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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, the simple question is, how do you stop an excited dog from pulling on lead?
If you'd like to reply to this (and thank you, in advance), please read the rest of this post, prior.

Thus far, I have tried:
- treats
- praising
- abrupt changes in direction
- stopping (usually for a silent count of 10)
- leash corrections with flat collar
- leash corrections with pinch collar
- "dominant dog collar"
- "heeling stick"

I have not tried:
- Halti-type collar (which I hate)
- "no-pull" harness.

Background:
- Over the past 40+ years with dogs, "polite" walking on lead has always been a "no-brainer"; however, now I have a year old, immature, male BRT (our second of this particular breed) who seems oblivious to not pulling.
- Two breeders involved in this litter, each have a sister of our boy. They are both "master trainers" (show, obedience, agility, rally, weight-pulling, Schutzhund) and who, combined, have about 70 years experience with the breed. They have both reported the exact same things with their girls ... extremely stubborn, and totally oblivious to even the most extreme leash corrections. Neither has ever experienced this before.

Fortunately, I'm told that, this amazing stubbornness aside (which manifests itself in other ways, too), the entire litter has fabulous temperaments.

I'm currently taking our second set of training classes ...
- The first was at a highly respected, "all-positive" facility. After quickly exhausting all the "tricks" and tools in their "all-positive" tool-bag, they were absolutely at a loss.
- Currently, I'm in the middle of a session at another highly respected, but "more serious" facility, where they breed working GSD's and are involved in competition with their dogs. They are amazed at our boy's temperament, intelligence and work drive (thank goodness he is very treat-driven); they, too, are at a loss.

Frankly, I don't expect any brilliant revelations but, I'm hoping! :wave:
 

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My first concern is that you have tried so many different methods in one year. Pick one, and stick to it. Not for just a few weeks and give up, but for months. Especially with a young dog. They have almost 0 impulse control, and repeatedly switching training methods is only going to be more confusing. Since your dog is so food motivated, I would ensure the dog never gets anywhere by pulling (the "be a tree" method) combined with rewarding for being in the correct spot (beside you or wherever you want him). Before taking this out on the streets, you might even want to practice in a very low distraction environment, like your boring living room or slightly less boring back yard.

If you have a young, excitable dog this will be unlikely to gain you any real results in the first few weeks. But, if you remain consistent, you will slowly begin to see the dog making connections, learning impulse control, and thinking about how to get what he wants (moving forward, treats). You cannot get discouraged after a few weeks and add in a correction or switch methods. You may not even get very far on walks because you spend so much time "being a tree." That's okay.

Just remember, one year old is very young, pretty much a baby. They're still pushing boundaries and figuring out what they can do, and how they can get what they want. If your pup got anywhere JUST ONCE pulling, it's going to take a long time to extinguish the behavior. Consistency is key. You likely have a smart dog, but remember you're the one who controls his access to resources and all things fun!
 

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Loose leash walking requires consistency in method. True, not all methods work for all dogs, but it takes longer than a week to see consistent improvement. Similarly, "treats" is not really a method. There are lots of different ways to use treats to reward for loose leash walking. You can reward the dog for looking back at you (yo-yo method), you can feed a constant stream of treats in the area where you want the dog to walk, over time (i.e., multiple sesions) reducing the number of treats that the dog gets.

If it's something you're struggling with, it is a great idea to work on it at home in your house, in the back yard, in the front yard.

One last thing: Denise Fenzi is currently developing a pretty unique method for teaching LLW (not heeling, so the dog could be in front or behind you, but just going for a neighborhood walk with your dog not yanking your arm off). At it's core, it involves walking in large circles, slowly making the circles smaller and to move along a line so that the dog still gets to sniff the things they want to sniff, and learns to not pull at the same time. I haven't had the opportunity to try the method myself (my dogs are small and already proficient LLWers) so I don't know all the intricacies of it, but other people have reported success with it when nothing else has helped. There will be a webinar on the method at the end of the month: https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.com/self-study/webinars
 

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Have you worked with the dog in the house or other boring place so he understands what you want? You're never going to get anywhere in an exciting place if you don't have it in a boring place.

I've always been able to do 'choose to heel' with dogs but Bucky doesn't get it. What has been helping is me taking the lead and taking a step and stopping. When dog stops with me reward [reward when he bounces back next to me when I started this]. When dog gets that then two steps. Start bouncing the number of steps around as soon as you get to 3 steps. This is a proactive method rather than reactive like turning around or stopping after the dog has decided to forget about you and go for it.

He also wants to be completely engaged throughout the walk. No casual strolls for him! Since you have an intense working dog suspect there is some of that going on as well. So I'll do that step/halt to the end of the block and release him to sniff/pee. Then back to 'work'.

This is no quick fix for me and the Buckster but he gets it and did understand it from the start.
 

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Pulling is (in simple terms) oppositional reflex. Dog pulls and you pull back and dog pulls harder and you pull back harder.. and pretty soon you are being pulled around. The behavior becomes habitual and self rewarding (because the dog also gets to move forward).

I won't give you a technique but I will say this. The longer you walk the dog and the dog pulls, the more ingrained the behavior will become. Your job as a handler and a trainer is to make pulling non rewarding. Your next job is to make focus on YOU and paying attention you YOU more rewarding than pulling.

Any and every dog may pull.. just to get to a tree to pee or to sniff something or even see something. When the dog does those behaviors he/she has totally forgotten you even exist and, in fact, you are viewed by the dog as the "dumb end of the leash."

I am willing to bet you don't have your dog's focus or attention in high energy situations. Until you can get that AND make that focus "better" than the environment and pulling to interact to that environment, your dog will pull.

You could also try to train the dog to stay with you off leash. You have to start this in a very controlled environment and make choosing to stay next to you as a more rewarding choice than leaving you. This takes talented training and a LOT of time and perseverance and a dog that has genetic pack drive and desire to partner. Not all dogs are appropriate for this training. The benefit is No leash, No pulling.

You COULD introduce an aversive.. head halter, no pull harness or prong collar.. but NONE of those things will train your dog. They will train your dog to only stop pulling when that equipment is on. The first two can hurt your dog and they work because they DO hurt the dog in ways we cannot readily see (muscle and skeletal pressure that can injure over time).

The last (the prong) is a collar where you MUST retain slack in the line as corrections with this collar are delivered by a quick, sharp uptake of slack in the leash while the collar must be on the dog's neck pretty tight. Pulling and a tight leash or NOT how to use a prong collar (and this is one of many reasons it is impossible to truly recommend to someone you cannot see working the dog). I have used and do use a prong collar for some things, but it is NOT my "go to tool" because the corrections are very personal and can damage the relationship with the dog.

I am NOT recommending aversive tools here. These things do not TRAIN the dog. They only train as long as they are on the dog.. which is pointless.
 

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I’ve been training for 25 years and teaching for 12 years.
The Front Clip harness is amazing. It’s like magic on so many dogs I’ve seen. I’ve had many customers almost in tears or shear joy from the instant improvement. I like the Pet Safe Easy Walk harness. It has a loop in the front that self-corrects and turns dog back into you if they pull.
Although this does not solve your problem, it can help you gain immense control and bring back the joy, so that you can practice having the dog walk at your side and not have a power struggle or get pulled down.
Never practice until you’ve drained some of your dogs energy.
Make sure you give treats on the Same side your dog is walking on, while you are still moving and leash is loose. If dog is on your left, hold the leash in your Right hand (put your hand right near where a belt buckle would sit. Don’t let too much leash drag or hang).
My favorite trick is to put peanut butter or wet dog food on a long spoon and give a little lick for their treat. It’s much easier than constantly pulling out treats, dropping them, etc... It might look silly but it’s very effective. Gradually decrease amount of treats as dog improves.
My favorite tip is “if your neighbors don’t think you’re crazy when you’re practicing loose leash walking, then you’re not doing it right”. Lol
 

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You definitely need consistency. You should pick a method and stick to it, but not every method works with every dog. I like having a flat 1 or 2 inch collar with a choke collar. A harness has never worked with me. I prefer keeping my dog on the collar and working from there. Starting off in your yard and working closer and closer to more populated areas. With a stubborn dog you want to get his attention fast before he or she gets distracted. I will normal wait till the dog stops pulling, when the dog looks back I move him behind me into a "U" shape and position him onto my side where I want him and hold the collar Every time the dog pulls I would Lightly tap my foot on the dogs hide leg. This gets the dogs attention and make them look at you. It takes a lot of practice and patience to get a stubborn dog to focus and heel on a leash. I've hated any other method. I used to try every method with my Rottie, but this on have worked best my my current doberman and giant schnauzer. I've even tried putting peanut butter on the dogs nose and had it walk in between me and a wall. It normally keeps the dog distracted to keep him from pulling and always him to get the pattern of walking next to equals reward. After awhile get rid of the peanut butter and just have the dog walk next to a walk and have people and other animals in the room or area your in to get used to distractions. These methods have worked for me.
 

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cool would love pictures !!! what can your pup do? anyway during play off lead in the house slip some (single lead rules) into being part of the game? They have to do one of those single lead rules in order to win the game?
 

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I've never had any experience with a BRT, so I don't know if he is more like a Schnauzer, Rottweiler, or Terrier... but it sounds like he's food driven, so that's a start.

I agree with Lillith to pick one method, and I like 'be a tree'. You can supplement the method, by stopping, then clicking your tongue and giving him a small treat when he stops and looks at you. I like clicking your tongue, b/c it gives the dog a "non-verbal' cue indicating a desired behavior. Or you might stop, then walk backwards when he continues to pull.

You might leverage his food drive by working with an experienced clicker trainer who has worked with terriers and complex chains of behaviors.

In any case, whichever method you select, Turid Rugaas gathered data on pulling, which suggested that you should focus on training for about a month before the dog starts to really get it. During the first two weeks of training, you may observe progress then a burst of pulling again, which can settle down with an addition week of patient and persistent training. If you get frustrated from the lack of progress and change methods, then you may be starting the clock at zero and have to wait yet another month.

On a different note, more than 20 years ago, we used a pinch collar on tough dogs, such as Labs, Pits, Rotes, and Dobbies. The pinch worked for about a month, then they didn't care, they adjusted, and they still pulled ... So we stopped using them. There is a good technique that is neither cruel nor painful with a pinch or with a choke chain, but I have neither the timing nor the technique to accomplish useful training with these devices.
 

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I would recommend to continue with the stopping. But do not count down to ten. Only start walking again if there is no pressure on the leash anymore. And be patient and consequent. It does not work if you sometimes stop and sometimes dont. Or do it for one day and thats it. You need to make this a general rule for your dog: If you pull, you will never reach your destination. Because if the dog is reaching whatever he wants to reach, it is self rewarding. 'I pull, i reach my goal'. By stopping, the dog is self rewarding on another way 'I will reach my goal if I dont pull'.
So, whenever there is too much pressure on the leash for your taste: Stop. No exceptions. Not even once. Even if you have to wait 15 minutes before walking again. Because patience is the key.
 
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