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Discussion Starter #1
So I have had my little Leo in training since basically 12 weeks old. The training has been in Petco puppy classes because I wanted him to get socialization down too. He is actually freakishly brilliant and has learned all commands very well, training at home isn't as much as it SHOULD be (trainer said 4x a day, 15 mins sessions), to be honest, I train him maybe... MAYBE 15 minutes a day. Either way, he masters everything just fine....

Except walking. He pulls, and pulls, and pulls and it has me so tired!!! It hurts my hand (I have a hand disability), I tried to teach him to heel with treats, but he is just so tiny by the moment I'm gonna treat him for being a good boy walking, he messes up and I can't treat cuz I'll reward the wrong behavior.

I also have a clicker, which he knows means he did good and a treat is coming, that KINDA works, because I can be quicker with the clicker than the treat. He heels well when I have the clicker unless there's people or leaf rolls by. Or look! That pretty butterfly! In short, he is VERY hyper and LOVES people, so the moment he sees a person, he goes INSANE wanting to go to them. It's embarrassing! He jumps on them, on dog's faces, on anything. He's a tiny ballerina always on his hind legs. Collars, harness, etc, no matter.

After two months of training the trainer suggested we get the Gentle Leader, because maybe since he's so smart he'll learn that jumping and pulling isn't a good idea, but he also said it's possible he won't learn and the moment the Gentle Leader is off, he'll go back to pulling. I got it, and it works well, kind of. He's so small that I have to have tension on the leash at all times for him not to be able to pull, any slack and he can pull without the Gentle Leader applying the pressure it needs to pull him back :\

Suggestions?
 

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1> For now, don't allow him to greet people or other dogs you might meet by chance.

2> In a controlled environment, teach him the behavior you want him to do. ie: proper greeting / sit calmly to accept petting if that's your goal.

3> As a separate exercise, practice loose leash walking WITH DISTRACTIONS. To begin, use a high rate of reinforcement for remaining in heel position, and pay even more lavishly (jackpot) for ignoring each and every distraction.

I'm in agreement with your trainer that the GL will only work when it's on, if you're using it as the sole means of prevention. The key really lies in teaching your dog the positive behavior(s) you're expecting. Like the old saying, it's much more effective to reinforce what you DO want rather than punish what you don't.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
1> For now, don't allow him to greet people or other dogs.

2> In a controlled environment, teach him the behavior you want him to do. ie: proper greeting / sit calmly to accept petting if that's your goal.

3> As a separate exercise, practice loose leash walking WITH DISTRACTIONS. To begin, use a high rate of reinforcement for remaining in heel position, and pay even more lavishly (jackpot) for ignoring each and every distraction.

I'm in agreement with your trainer that the GL will only work when it's on if you're using it as the sole means of prevention. The key really lies in teaching your dog the positive behavior(s) you're expecting. Like the old saying, it's much more effective to reinforce what you DO want rather than punish what you don't.
1. Thankfully keeping him away from people is easy since my community is pretty dead when I take him out on walks. And dogs he won't greet, he isn't particularly aggressive or anything just ignores them, doesn't seem to be interested in dogs at all.

2. The greeting training I've tried by myself and with my fiancé in my home and in the training center. We try to tell him to sit, stay and then have a person approach him and if he gets up the person turns around until I sit him back down. The goal is for a person to be able to walk up to me, say hi to me, pet him and walk away, all with him staying calm and sitting. I have never been able to let a person take a single step towards me, he gets too excited.

3. My trainer also told me to do this, the loose leash walking with distractions and to use the treats he loves the most just for that. He told me to not even concentrate on the heeling, to just concentrate on rewarding his whole attention to me first, give treats when he ignores distractions. THEN when I get by THAT step, try the heeling. But I have never been able to give him a single treat, he won't ignore other things, ever. I've been trying for two months ;( It's why the GL came to discussion. With the other, larger dogs, they just have them have the treat in front of them and walk forward, giving them rewards for keeping that position, but that's really hard to do with a 5lb dog.

What's even harder is that the trainer can't really teach me with my own dog, he can't get him to calm down. I'm the only person that can calm him down (HIS definition of calm is sitting down for 10 seconds). The moment my trainer speaks, moves or does anything, he goes crazy trying to jump on him, even when the trainer ignores him.
 

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In a way, it's far better for a dog to be exuberant and energetic compared to being fearful and reserved. "Overly social" is a good problem to have. Well, sort of.

2. Then don't have the person approach. Have them simply stand at a distance, and you pay. It's a starting point. Close the distance gradually over time, while continuing to reinforce. Eye contact from the helper, or lack thereof, can play a major role. Make sure to have them avert their gaze.

3. Again, create more distance. And again I agree with your trainer to separate the attention from the 'movement'. Practice attention statically. You're going to need to build it up, WAY UP, at that level before adding in the motion. I also understand what it's like to have a small dog, personally. Mine are about ankle high, and I'm not much of a contortionist myself, lol. Viable and practical techniques are much different than for larger dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
In a way, it's far better for a dog to be exuberant and energetic compared to being fearful and reserved. "Overly social" is a good problem to have. Well, sort of.

2. Then don't have the person approach. Have them simply stand at a distance, and you pay. It's a starting point. Close the distance gradually over time, while continuing to reinforce. Eye contact from the helper, or lack thereof, can play a major role. Make sure to have them avert their gaze.

3. Again, create more distance. And again I agree with your trainer to separate the attention from the 'movement'. Practice attention statically. You're going to need to build it up, WAY UP, at that level before adding in the motion. I also understand what it's like to have a small dog, personally. Mine are about ankle high, and I'm not much of a contortionist myself, lol. Viable and practical techniques are much different than for larger dogs.
I've never thought about just rewarding his attention to me when people are just nearby, that's a good idea. I think that would be a good starting point because I disappear when people are nearby, he forgets I'm there! So I guess step one is rewarding him for paying attention to me when people are nearby!
 

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The trainer needs to start working this from further away and make much smaller movements. If puppy can behave when back is to him at 10 paces but starts jumping when faces puppy then try turning only a quarter turn. If a step forward is too much then move an inch.

Try a waist leash. Try a shoulder sling lead. Both free up both hands.


Ginger is naturally good at paying attention to me, Bucky is horrible. As we walk I watch him and mark and reward any check ins. When either dog goes into that deaf zone of sniffing or staring I stop and wait. They finish whatever was so fascinating and look at me. I shuffle back a bit so they come to my side and wait for attention then onward we go. At first B spent at least twice the time looking around as walking, now it's the other way around but much improvement is needed.
 

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I've never thought about just rewarding his attention to me when people are just nearby, that's a good idea. I think that would be a good starting point because I disappear when people are nearby, he forgets I'm there! So I guess step one is rewarding him for paying attention to me when people are nearby!
I worked with a trainer last week about exactly that. New people are a good thing, but the reward comes from appropriate behaviour towards them, then a check in with me. This was all up close on leash, like 'sniff the person' then look/come to me for a treat. You could probably do the same for just looking at a person calmly and then at you.
 

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How big is Leo? Have you tried an H-style harness clipped to the FRONT? He looks like a pom from the small photo and this may help limit the pulling like the gentle leader, but not be as invasive as a halter.

I do recommend the gentle leader for some dogs and have especially see it be a life saver for giant breeds like Danes and Newfies. But like any tool, it needs to be fitted and used correctly.
 
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