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Need some help with leash training

April 7th, 2005, 07:56 AM
I've been trying to teach my 15 mo pitbull how to walk properly on a leash. I used to use a pinch collar but I'm trying to get away from that now. She's not doing too bad just walking down the street now, she sometimes pulls a bit and I will say "easy" and if she doesn't respond I'll come to a dead stop and say "easy" again and she will stop pulling then. But the real problem is when other people come walking by (dogs too can be a distraction but usually she's not too bad if they are tied on in their yard or in a fence). As soon as she sees someone she is desperate to get over to them (in a friendly way). Yesterday she was up on her two back paws lunging towards this woman who was walking by and it took all my strength to hold onto her. Or if someone is walking ahead of us she'll be pulling all the time to try to get up to them unless I stop and let them get way ahead. Even if I use the pinch collar she will sometimes not respond at all, she went after a dog who was on the loose in the middle of the road and I had the collar on choke and pinch and she was still right up at the end of it trying to get to the dog till we got past it. Sometimes I can make her sit and stay when a person comes along (with some reluctance and repeated commands) but as soon as I release her from the stay she will be pulling again unless they are gone. I'm not sure how to correct this or work on it.

April 7th, 2005, 10:54 AM
You can use something called a gentle leader or halti. It looks like a muzzle and it keeps the dog from pulling or wandering away from you. If the dog tries to pull, the muzzle turns her head back towards you and she stops.

April 7th, 2005, 10:55 AM
I have the same problem. I have Gabby sit and I step on her leash (leaving a little slack) whenever the occasional person or dog walks by so she can't jump up. However, if there are a lot of people she will usually ignore them after the first couple. Other than that I just try to get her to focus on me instead of the distraction...sometimes it works, other times not so much.

I would also be interested in other's techniques.

April 7th, 2005, 02:28 PM
I've tried the gentle leader and she absolutely hates it because her nose is short enough that she can see it all the time because it has to be so tight to keep it from coming off her nose. I may try it again just to see if she reacts any differently now becuase she was a puppy when I tried it first. We left it on her for an entire day and she whined and scraped at it all day, it was just so pitiful. I usually try to make her sit and stay or just keep walking briskly when a person is coming towards us, but the real problem is when they are standing there on the road and as we come closer she's pulling more and more and we have to walk right past them. There was a crowd of kids on the road just a few minutes ago when I took her for the walk and I couldn't physically get her away from them because they were coming towards her to pet her and I didn't want to trip them up in the leash or anything. They all petted her and thought she was great and she as usual was thrilled to see them (I kept a very tight leash to make sure she wouldn't jump up). But if somehow she did jump up on a child or tripped them up in the leash on accident I can't help but think that people would twist it to make it appear that she attacked the child just because she's a pitbull, especially since small kids are running around here on the street a lot with no adult supervision and it would be my word against their kids word. At least I can be thankful that she has no agression whatsoever towards people.

April 7th, 2005, 04:17 PM
I'm just going to keep doing the same thing figuring she'll eventually figure it out. Even though Gabby still gets excited around people and dogs, she is TONS better than when we first got her, so the techniques are working. Patience! :D

April 7th, 2005, 04:19 PM
I would suggest the same thing Gpripenfelter suggested a gentle leader, I tried it when my pitty was younger and it just didn't work, she would try to tkae it off, I started using it a while ago, she tried to take it off the first few days we went for a walk , but she got used to it and I LOVE IT. I t really gives me so much control over her. I would not leave it on, at home for the whole day, but just give it time, he will get used to it, I also gave her a treat when she would walk without trying to take it off.

April 8th, 2005, 06:12 AM
I would like to be able to get away from using any special collars for her, I know it will take training but I'm willing to do it, if I just knew what to do.

April 8th, 2005, 10:25 AM
My dog was similar in that he always wanted to run up to people and jump on them. I still don't trust him to completly ignore passerbys so I have a few different methods to pass people.

One is where I pull off the path and make him sit/stay until the person has passed. I praise him and they are walking by and keep all his attention on me.

Or I go to the left side of the path so I'm between him and the person he wants to look at (I call him into heel position and shorten the lead).

And if there's a person walking slowly away from us, and Ky is wanting to pull (or ay time he's pulling), I'll turn around and go the other direction. After about 10 metres, I'll turn around and walk forward again. He pulls and I turn around and walk back. And so forth. Either he gets the idea, the person walks off far enough, or we go another route.

If your dog doesn't know how to heel, teaching that command would really help.

I use a partial slip collar. I got it in preperation for a choke collar, then discovered it works fine on its own and I didn't need a choke/prong collar after all.

I can't see your dog ever getting over her attention for strangers when they giver her attention for acting this way. Either don't let people touch her, or ask them to wait while you put her into a sit/stay. You'll probably have to hold her there for the first while, but eventually she'll get the idea that people can only pet her when she's sitting pretty.

It's difficult when the dog is so strong (and knows it). It's hard to unteach that knowledge (ie my dog was never allowed to outpull me so he doesn't even know if he could so he doesn't try) so you might need to get a specilty collar or another training aid so these methods will work.

sitka and syl
April 8th, 2005, 11:07 AM
i have the same issue with my shepherd mix. i adoped her last week from a farm, & although she's a very good girl indoors, she pulls like a maniac. i honestly don't think she's ever been on a leash before. she's very tall & very long, so when she pulls, it takes all my strength to hold her back.

a friend of mine, who trains race horses, gave me some movement tips. hold the leash 1/4 way from the collar, give her lead, pull her back, give her lead, pull her back.. etc. this will create a steady rythm, & eventually the dog will slow down. this will also eliminate the need for a choker chain. we're progressing every day.. but i still get the daily "who's taking whom for a walk!?" on the street :P

April 8th, 2005, 01:47 PM
I tried a new method the other day for general pulling (it doesn't work when distractions are involved) and it seemed to work well. What I did was as soon as she just started to make the leash taut I would slow down, and the more she pulled the more I would slow down, until finally if she pulled a lot I would come to a dead stop until the leash went slack again. I didn't use any commands. After a very short time she seemed to understand that she had to stay near me or she would slow herself down. This might work with people too but I feel kind of stupid coming to a dead stop in front of someone for no apparent reason. Maybe I should try it a few times with my husband or someone else in the yard. And yes I need to teach her the heel command - "heel" means come to my left side and sit, right?

April 8th, 2005, 03:17 PM
Learning to walk "nice" takes a long time. I use a gentle leader with Duke. I don't know where I would be without it. Now we can walk with a slack leash side by side. He has really come to understand that the aim is for him to walk where he is told and that neither one of us should have to pull or push. But this has taken over a year. Part of it is also maturity. Some things are just too exciting to resist for a young dog especially other dogs. I usually sit Duke, heal him and walk him by.
You absolutely have to get a handle on this now. He can't be jumping up or lunging at other people. You must use as much restraint as needed to ensure this doesn't happen. Try the gentle leader again. Few days in the house, praise and treats with it on. Then in house with the leash, praise and/or treats then take it outside.

April 8th, 2005, 03:22 PM
I would like to be able to get away from using any special collars for her, I know it will take training but I'm willing to do it, if I just knew what to do.

The special collar, the gentle leader, will give you the control you need WHILE training. You won't have to use it for life. It is a training tool. With maturity and training you should have a well behaved dog in time.

April 8th, 2005, 03:31 PM
A friend of mine had a german shepard that would go bonkers if another dog was on the street while she was walking him. She had pretty much quit walking him because he was tearing her arms out of the sockets. A dog trainer told her about the gentle leader and she absolutely swears by it! She saw the difference the very first time she tried it.

If you absolutely cannot get the gentle leader to work, I would try a different walking technique. If you hold the leash really tight and close to the collar, almost to the point of choking the dog, they cannot get any momentum to jump up or pull. Each time they try to pull or jump up, if you give a tug on the leash (which brings their head up even more) it gets their attention back on you. All of my dogs have been trained to walk with the tight leash technique (I have never, ever used a pinch collar - I've always thought they were cruel) and the heel command - which I don't use to mean sit by my side - I use it when I want them to walk right next to me with their head even with my leg. The only dog I had that this did not work for was a stray corgi mix who hated leashes in general, until I figured out that she just didn't like anything attached to her collar.

April 8th, 2005, 05:35 PM
I have heard some bad things about the gentle leader, for one thing, that the reason that it works is because it causes the dog pain as it is so tight right behind the ears where there are a lot of nerve endings. I don't want something that causes my dog pain all the time, I would rather use a pinch collar that only causes pain when the dog is misbehaving. I know the whole idea of the gentle leader is that it is better because it does not cause pain, but I begin to wonder if that's just a marketing scam to target people who think that pinch or choke collars are cruel. If the reason it works is because it controls the head then why does the collar part have to be so tight? I don't know. I'm kind of skeptical. There's also the issue of safety. If she took off while wearing a gentle leader there is a much greater risk of injury to her neck than if she was wearing a pinch collar, which at worst can only puncture her skin (which is still highly unlikely as the prongs are rounded) and would not cause any internal neck damage.

April 9th, 2005, 11:03 AM
This might work with people too but I feel kind of stupid coming to a dead stop in front of someone for no apparent reason. Maybe I should try it a few times with my husband or someone else in the yard. And yes I need to teach her the heel command - "heel" means come to my left side and sit, right?

Heel (strictly speaking) means for the dog to walk nicely on the left side, his head about even with your hip. I've never formally taught Ky the word 'heel' but I've always him know that I want him to walk to the left, even when he's in front. I did this simply so he wouldn't cross my path and trip me. He's taken it to heart now and always walks in front and slightly to the left of me. I'll train all my future dogs to do this, it's very useful. Especially when we go rollerblading.

And don't worry about what strangers think. It's more important to have a dog that will do what you need it to, even if you have to look a little silly while training it.

Another way I taught my dog not to pull, was, as soon as he started pulling, I stopped and made him come back to me and sit on my left (some people call this the 'ready' position).

Now a nice side effect is that whenever we're walking (even off leash) and I stop for some reason, he immediatly comes back to me and sits at my left. And stays there 'til I start moving again. That's another thing that comes in handy quite often. Every second time or so I just say 'good' but ocationally i give him a treat, to continually reinforce the behavior.

April 9th, 2005, 03:18 PM
She does good with walking on my left side, usually out front but I keep her leash at about 2 - 3 feet long so she's no further than that. The only time she attempts to walk somewhere other than on my left is when either there is a large puddle (that she's scared of, she hates water) or if a person or dog is there. I should teach her to come to my side and sit because sometimes that could come in handy, like if a car is coming or something.