My 1 year old lab retriever pulls all the time when we are walking and it's almost impossible to hold him back. We never really trained him walk loose leash as a puppy so I'm guessing this is why he still does it.
But because he pulls so much now, we're thinking of getting a prong collar to control him more effectively.
1) Would this solve the problem?
2) If not, what can we do to solve it?
3) How can we get him to ignore other dogs, people, or distractions while on a walk?
a prong collar doesnt solve the problem. teach him to loose leash walk. when he starts to pull turn around and walk the other way. keep doing that. eventually he will learn to walk nicely. takes time and training
Prongs and choke chains damage the dog and don't aid training.
It is going to take a lot of time and patience to turn this around but will be well worth it. Another way would be to come to a stop every time that the dog's nose goes in front of your legs, then put him in a sit before you give him the command to walk. rinse repeat - possibly 20 to 30 times but he will eventually "get it"
teaching him to ignore other dogs is a little more difficult and again will require a lot of input from anybody and everybody who walks him. Carry some high value treats with you and as soon as you see a distraction ahead, put him in a sit with his back to the distraction and offer the treat to keep his attention on you and you alone.
Both of these will require dedication from you and your family if you are to succeed.
Dogs are never too old to go to training classes which would perhaps help you as well.
Colin has given some good advice. As he says they are never too old to learn to walk without pulling. Erns Gems and Tess were horrible at first.
There are various methods so work out what works for you and your dog. It takes time and miles of patience. I used high value treats to distract them. Still do in a new area I think they might get a bit silly.
Erns was 3.5 when I adopted him and we didn't make it to the end of the street for about 3 months. The constant stop and turn when he pulled we almost walked in circles. He is great now.
Gemma I used the wet dry noodle method. As soon as the lead goes tight stand still like a tree and make them come back to you. Walk with the lead like a wet noodle, then stop when it gets tight.
Tessa was 5 when I got her and never been on a lead. She has been a bit slow to learn so we go out twice a day.
As I just talked about in my post yesterday I could not get my 7mo to walk loose leash. He pulled so hard it hurt my elbows. We got a Gentle Leader yesterday and it was an amazing change! Walked around the store with not a single pull then came home and walked in the evening without pulling. Everyone will tell you they don't always work. But the trick with loose leash walking is practice practice no matter what method you choose, but def choose a method.
Buddy Black Lab
Moo Black Lab Bassett
CJ Yellow lab "the baby"l
A prong might be a valuable aid in addressing the symptom, but not the cause. The cause is lack of training. Training is still possible but it takes a degree of time and committment. Not everyone is able to do that but I much prefer training myself. My dog no longer needs his prong, which was only needed in a few situations, never for the whole walk.
The prong did not help us learn to ignore distractions. Control against reacting to them, yes, most times, but not to ignore them. To ignore distractions I found Leslie McDevitt's book, "Control Unleashed" to be a godsend. It's aimed at sports dogs but it's applications are wide ranging and you might find it helps you tremendously. I did. Oh my gosh, this is training. LOL
There has already been good advice on loose leash walking. In order to get your dog to act better around distractions like other dogs you will need to work boundaries. Approach another dog with your dog and take note of when they lose control. After you have the "boundary" distance set work with your dog just outside the boundary and slowly get closer. Always begin and end your training sessions at a distance your dog can handle and don't push your dog to hard.
As for prong collars, used right, they are a valuable training tool. A good rule of thumb is to train new concepts without a training collar, but with high value treats. Once your dog has mastered or nearly mastered a concept then there are cases where a prong collar can come in handy. For instance, when I was training for my dogs CGC my dog would lick people who would examine her or great her. When she was in a normal collar she would just ignore my tug. I then changed to a prong collar and a slight tug was noticed and respected.