Pulling!

Discussion in 'Labrador Training' started by Saffymouse, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Saffymouse

    Saffymouse Registered Users

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    Hello, I'm a newbie here & am hoping someone may be able to offer me some much needed advice.

    I'm the "parent" of a very lively, 7mth old chocolate lab called Loula, & our walks are becoming increasingly stressful. She pulls like a TRAIN, wants to run after every person & every dog, & her recall is rubbish.

    To alleviate the pulling I've tried the Halti; worked well, but she has snapped 2. I've also tried a Gencon; again it was quite helpful, but she sneakily chewed through the lead part when we weren't looking... I've also tried rewarding her positively (with food) for staying at my heel, but as soon as she's eaten the treat she just pulls again. Finally, I've also tried stopping dead, & also changing direction. Nothing is working long-term & I'm getting fed up. She's very strong & nearly pulls me over.

    Adding to my stress is the fact that if I dare to let her off the lead in a rural area she runs off when she spots a person or another dog, leading to other dog owners getting cross (she jumps up at them) & telling me I'm an irresponsible owner. I've been looking at some tips/methods for improving her recall, but need help from other owners who've been through it please!

    We can't take her anywhere as she just jumps up at everyone she meets.

    Thank you
     
  2. Naya

    Naya Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2013
    Messages:
    8,632
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    Hi and welcome to the forum :)
    Pulling I know a lot about unfortunately! My girl is now 3 and it is much better, but still not brilliant in new places. I will explain what I have done and hope it helps you a bit.
    I went back to basics - several times a day I would put Harleys head collar on and just walk up and down my road (only 10 houses so not far). I literally stream fed her treats for the first few sessions, slowly moving to every few steps, then at random times. After a week or so I moved to using a harness instead of the head collar and continued walking up and down my road. After a week or two, once she was walking nicely, we moved to the collar and lead. I used treats intermittently throughout all of the training.
    My next step was to walk down my street and around the corner and about 20ft up the road - again I went back to the head collar, then moved to the harness and after a week or so moved to collar and lead.
    I followed this process over a period of months and can now walk from my house to the local shops (10-15 min walk away) without any pulling. We can also walk to quite a few other local places with no problems.
    When I took Harley out for her walk/play I drove to the location rather than let her pull me.
    If I'm going somewhere new and I know she will get excited I take the headcollar with me, but try her on the harness first. She is getting better all the time.
    As for recall, you may need to go back to basics or maybe use a long line whilst re training recall. I changed my recall word when this happened to me - I brought a whistle which has helped a lot.
    Also, remember that she's close to/in the adolescent stage which can be very trying.
    Whereabouts do you live?
    I hope this has helped a bit.
     
    Cath, Emily_BabbelHund and Saffymouse like this.
  3. Saffymouse

    Saffymouse Registered Users

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    Thank you Naya, I'm in a village near Stratford upon Avon.

    What kind of head collar did you use? And in order to ensure she got sufficient exercise did you take her somewhere every day & let her off the lead, as well as your short walks near home?

    Xx
     
    BevE likes this.
  4. Jenny B

    Jenny B Registered Users

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2016
    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    Australia
    Have you thought about going to obedience training? I started that as soon as I could (first the puppy preschool at the vet then the puppy inside training at obedience and then when she could go outside the outside puppy classes). After having to retrain our older dog when we got him at 2yrs (30 kgs leaping at everything was not fun - good for upper arm muscle building not good for going for a nice walk and it took years to get him to be fairly good) I wasnt going to do the same with the puppy.

    Now puppy who is 7 months now didnt pull but has started to try and its been a few weeks since obedience trg ended for the year and she was desexed so nothing at all for over a week. So this week we've gone back to if she pulls we stop and she has to come back to heel (where the food is) - I only use a choke/check chain which is used to check just before she gets too far ahead. We have had to stop again the last couple of days due to the excessive temps but the weather will improve in a few days

    To start with she had to stay at heel with the food but as she learnt to walk slightly ahead as long as the lead was loose ish. Walking ahead is a privilege not a right. As for recall we are only up to a short on lead recall at the training so far - as letting them off seems common in other coutries have you considered some kind of long lead/lunge rope/etc so you can reel her back in if need be til she learns recall?
     
  5. edzbird

    edzbird Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2015
    Messages:
    3,530
    Location:
    Isle of Man
    You are describing Coco at 16 months (when we got him). I have Coco on a harness. I walked, as Naya describes, up & down our road treat streaming. Slowly extending the distance walked, not aiming to get anywhere, just to walk nicely. I would walk the same 50 yards for half an hour, stopping when the lead was tense. We can now walk reasonably well, but I still stop if the lead goes tense. It took MANY MONTHS of work. I ALWAYS take treats when we go out - every walk is training. We have had him for 16 months now.

    As for recall - I started this straight away using Pippa's book Total Recall - I cannot recommend it highly enough. Coco will still run off to dogs/people, I am avoiding those situations at present - he is very much work in progress. This week I recalled him from a group of Spaniels he was playing with :D

    The other thing that is helping us is group training. This exposes Coco to dogs & people in a more controlled environment.
     
  6. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2013
    Messages:
    22,884
    Try to look at this from the dog's point of view. Choking themselves on collars, or plodding along with their heads trussed up in a head collar is no fun whatsoever. And the amount of exercise they get from a 30 minute choke, dragging a human, isn't worth having - dogs are athletes, and walking at human pace doesn't give them a work out. So those nightmare lead walks are pointless anyway and if you can just quit doing them, it's best.

    If you can walk your dog somewhere off lead for exercise, and not walk her at all on lead unless you are training, that is really the best thing. Try to avoid times and places where there are a lot of other people and dogs.

    Think in terms of getting your dog to walk nicely for 1 or 2 minutes at first. This is about the length of time a young dog (who has learned to pull) can do. Choose a quiet place, and just aim to get a few steps of walking nicely. Then a few more, and a few more. Stay in the same place at first - new ground makes it more exciting.

    When you have your dog off lead, train an off lead heel - this helps significantly with a dog being able to walk along by your side on lead.

    There is an article here: http://www.thelabradorsite.com/how-to-stop-your-labrador-pulling-on-the-lead/
     
    Stacia likes this.
  7. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2014
    Messages:
    3,334
    I agree that the thing to do is train heel in very short bursts, with no distractions and treat-streaming to start with, while driving to safe off-lead areas. You might find it helps to join a class, as in a hall there are very few distractions so it gets your dog used to the process - though you still then have to practise in other areas. If you join a class doing the kennel club good citizen awards, the instructor should be training positively - not telling you to jerk your dog.

    As regards recall, the book Total Recall is a complete training programme and really works. Basically it involves associating the whistle with food, but the book takes you through the process step by step.
    I would also suggest activities with your dog to make her keener to stay with you. Take toys and play tug, fetch etc, or take up a more formal activity like agility, gun dog training or flyball.
     
  8. Naya

    Naya Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2013
    Messages:
    8,632
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    Yes, I took her for off lead walks every day and drove there to let her run off steam. We only did short 3/4 minute training sessions from our house each day. I use a K9 Bridle head collar as my dog walker introduced it to me as I can't have Harley pulling due to my spinal injuries.
     
  9. Pilatelover

    Pilatelover Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2015
    Messages:
    1,799
    Location:
    Coventry
    Hi @Saffymouse welcome to the forum, my girl will also pull like mad if given half the chance in fact I dropped my guard for 2 seconds this afternoon and she nearly pulled me over trying to chase a cat. I live 20 minutes from Stratford so if you fancy meeting up for a little moral support PM me and we can possibly work something out. :)
     
  10. Jenny B

    Jenny B Registered Users

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2016
    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    Australia
    Our dogs get around 30 mins on lead walks and its fine for them (it will extend out a little when I can take them both out together). We have designated areas to stop and sniff area and when we walk we are going dog trot pace. Puppy is better than older dog as sometimes we will run a short distance on the way home and practice quick stopping on the front yard on command. Never know when you need to run for a short distance and still pull the dog up once you want to stop (eg crossing a road and car comes around a bend).
     
  11. poppyholly

    poppyholly Registered Users

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2016
    Messages:
    22
    Hi Naya, I have just looked into purchasing a "K9 Bridle" how have you found it?
     
  12. Naya

    Naya Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2013
    Messages:
    8,632
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    I have found it really easy to use. Because it doesn't pull their head to the side I prefer it to some of the other head collars. I only use it for new places as I can't have her pulling due to spinal injuries.
     
  13. T Reischl

    T Reischl Registered Users

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2017
    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Leland, NC USA
    Not sure of those brand collars, harnesses since we live in the states?

    Murphy is a big boy at almost 100 lbs (45 kg). I am 6'4 and pushing 300 lbs and he can give me a run for the money. A friend recommended a harness that goes around his shoulders but has the attachment in the front, at his chest. Works very well! When he starts to pull it turns him and he stops.

    Interestingly, he knows which collar/harness he is wearing. If I take him out with a normal collar it is much more challenging, but if I have the other one, no problems.

    Murphy has never had any formal training. When we walk he is really good, if we come to a place where a decision needs to be made he looks back to get his clue. A simple point or "this way" works well.

    He gets LOTS of exercise. At least five times a day he is out running chases balls, pine cones, etc. The duration is at least 20 minutes and quite often as much as an hour (we are retired). He is fun to play with. While we are playing I keep a few treats in my pocket and will recall him when he is far away. He comes at a full gallop and sits right down. We never told him to sit, he just thinks it is a good idea.

    Anyhow, I am going to try to find some of those harnesses you folks are talking about so it is easier for me to understand what you are discussing.

    This forum is great!
     
  14. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2013
    Messages:
    22,884
    Before you do....those head collars e.g. the K9 Bridle work through punishment. They punish the dog for pulling by putting pressure on its face. The marketing blurb calls this 'gentle' 'like saying No' and stuff like that. But the fact of the matter is that they punish the dog for pulling and the presence of the head collar is then a threat of punishment, constantly for the dog.

    It's honest if people say 'I know this, and for X, Y, Z reason think that's best/necessary etc.' but it's dishonest to try to sugar coat how these things work. They work through punishment.
     
  15. Naya

    Naya Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2013
    Messages:
    8,632
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    I don't think I have sugar coated anything here. I have been honest in saying what worked for me and also have said twice that I have spinal injuries so can't have any her pulling.
    Some people have tried so much that they are at their wits end and sometimes need to use a tool for a short time to help change behaviours. I was very clear in stating i use it for short stints with lots of training.
    I have a Y front fleece harness which has been highly recommended on here - that can also be seen as punishment as the harness tightens on their chest if they pull. Harley pulled in it today (was spooked by a cat jumping over a wall) and it winded her, and a collar would choke her.
    I think we have to be realistic that not everyone manages to crack lead walking and sometimes need to look at alternatives to help short term.
     
  16. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2013
    Messages:
    22,884
    I didn't say that you sugar coated anything, indeed I made no reference to you at all. I don't care what you use on your dog - I do care that other people don't know how these things work, and I care enough to point that out. That's all.
     
  17. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2013
    Messages:
    22,884
    But that is really a daft thing to say. Because if the Y front harness really acted as a punishment, it would stop dogs pulling. Which it doesn't.
     
  18. T Reischl

    T Reischl Registered Users

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2017
    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Leland, NC USA
    Holy smokes!

    The chest harness I use with Murphy does not tighten at all. What happens is when he starts to pull it causes him to turn a bit. He cannot just take off straight away. We had the harness adjusted for him at the store. By the time we left the store, he had already figured out pulling was a thing of the past while wearing that harness.

    He is getting better and better with a normal collar as he gets used to the idea that he is not towing us around but going for a walk.

    I wanted to know what you folks were talking about, I had no intention of buying one of those head rigs.
     
  19. Dawn_Treader

    Dawn_Treader Registered Users

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2016
    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Hi Saffymouse, I am new in here, but I took the time to read every post about training and behavior. It was like reading 2 or 3 books. There are so many threads in here with wonderful tips. I think that what changed this behavior for me was increasing my value in my dog's eyes. Before I read all these posts, she was always trying to get away from me, and ignoring me. But now she wants to be with me and is less interested in other things and people and dogs. She always looks up at me with questioning eyes, like- Am I doing it right? or Is this what you want? I never knew that she wanted to please me. You can learn how to do this by catching up on all the old posts in here. I also give her time and freedom to sniff (self reward), then I expect her to move on and concentrate on me and our walk, but it takes patience. You wrote that you tried stopping- keep trying it, and keep doing it and doing it. Be patient. Praise and reward! Up your reward ante, make the rewards wonderful. Do not, please do not use force or an unkind harness. It will only make her distrust you, and try to get away from you even more. This is your dog's nature which you don't want to break, and she is still so young, and that is part of the package of owning a lab. So please don't give up on her or be disheartened. I never dreamed that the day would come when I would walk with a loose lead and be so relaxed and happy, and elbow pain free, but it has, so there is hope and smooth sailing ahead, but you have to work for it and put out! Whens she does finally walk calmly, you will be so proud and pleased. Good luck and keep us updated about your progress.
     
  20. DebzC

    DebzC Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Messages:
    410
    You could be our resident 'summariser' of the best bits! :D
     
    Dawn_Treader likes this.

Share This Page