Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

Help Needed! How to stop the pulling?

BernerLver
November 15th, 2005, 11:47 AM
I have a 1.5 year old male Bernese Mountain dog who has a problem with pulling while on walks. He's not too bad when we are out by ourselves with a flat buckle collar but as soon as he sees someone he knows or another dog he gets very excited and becomes too much for me to control.

We used a GL with him when he was a puppy but due to circumstances beyond our control (we were living with in-laws while our house was being built) not everyone walked him with the GL so the consistency went out the window and he never got used to it.

Once we moved into our new house we didn't have a backyard with grass so we walked him frequently so he could go to the bathroom. Well he spent so much time fighting to get the GL off that he wouldn't go to the bathroom and being the first time owners that we were, we were concerned that not going to the bathroom would make him ill. Also he wouldn't walk he would find the nearest patch of grass and roll around and not get up trying to get the GL off.

So now here we are many months later looking to add another Berner to our house and wanting to correct this problem prior to that.

I would love any suggestions anyone has to get him used to the GL (or any other tool we could use that would solve the problem)

jessi76
November 15th, 2005, 01:31 PM
I would love any suggestions anyone has to get him used to the GL (or any other tool we could use that would solve the problem)

tools are great, but tools alone do not solve problems. I think they work best in addition to training. My dog (MUCH smaller than a BMD) still pulls when he sees other dogs, but I immediately STOP WALKING. My dog is learning that pulling makes the walking stop, and he doesn't get any closer to what he's pulling towards. When he stops pulling, we resume walking. our walks are quite funny to watch... walk, stop, wait, walk, stop, wait, (still pulling) oops go backwards, ok forwards again, stop, wait, and so on. I make sure to treat and/or praise OFTEN when he's walking politely on leash. It takes time, lots of practice, and consistancy - but it does help. My dog's leash manners have improved.

I use an EASY WALK harness in addition to the training I tried to describe above. It's made by the same company who makes the gentle leader.

tenderfoot
November 15th, 2005, 02:08 PM
Your pup has learned that pulling gets him where he wants to go. Every step you take in the direction he pulls - teaches him that he has to pull his human everywhere, and that he is taking you for a walk.
Gimmicks typically don't teach. They might give you a sense of security in the moment but as you have learned its not long lasting.
It is better to take 30 minutes and work on walking manners than to go 30 mintues being pulled around the block. He is learning some manners and getting even more exercise because his brain is working too.
There are several ways we teach heeling but the basics are he must never walk past your toe line. If he goes one step past that line he is leading you. So each time he tries it you can cut him off and turn into him, you can go quickly backwards 5 steps and then slowly forward (you might make more backward progress than forwards until he figures it out), you can stop - wait for him to calm down and look at you - then go forward, and you can change direction/speed every 2-5 steps so he has to start paying attention to what you want not what he wants.
You will look quite silly doing all of the above for the first few minutes but once he 'gets it' you will both look like champs.
Your desire to get him under control before you get another dog is right on. I would encourage you to wait until he matures a bit more and gets his heeling under control. Everything he does well he will teach to your new dog and everything he does poorly he will also teach to your new dog. So better to sharpen him up a bit before bringing in the new one.

PetFriendly
November 15th, 2005, 04:43 PM
You will look quite silly doing all of the above for the first few minutes but once he 'gets it' you will both look like champs.

The neighbours will quickly forget they thought you were certifiable once they've seen how beautifully the dog walks on a leash :p

tenderfoot
November 15th, 2005, 07:33 PM
Oh my gosh! Forgot to say that this is all on a loose leash. He isn't learning a thing if the leash is tight and you are simply holding him in position. A loose leash teaches - a tight leash controls.