I think I need a pep talk here. Ender pulls... and OWWW!! it's starting to really do a number on my shoulder (not normal walking/pulling but when he sees something/someone and pulls like heck, sometimes unexpectedly)
I know we haven't been consistent. Too many times we are "walking to get somewhere" and I simply don't have the time to "be a tree" or "walk the opposite direction."
So... this weekend I tried REALLY HARD to be 100% on this... in fact, I was meeting someone in the park and basically said "well I'm leaving right now but it could take us 15-30 to make it there" (normally takes 5-10) He did better... a little bit.
I really want Ender to learn not to pull on the leash... with his regular flat buckle collar (I really don't want to use a training collar unless absolutely necessary... not that they are bad... I just want to succeed in this without resorting to that since in the end... I don't want to use it if I don't have to for the rest of his life)... anyways... I can try to allways plan ahead and get places early so if it takes us 10 minutes to walk 30 feet from the car to training class... so be it. That's just something we will have to commit to.
And here's where it really gets confusing... I've read or been trained on several training methods for this and I have no idea which to do which is probably confusing Ender more 'cause I'm switching "consequences" for pulling.
The trainer has a "pay attention to me" exercise where you basically put him on a leash... hold the handle of the leash with both hands at your stomach and start walking... if the dog isn't paying attention and is going in another direction, you immediately walk in the opposite direction and keep going while he's paying attention to you... as soon as he wanders or stops paying attention you turn around and go into the opposite direction... this is all without ANY verbal praise/correction.
There is the whole tree thing... which when I do that he comes right back to me... if I stand there long enough he'll sit, I say "ok" and start moving and he charges ahead to the end of the leash....
"No Pull" I find myself saying this AFTER he's pulling but there was an exercise where you said it right BEFORE the leash goes taught, then you give a little jerk and walk in the other direction. This really doesn't do ANYTHING for Ender because when we are walking in the "wrong" direction (i.e. away from the park or wherever we are going) he KNOWS this and walks right behind me waiting for me to turn around and go the "right" way... which of course then he charges ahead.
He's 5 months old and 43 lbs allready... if there is ONE THING I teach him, it's got to be this... it's my #1 priority right now. So here are my questions...
What ARE you supposed to do when he sees something like a rabbit or his friend Lucy and he just won't listen to ANYTHING or CARE that I'm pulling on the leash HARD... cause HE MUST CHASE THE RABBIT or HE MUST GREET THE FRIEND? Unfortunately Amy, Lucy's mom, and I tend to, either one or the other, allow our dog to go charging towards the leashed one to say Hi... I don't know what we should do to curb this... should we really gradually walk towards each other and not move forward unless the dogs are walking calmly? Is that even a good expectation for two 5 month old "best friends"?
Praise... verbal or treats? I really hesitate to use treats... I don't know why... perhaps someone can shed some light on how/why treats are a good idea when first learning. I just don't want those treats to ALLWAYS have to be there. Verbal... I'd say 50% of the time Ender DOES slow down and walk relatively better when I'm giving him constant verbal praise... then it's like "Ok... mom loves me... NOW LET'S GO!!!"
Be a tree? vs. Walk in the opposite direction?
"tugging" on the leash... how much "tug" should I be doing to get Ender's attention?... just a quick pop does nothing when the leash is allready taut... not to mention I can't do it without really winding it up, which makes the tug harsher than I think is right... it's either too little or too much.
When I walk in the opposite direction I usually have to pull him a few feet first... I hate this and feel like I'm pulling him around by his neck all the time.
Ok... I know this was long and rambly... I hope someone can make sense of it. If I could take a class that was 100% leash walking I would. I have half a mind to ask our trainer if she would do some one on one with us at our home IN our neighborhood.
Walking on a leash is the baine of our existance. We are using a sensation harness at the moment which seems to be working for J but not A, so I think we will switch to a gentle leader for her. I know it must be possible for a lab to walk on a loose leash with a buckle collar, but I can't seem to accomplish it myself. I also have tried the standing still aproach, and Aly just runs around me in circles until we are both a tangled mess! I know that in theory the way to do it is to walk very fast with a treat at your side and have the dog follow the treat, but I just can't walk fast enough to keep them from running around me, attacking the treat in my hand!
I'm Jenn. Keeper of two labs in my home and one forever in my heart.
Throw the ball, damn it!
I can't imagine trying to train a dog to do ANYTHING without talking to them. We tell our students that, when working on HEEL, the neighbors are going to think they're insane from all the talking to the dog.
The idea is to clue them into your voice, so that they know when you're happy (and continue doing said behavior) and when you're not (and they stop said behavior).
It takes a LOT of time, though, for them to get the signals.
Chasing after a rabbit/person - Would WATCH ME work, to break Ender's attention on whatever he's pulling after?? It's worth a try.
FWIW, a training collar may be your answer. The ZINGING of a training collar (when it's properly on, it releases immediately) right behind the ears alerts the dog that something's amiss. They then need the verbal correction from you: "What are you doing all the way out there? Heel is HERE, silly! C'mon around. That's it. Okay, here we go...." You can get the same effect with a buckle collar, but it's going to take a lot more time and work. But I understand you not wanting to change your regimen and try a new collar; I'm the same way w/treats. Say what you will about their success, I will NOT treat-train. I know it makes the road rockier, but it's my choice for my dog.......
I used to use a totally obnoxious sound when Wesley was getting ready to yank like a tank: AAAHHHHHHT. Can't type it. But it was a gutteral form of Uh-Uh, all stretched out. Like I was clearing my throat, but not exactly..... If noting else, it got the point across that I was not happy and that he better change his course ASAP.
It takes time and patience. Good luck!
Maybe it's because I got Billie at 18 months but the pinch collar is invaluable for me. I don't ever yank on her with it, it's a short pop and a HEEL. She knows that when I put it on, we're going to work (which is why she moves her head away when I want to put it on - it's no foolin around time). I took her to the lake this weekend for a swim, and used the harness and a 20 foot line, and I'm telling you, my shoulders feel like they've been pulled out of their sockets. Having a 65 pound dog run full force and hit the end of that line is no fun, but then we were there to play so I couldn't exactly say no or keep her in a heel position all the time.
If you try the pinch collar for a while, until he knows that the busting loose is not acceptable I think you'd probably be in good shape - I know your arms will be much happier. Short of that, you could try the gentle leader. The whole "where the nose goes, the body follows" thing works with horses, but I don't know as much about dogs yet.
BTW, I don't do treat training either unless we're learning a trick - because I don't want her so focused on the treat or my hand. Regular obedience stuff I want her to work on verbal praise alone. And if Ender is really into your voice AAAAAAAAAHHHHHTT can really get his attention. I don't know if your mom or dad ever had a uh-oh noise that they made to you as a kid when you did something you weren't supposed to but this is the doggy version, and pardon the graphic nature, is kind of like when someone is hocking a loogie, only more gutteral and minus the production...(ugh I know but it's the only way I can think of to describe it).
I love these descriptions of that YOU'RE IN TROUBLE - QUIT IT noise that we all seem to have perfected!
Yes, a pinch collar -- when properly used -- can solve a ton of problems, but I didn't suggest it, thinking that if Ender's Mom was hesitant to use a training collar, she wouldn't be interested in a pinch, either.
If I was wrong, then, okay, YES!! - if the training collar doesn't get the desired results, a pinch can be invaluable.
I'm very pro-treat, especially when training my dogs to do something. Once they know it, you can easily phase the treats out...although I choose not to phase them out completely. The key is being able to stretch out the time between the "bridge word" (yes, good) and the reward.
I've had good luck in combining my attention commands ("watch" or "look") with loose leash walking.
If you don't want Ender and Lucy charging at eachother when they're 70+ lbs, don't let them do it now
Umm we went over dog to dog greeting in training class. My trainer basically said to be a tree and wait for the dog to give up and then ask him to sit* and then give him a verbal cue like ok or let's visit and then take a step towards the other dog. If he pulls again be a tree. It's a pain I know but it worked for Buck. He has gotten a lot better about greeting other dogs. You just have to make sure the other dog owner doesn't move either.
You can also practice not pulling in another way that was recommended to us. Have someone place a yummy treat or his meal about 10 feet or so away. Make sure ender sees it. When he tries to pull and dart towards it. You stop and become the tree. Wait for him to settle or ask him to sit. When he does this give your cue...and then try to walk towards the food. If he pulls you stop. Oh you can also have someone he wants to go up to see and greet for this.
Buck has become (knock on wood) very good about not pulling ahead when we walk...not saying he never does it but the frequency has gotten really low. During our walks I didn't make the distance or the park the goal. I made the amount of time spent walking the goal. There were days when I spent 30 mins with him and we only ended up about 20 yards from the end of our driveway.
When Buck wants to go sniff around or sees something of interest and tries to pull that way I just stop ask him to sit and when he does I say ok...let's visit and if he walks nicely he gets to go otherwise we just stand there. I give him about 30secs - 1min to sniff around and then I say ENOUGH!...Buck Walk! and he leaves the stuff and walks along...
And like dweck said you have to talk to them. Even if it is nonsense. When I walk with Buck I just chatter away in a high pitched voice about anything and everything with GOOD BOY BUCK! GREAT JOB BUCK thrown in the mix. I also occassionaly pop him a treat for paying attention to me and walking by my side. I know I probably look ridiculous but hey! my pup walks on a regular collar and leash and not a prong collar which many of my neighbors use.
Hope this helps atleast some what...
<3 01/01/2006-03/18/2017 <3
About the not talking... our trainer is VERY pro talking to the dog... it is just that one exercise where she recommended NOT talking to the dog... it's very much an "in the yard" type of training... it's more of a "see? there is a leash attached to you that is attached to me and since I am in control you need to pay attention to me and where I am going" kind of thing.
Training collars... for me it's not that they are cruel to the dog or whatever... it's that I don't want to RESORT to that quite yet. Perhaps I'm doing a disservice to Ender and our training but I can't help think that ANY collar requires consistent and proper use of it and seeing as I can't seem to find a consistent way on a flat buckle collar... I need to work on my OWN consistency before I decide that isn't working and we need to try something else.
Harnesses... Lucy has a body harness that clips in the front and while it appears to work for them when walking... it also seems kind of restrictive (I have YET to see Lucy to an all out butt tuck WITH the harness on) and a *BITCH* to take on and off.
Ok... I'm going to re-read all your posts again now... ;D
Yeah you just have to pick a method and stick by it. Takes time to see any results though so you can't give up too soon I guess. I have been working by the method I mentioned for a while. Since I brought Buck home. His breeder suggested the tree method and since we didnt have any kind of fence when he first came home I'd always have to take him out on his leash and I never let him pull. Even then like I said before he is no where near perfect but does a lot better than a lot of pups around.
So, Ender can definitely do it! He's one smart little guy ;D
<3 01/01/2006-03/18/2017 <3
Yup... that's what we have to do... pick a method and GO FOR IT. I think I'm going to pick one... and just do a whole week and see if I see any improvement... (which if I don't I will start to think Ender isn't as smart as I think he is... no WAY that is going to happen)