getting to walk further!

I know she is young, but I want to make sure she gets opportunities to socialize, which means she needs to be on a leash (park, pet store, etc.) And I don't want to take her places now and just let her pull and reinforce that. So it feels like I can't socialize her until we get the leash thing down? I guess I was lucky with my other dogs, I had a shep mix when I was a teen and she picked up the leash thing immediately and I had a pit/lab mix (who had EVERY other behavior issue known to dog or man!) but also picked up the leash thing in about 1 or 2 walks, and even younger than her. And my shih tzu just never even tried to pull.

I think I am just going to go to a harness even if does make her pull more because I am really worried she already might have hurt her neck and I'd rather deal with more training/pulling than risk her getting injured :( She lunges so hard (front legs of ground and jumping into it)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
She definitely doesn't get excited by the leash itself since she is so used to it for potty time (and sometimes she is on it around the house too if I am even slightly distracted so she can't sneak away and pee). But when we head to the FRONT door instead of the back, I think that is where it starts! I try to make her do a few rounds of "puppy push-ups" (from Pat Miller's book - basically cycling through sit, down, sit, stand, etc. a few times) to get her attention and make sure she knows I have the clicker and treat bag. But once that door opens, its all over! Maybe I will try doing some commands AFTER I open the door, then again on the porch, etc. until we can get outside with her still having her attention on me.

The thing I have the hardest time with is getting her attention to me, coming after me, following me, chasing me, etc. She's quite an independent girl and not overly interested in interacting except on HER terms (when SHE wants to cuddle, she cuddles, when she wants to play with us, she plays with us....she kind of reminds me of a cat in this way more than a dog, and it often feels like getting a cat to come to you when they don't want to!) I don't get the impression she is afraid or intimidated by us or anything, we've tried really hard to only do positive training, she just is MORE interested in something else and completely ignores us more than 1/2 the time (even in the house)
 

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I definitely try EVERYTHING to get her come towards me - crouching down, kissy noises, her name, being super happy, holding a treat out of her. NO interest at all in rewards or treats or me when we are not in the back yard or the house. None. At. All. I've only gotten her to come towards me maybe two or three times, which I tried to reward and praise, but she literally refused the treat I tried to give her and just ran off to lunge away again. I'm having a hard time figuring how to do positive reward if she has no interest in any rewards. I guess I have to figure out the right one, but I have no idea what else to try beyond praise, treats and the natural one of getting to walk further!

I know she is young, but I want to make sure she gets opportunities to socialize, which means she needs to be on a leash (park, pet store, etc.) And I don't want to take her places now and just let her pull and reinforce that. So it feels like I can't socialize her until we get the leash thing down? I guess I was lucky with my other dogs, I had a shep mix when I was a teen and she picked up the leash thing immediately and I had a pit/lab mix (who had EVERY other behavior issue known to dog or man!) but also picked up the leash thing in about 1 or 2 walks, and even younger than her. And my shih tzu just never even tried to pull.

I think I am just going to go to a harness even if does make her pull more because I am really worried she already might have hurt her neck and I'd rather deal with more training/pulling than risk her getting injured :( She lunges so hard (front legs of ground and jumping into it)
I think for now, a harness would be a good idea. What are you using for treats? Perhaps a favorite toy will work better, idk. Kind of young for a favorite, but some dogs work better with toys as motivators. Either way, I would stick to the back yard, use the leash or a long lead and work with getting her to come to you. When she develops better leash habits, you can venture out front. Also, start looking into training classes now. In a month or two she will be old enough to join and you will not only get some of the socialization you're looking for, but also someone who can watch and help you get through some of the trouble areas. JMO
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks - we have looked for training classes, they start most places at 10 weeks here for puppy classes, so she is already old enough, but I've run into a problem: the affordable places like Petsmart, I wasn't thrilled with their trainer, and the more reputable places were like $800 for 6 weeks! I'm working hard to find a "middle ground" class and trainer and coming up empty so far!

I've been using a variety of treats, by far her favorite is the freeze dried liver cubes, so I try those for walks, but no dice. I tried her regular treats (soft treats from Wellness that I can just pinch off a smidge - she usually loves them, especially the Turkey Duck ones, but again, no interest) I think I might try something really "naughty" that I would never usually feed her like small pieces of hot dog.

I went and picked up a harness today, I need my husbands help to get it fitted right, so we are going to try it later.

We did more of our usual walking/coming in the back yard today, and as usual she was about 100% back there. I guess we will just keep at it!
 

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To me it sounds like you need to start with practicing settling the pup down at the front door before you proceed outside. There were plenty of times outside when Snoopy was younger, where he was so excited to check things out in the yard, that he completely ignored his favorite tasty, smelly treats. I really really doubt it's that the treat isn't enticing enough, it's just that being outside in that area is way too stimulating for the pup to care about what you have.

Puppy push-ups may not be the way to go for a calming effect. Performing a bunch of commands in quick succession may get her attention on you, but it isn't calming. There are certain commands that I have to really slow down to even work with Snoopy on, because repeating them actually builds his excitement in anticipation of the reward. "Roll over" is one of those things we're working on - after doing 3 or 4 repetitions of it, he gets hyper with excitement and we have to break and do something else, because at that point I'll say "roll over" and he'll just writhe on his back wildly on the floor and pop up again to get his treat without properly rolling LOL.

Instead of repeating multiple commands, just working on a sit-stay or a down-stay would be a better plan. How is her stay command going? If you've been working on it (and you should be, along with the come), the front door sounds like the perfect place to test her steadiness in a stay. First take her out back for a potty break so she doesn't have to go while you're working. Then go and have her sit (or lay down) and stay in front of the door, where she is normally excited to get out. Make her hold it for awhile, replacing her when necessary and feeding a treat every now and again when she's still, to reinforce that she's acting correctly. Once she can stay put in front of the door, reach for the knob and see if she moves. Practice until you can put your hand on the knob without her breaking the stay. Then practice staying while you open the door a crack. Then practice staying with the door all the way open so she can see and smell the outside. Then stay on the porch, sit with her and help keep her calm.

Eventually she'll be able to exit the front door in a calm fashion. It sounds like a lot of work, breaking it down that way, but it doesn't take forever, and of course your pup might catch on faster than mine did. :)
 

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We haven't had any luck with stay really. We've been trying. And come (well, we are using "here" as I know I over use the word come, I say "come on" ALL the time to everyone) is even worse. Problem with come is that when she knows I have treats or the clicker in my hand already, she sticks right to my side. I can't get her to stay anywhere away from me to then get her to come back to me. And if she doesn't know I have treats/clicker, then she isn't interested in me at all.

We've been having a really bad couple of days, frustration is getting pretty high for everyone. She's getting way, way worse with our older dog, to the point where she had him crying this morning because she was tugging his ear so hard, and if I separate them, she starts biting/snapping at me. If I tell her "off" the table, she just comes and snaps at me. If I try to put her in pen when I leave, she snaps at me. We're now getting ready for a huge storm here today, so potty time today is going to be nothing but a HUGE fight while I try to keep her out of the flooded areas of our yard. She'll be biting, growling and pulling on my pants for sure. It seems like everything, all day long is just a huge fight between what she wants to do and what I need her to do. I know we'll go through a lot of these stages and that she's just a baby, but I feel like she only gets "training" as far as a cute tricks go. She can learn "shake" 100% in like 5 min, but I can't get even ONE stay out of her. And she knows what "off" means, gets down, then comes and bites me! So, so worried we are just going to end up with an out of control dog because we just can't seem to get this right. :(

If anyone is in the Houston area and knows a reasonable but good trainer - I'd love the referral!
 

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Stay should be easy to teach:

Just takes lots of steps and reps. Do be aware that pup's attention span is not the best. You should expand it by teaching her focus - touch or look commands.
 

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Ok, well this response was helpful, because there are a lot of details you shared about your training. The impression I'm getting is that you're trying to accomplish a lot of things at once and expect to make good progress on all of them. I think you're being a little unrealistic. While there is nothing at all wrong with teaching a puppy many commands at once (because they're sponges at this age), you need to prioritize and focus on devoting more time to the most important things first. If you can start making detectable progress on a couple of commands at a time it will help with the frustration level and make training more fun for both of you. Nothing is more rewarding than real progress!

I have a bunch of advice in mind after reading your last post, so I apologize in advance if I'm sounding like a blow-hard or something lol... but having just come through a lot of similar issues with training my puppy, I want to share some things that worked for me. And hopefully some more experienced trainers will chime in, too. I'm sure much of what I say will be things you already know, but I just want to be thorough. To start off, leash manners don't sound like the biggest problem you have right now, and I think you should work on getting some other things checked off before you worry about taking long walks.

Here are thoughts I'm having...

  • Don't train when you're frustrated. It's not productive, your puppy will pick up on it, and things will just spiral downwards. If you're not careful, you'll wind up yelling at your dog or being rougher than you should, and that sets your training back. When you start to feel frustrated, just stop working on the new command. Switch to a simple command your pup already knows, let her perform that a time or two for you, give a reward, and then end the session. You should always end training sessions on a happy note - your dog will enjoy training with you more. Then take a break, and come at it fresh later. You'll be glad you did.
  • Make a list. Write down all the obedience commands you want to train. And write down specifically what command words you are choosing for each behavior. Limit the list to obedience for now, you can list tricks separately, because they're not the priority at the moment.
  • Consistency. Always use the word you wrote down for that command, and make sure that everyone else in your household knows and uses your exact command words, every time. At this early stage in the game, don't confuse the puppy. Consistency also means you always give the same response to the same behavior. So don't let her get away with something she isn't supposed to do one time when you're too tired to deal with it, and then correct her when she does it the next time. Correct it every single time.
  • You have to work on the biting problem NOW. It's important that your pup learns that it's not ok to bite people or chew on unacceptable items like your clothing. It's also important that she be able to take food gently from a person's hand, so if she's snapping when you give her treats, you need to nip that in the bud. There are other threads for biting and chewing problems on this board, so I'm not going to go into that in detail here. Just have a lot of different chew toys on hand to redirect her attention to when she starts chewing on unacceptable items. You need to have a way to separate your dogs when the pup is getting too rough... you should be able to gate her off in another room, or crate her. (You are crate training?)
  • "Stay" is an absolute necessity, so that needs to be worked on daily, at least. The first stays are the hardest to get, and if she's not getting it, you need to really go SLOW. Building on duration, distance, and distractions like in the video will come with time. That guy's dog already knew what he wanted. You need some method to get those very first stays. Something that will hold your pup's attention consistently. For me, that was meal time.

    My puppy was always excited to dig into his food as soon as it arrived, so I used that reliable motivator to my advantage. I didn't fill the bowl while it was on the floor, I picked it up, filled it, and then used it to elicit Snoopy's first "stays." I started out easy... I stood still with the bowl (put puppy in a sit if possible, if not don't worry about it yet), and very slowly lowered it towards the floor. As soon as Snoopy made a move to rush for it and jump at it, I stood back up tall and waited. Repeat, repeat, repeat, very slowly, getting the dish closer and closer to the floor without it being jumped on. I didn't get there in one meal of course, this occurred over the course of days. This teaches the puppy that you expect patience.

    (You'll probably progress on this quicker. I started this training at around 8 weeks.)

    Once you can get the food bowl to the floor unscathed, make the pup wait a moment before digging in... the next time, wait just a moment longer... then a moment longer. Just keep your hand on the bowl when you set it down, and be ready to lift it back up out of reach when she darts forward. Use a calm "staaaaay" command while you make her wait. Try to get her to sit each time when you're about to put the bowl down.

    Once she will stay for her meals, generalize that to other situations. Have her sit-stay while you place a treat on the floor in front of her. She doesn't get it until you give your release command. Work on duration. Then work on distance. Then add the distraction of dropping the treat from the air onto the ground... the bouncing movement will really make her want to go for it. Eventually you'll get to where you can have her in a sit-stay while you toss something she wants across the room, and only runs for it when you say so. (Work both sit-stay and down-stay... I can't remember if you mentioned whether she knows the lay down command yet.)
  • To work on the recall command ("here" in your case)... you really need to set your puppy up for success and make sure that in the beginning, you never say the command word until you KNOW she is coming to you. You don't want to reinforce that "here" means she can wander off and do something else. Only say "here" when she's on the way already. Lure her in with a treat or by getting on the floor and shaking a toy, or whatever works to get her to you quick. As far as her clinging to you when you have treats - you just need to have patience. Gate off one room for training, so she can't go wandering through the house. Put treats and clicker away in your pockets so she doesn't see them. If she knows you have them anyway, just keep them out of sight, and ignore her for awhile. She will get bored with waiting, and she will wander away from you to sniff something or play with a toy. Just wait until her attention wanders, and then call her back to you, have her sit, click and treat.
  • The faster you get a solid "stay," the better off you'll be. You can use the stay to teach the "here" command. Once your pup will stay reliably when you walk away from her, you can use that to teach "here." She comes to you, you put her in a stay and walk away again. Repeat the process to reinforce both commands. A word of warning - just be careful not to use this too early in your "stay" training. She will really want to run to you for her reward, so it's a challenge to the stay. If she's breaking her stays when you try to teach "here," just back up and continue teaching the two commands separately until she is more solid.
I don't get why it will be a fight to keep her out of flooded yard areas. Take her out on leash, pick the area where you want her to go, go stand there, and stay there until she does her business, or you decide it's time to go back in and crate her. Don't give her all day to lallygag around. She may lunge and run circles around you, but she doesn't get to drag you around, and she hasn't earned free range of the yard, so don't give it to her.

I know all this is a lot of work. It's always harder to train out an existing behavior like jumping, biting, or leash pulling, than it is to build up a positive behavior from scratch, like shaking a paw. But overcoming these bad behaviors sooner rather than later will make things SO much nicer. I hope you can find a good local trainer. Maybe your vet or one of the techs at the vet's office will have a recommendation.
 

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Thanks - we have looked for training classes, they start most places at 10 weeks here for puppy classes, so she is already old enough, but I've run into a problem: the affordable places like Petsmart, I wasn't thrilled with their trainer, and the more reputable places were like $800 for 6 weeks! I'm working hard to find a "middle ground" class and trainer and coming up empty so far!
I can't really help with the training side of things, but with the classes side- have you checked out your local rec centers? Ours offers a basic obedience dog class for $75 which includes (I believe) some of the rudiments of leash training, along with sit/stay type stuff. Your rec/community center might have something similar that's relatively affordable as well. Worth taking a look at, at least! :)
 

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I found my training class through a local boarding and grooming business.
Same here, though it was just a grooming business. Word of mouth is what really let me know that one person at the business did it. Call ALL of the dog/pet related businesses around and ask them if they know of training, if you don't have friends with dogs (or at least trained dogs) you might have a hard time finding a place without a lot of footwork.
You say your puppy is getting super excited going out the front door.....try a training session just going in and out that door, that's all, in and out. If you can manage a sit before opening the door do it, if you can't you could train it a little later but it might be harder because its so used to going in and out without sitting. You could also sit in front of the door for a long while until the puppy is calm. It won't be as "new" and the pulling and lunging won't accomplish anything.

Two things that really struck me that you mention: not socializing because of the pulling, lunging and leash manners and the harness issue. We were in a VERY similar spot, and went that way. Less socialization and using the harness. Now we've got a dog that we're working VERY hard on to make up for the lost socialization time (because yeah, we were lazy and it was really difficult to handle her), and won't walk nicely on a leash (at least other than our front yard). What I wish we had done: deal with the overhyperness and socialize anyway, or the hypers will still be there later, during that time calmness might increase and leash walking might get better. Even more attention games in more locations. Not use the harness (except in the car), maybe a front-leading harness with a short enough leash it doesn't drag between the legs....if it does it can cause some horrible tripping and tying up. Bad news there. That is what I wish we had done, how it would have turned out I don't know, but I think its a MUCH better choice than not socializing and just letting the dog pull on the harness.
For training classes. We are now in one, I'm not completely in love with the trainer but she's doing pretty decent AND she is willing to work with methods we want to use. She offered a choke chain as a tool but was VERY clear that if we didn't want to use it she will help us work without it. She brought in a martingale for someone the other day that seems to be working for their dog to wean it off of a head collar (which IMO is BAD for a dog that lunges!!!).

Also, you might be able to find some puppy socialization classes, doggy daycare can help too. More contact with more dogs and humans can make a big difference. Just in the space of 3 weeks Caeda has improved vastly. Just a couple thoughts on what we wish we had done, others with more experience and insight have made great suggestions too.
 
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