Hello everyone... While DWECK has that excellent post on pinch collars, I'm hoping I can get some advice on what to do for Ender.
Here's where we are at currently.
Ender wears a nylon quick release collar and I have a nylon 6" leash
He's learning to "no pull" when he and I are walking normally, however as soon as there is another variable... i.e. another person, dog, bike rider, rollerblader or we are heading home... he starts pulling and doesn't seem to "get" that I'm just not going to go forward that fast and ends up choking himself on the collar. (not to mention his pull is not hurting me now... but he only weighs 30lbs... I know this will be a huge problem when he's 80-90 lbs... heck... it'll be a problem when he's 40!)
Here's what I'm trying to figure out.
I know I need a leather leash... to protect my hands as well as something more durable than the nylon (which is allready starting to fray from Ender's razor puppy teeth). I'm wondering if I should purchase a new collar to help me train him not to pull now. Part of me thinks that I should be more patient and perhaps try different training techniques before I start considering a choke or pinch collar.
I'm opposed to things like the gentle leader and martingale 'cause I don't want to start something that is too far away from the normal buckle collar he will wear eventually once he's fully trained. I'm hoping that through perseverance and JL SUPPORT AND HELP!!!... I won't be using a nasty prong collar when Ender is 4 yrs old and having him STILL PULL like my mom's lab, Apollo.
DUH me... forgot to add...
What length leather leash should I buy?
And... how should I teach him to walk nicely even with distractions? Treats?... Downstays?
OK...we've really got to work on that mindset. Prongs, slip collars, Gentle Leaders, martingales are all "tools", neither good nor evil. If you don't teach a dog not to pull when using the prong, he will still pull with the prong. If you don't teach him not to pull with a Gentle Leader, he will still pull with the GL. If you don't teach him not to pull when using the buckle collar, he will still pull with the buckle collar. The purpose of having all these "tools" in your bag of tricks is that some dogs respond to certain tools and training methods better than others. Some tools give you an edge you might not otherwise have had. It's your job to figure out which tools and which methods work for your particular dog.I won't be using a nasty prong collar when Ender is 4 yrs old and having him STILL PULL like my mom's lab, Apollo.
There is no reason to believe that just because you use a prong, you will never have him back on a buckle collar...unless you don't do your job properly. I've trained numerous dogs with lots of different collars. Once they learn their job they can be on any collar or no collar. The collar has nothing to do with the lesson but everything to do with the method of learning.
What you are describing in Ender's current behavior is very typical and its something you will experience with every new thing he learns. Dogs are situational learners. They don't generalize well. It takes lots of repetition in lots of different places/scenarios before the idea clicks. Learning something in the comfort of his own home is a totally different situation, as far as he is concerned, than learning it when kids are playing in the park, cars are whizzing past, and joggers are running by, etc. Those are called distractions and right now they are much more interesting to him than you are. First you must teach without distractions. Then you teach again with distractions. Bottomline is you have to become more interesting than anything else that is going on.
Right now you need to stop and do a 180 whenever he starts pulling. You need to resign yourself to the fact that those first "walks" probably won't even get you out of your driveway. You'll basically spend 20 minutes walking in circles. Don't worry. He'll eventually catch on that if he doesn't pull, you walk straight and he gets to see things. When he starts pulling, turn around again. If you are consistant, it will only take a couple of sessions for him to start catching on to how this game works.
Ender is still very young. I don't think you need to pull out the big guns just yet. If you do as I described above, you might be able to get results with the buckle collar. If not, then move to a martingale (which is actually a limited slip collar) or a slip collar. Still no results? Then go to a prong. You have to give it ample time to work though. Don't try a collar for 10 minutes then decide it isn't working.
I would also suggest that you sign up for an obedience class. The classes aren't so much for teaching the dog as they are for teaching you how to teach the dog. You will also need training in the proper use of any collar you choose to use. Training in person will be so much more valuable to you than anything we tell you over the internet.
I would suggest a 6' leather leash. It's long enough that you have room to work away from him when needed but short enough that you don't tangle up in the excess.
My experience is limited so I'll just share this: while at a kid-park one day, we encountered a dog that approached Toby very assertively, and Toby backed out of his buckle collar and ran, scaring the living $h!t out of me. It was not too loose, he grows so darn fast the thing is almost always a smidge too tight.
So we now have a "Good Dog" collar, which is like a softer version of a prong collar. It has links that break apart so you can grow it with your dog. It has also almost stopped him from pulling -- at the beginning of each walk he is pretty eager, but settles down after we establish our roles The only downside I see with this collar is that if you add too many links, it becomes weaker and could break apart if you had a sudden pull.
So I mention all of this because if we didn't need the corrective help of this prong version, I would have Toby in a Martingale when we are out on the street to keep him from escaping.
Thank you... that is pretty much what I thought and was trying to get at, althought I realize I wasn't clear. I was basicallyl double checking that I didn't need another training tool at this time but to keep working with him with a regular old collar.
Your advice was exactly what I was looking for and reassurance that so far, what he's doing is normal and we are "on the right track". I will definitely do the 180 thing because I hadn't been doing that before.
We are enrolled in a puppy obedience class that starts April 25th but the first one is without dogs so we won't actually get to work with a trainer til May 2.
Thanks Seattlemom... I will check that link out .
OT, how long are you walking Ender for? We only get about 15 minutes from CoCo and she's panting, so we don't get very far before its back to her water dish! Just a stroll up the street really. But I guess I shouldn't compare them, because she's only about half the size of Ender even if they are the same age!
We bought the Gentle Walker harness, but its slightly too large for CoCo so we haven't used it yet. I really like that it doesn't have anything around the neck, so can't do any damage if she pulls against it. It's also a training tool, and a few members here have had great success with it. I would hope that once *we* (CoCo and I and DH) are trained to walk properly on leash, we can graduate to a regular collar (a leather one of course!).
I'm glad you asked the question though, as I'm am very interested in what JL foks have to say about this!
~Jo & CoCo
Lydia said exactly what I was going to say. If you continue to walk and allow the pulling, they will continue to pull...no matter what device you are using.
I don't continue walking if there is pulling...thanfully I don't have to worry about that with Rider anymore....but my fosters usually all have to learn that.
Dani, Rider & Rookie
SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
SHR Endeavor Put Me In Coach, RN, WC, CGC
Member Since 6/2003
Well... remember that our "walk" usually involve a lot of stopping to chat with other dog owners who feel the need to give me tons of advice since I have a puppy... and we sometimes "hang out" at the park and watch the soccer/baseball players... soo it's more like 20-25 minutes and Ender IS thirsty. *Which is why I'm going to be buying one of those travel bowls to give him water as I want us to be outside as much as possible enjoying this LOVELY weather we are having right now.
Dani... thanks... I really just needed that "do a 180" or "stop walking"... this is kind of sort of what I do allready but probably not as consistently as I want. Especially when we are on the way home and I just want to GET home. I will work harder on this and just now, when I took him for a walk... he did EXCELLENT except right at the end... but there were two dogs he wanted to meet so I made him sit/stay for a while before moving forward.
With persistence and consistency, you can teach polite walking with a flat collar.
I used a regular nylon collar and a 6 foot leash with both my dogs, and they are both very good on leash (until they see a cat). I only used a gentle leader in high-stress situations, like busy streets or at the vet clinic, or if I didn't have time to train. Every time the dog pulled, I did "penalty yards" - backing up 30 feet or so and making the dog repeat.
I personally hate prong collars and will never use one...I use the martingale style collar all the time. Beau is a therapy dog and I think that in a therapy situation the martingale offers me the control I like over Beau...all that being said if I had not trained Beau in what I expect of him then no matter what collar I use he would not listen...be consistent and presistent never allow him to pull you...I would always start by wearing Beau out by playing ball or rollerblading and then begin to work with him on the leash I personally like to start them on a 4ft leash and then when they have mastered that then I move to the six foot leash.