Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

Help - Stop the Leash Tug O' War

mummummum
December 9th, 2005, 09:55 PM
Hi all - I walk 2 of my 3 dawgs at a time and my one grrrl has leash-grabbing issues which are driving me batty. I can't walk her on her own as my other grrrl (her sister) HATES their new brother. She grabs her leash a few inches from the buckle of her Gentle Leader or Martingayle collar, growls, shakes it and PULLLLLLS. As a puppy she only did this when crossing the road but now it's become an all-round passive-aggressive behaviour to a/ bait her sister into "playing" (which frequently turns into a fight) b/ express her dislike with where we're going c/ bait me into playing d/ plain ol' TICK ME OFF. She is very strong, has pulled us into traffic and will generally not stop doing it on a verbal command. Sometimes, if I am in a place where we can do this I will drop her lead, tell her to sit and "get it out of your mouth". Most often she will, but sometimes she is so worked up I have to physically hold her for a minute telling her to settle. And sometimes, she just does it over and over and over again. None of the bitter apple, hot sauce stuff on the leash phased her a bit. The funny thing is - she is generally very timid and her feelings are hurt very easily. She will work for treats but not consistently - I can reward her for being a "good walking grrrl" and the next thing ya know, she's yanking my arm off. There is no way I can expand my walks to walking the three of them separately 5 x daily - any thoughts on ways to control this badness while walking two together ?

Lucky Rescue
December 9th, 2005, 10:30 PM
How old is this dog?

I think you're going to have to take her out alone to concentrate on this problem, which is dangerous for both of you. I"ve been pulled into oncoming traffic by a foster dog, and know it's scary!!

Take her alone, and as soon as she grabs the leash, just "be a tree". Stop dead, don't look at her or talk to her. Just stand there. With no resistance or drama, she should get confused and/or bored and let go the leash. As she's letting go, say "OUT!" then start walking immediately.The second she lets go, start walking.

Instead of saying "Get it out of your mouth" which is so long it gives her time to pull and bite, try teaching her a short and sharp command. I use "OUT!" which means "open your mouth and release whatever is in it".

If you keep walking while she bites the leash and pulls, even one step, then she has won and will continue. Dogs do only what works for them.

You may have to do this for awhile but she should catch on.

Your post is very funny, and I'm glad to see you haven't lost your sense of humour even in the face of such doggy naughtiness!:p

mummummum
December 9th, 2005, 11:30 PM
I'm funny? Thanks! As a 115 lb woman surrounded by 300++ lb's of DAWG with varying degrees of appalling to worse manners - a sense of humour and grrreat thighs are about all I have left!
I'm not sure I can manage a separate walk for her every day until her sister, The Bossy Cow learns to luv her brother ( I'm now walking an average of 6 -8 hours a day - NOT kidding) but, we'll aim for it even if only for a few minutes. The only problem with the "tree" thing - I've tried it - unless I'm actually hanging onto a tree she just pulls me across the park. And she's generally well-behaved and responsive when we are out on our own.
But, let's dare to dream and say we get the point where we can manage to FULLY control this when we are on our own - any suggestions on transitioning that control to when we are on a family outing?

Lucky Rescue
December 10th, 2005, 10:20 AM
Are we talking Mastiffs? Really, the size of the dog doesn't matter, as control is not a matter of brute force, but of training and attitude!

My dog is a 73lb pit bull, who can outmuscle me any day of the week and came to me as a puller of Olympic standard.:eek: Naturally I had to find other methods to rein her in.

Trying to train two dogs while walking is a very difficult task, as you've seen, since the whole mentality of the dogs change when there is a "pack."

To train your bad girl, you needn't go for 1 hour walks, in fact she should not go on real walks at all as long as she misbehaves since taking her out is rewarding her for this behavior.

I suggest obedience classes, to teach you how to train her. If that's not possible, then I suggest a prong collar to assist with your training. Get instruction on how to use it properly. It could make a huge difference!

SnowDancer
December 10th, 2005, 10:26 AM
Kindred spirit to my 22 lb. Eskimo with the strength of a really big Rotti. I have tried every training method possible - bottom line is he loves to chew his leash - will happily sit there and chew away. Sometimes he does it for fun and when he wants to play - uses me as a post as he runs in circles - he is never off leash with me. And he too has pulled me into the road. We are now on leash #17 (#13 is leather - won't let my husband use it and well most of chewing is done with him - but Eskie somehow senses not to do it). Hope you have better success than I have had - my pup is now 20 months. And, yes, he does understand he isn't supposed to chew the leash - and other things - Hoover that he is - he just can't resist - like a kid - or frankly and adult - who can't keep away from some treat that he/she has been told to specifically leave alone.

mummummum
December 10th, 2005, 10:42 AM
My grrrrls are 6 yr old Bernese Mtn Dog, Belgian Shep, Golden Retriever crosses and my new boy is a Newf/ Border Collie cross. Thanks for the encouragement! I have been very, very lax about concentrated training for her ALONE and her leash-pulling - her sister is almost always with her on walks and is The Bossy Cow. I guess I hoped she would grow out of it as she has some of her other undesirable traits and pick-up on / generalize the rewards (treats, praise) when is a "good walking grrrl". She just seems so single-minded when she wants to do this, it's like she can't get out of this aggressive mind-set until I physically intervene. I can't figure out what the "reward" in it is for her as it always ends badly either between her and her sister or her and me or her, her sister and me. Luckily - she doesn't chew the leash - just grabs and pulllllls. I think you are right about the solo walking and training. Who needs sleep anyway?:crazy:

Melinda
December 10th, 2005, 10:47 AM
have you tried using a metal chain leash?? Dogs hate grabbing those, my pup lab/shepherd grabs her leash all the time during walks, unless I use the metal leash.

mummummum
December 10th, 2005, 11:26 AM
Not regularly, we've borrowed one on a visit occasionally but, I haven't used a chain leash at home - I was afraid she would get a tooth caught (while beautiful she is not alas, MENSA-material). Anything is worth a go - next paycheque ! Thanks for the suggestion.

Lucky Rescue
December 10th, 2005, 11:43 AM
A chain leash might be fine for dogs who don't pull, or who are small, but if you need to reel your big girl in, your hands are going to take a severe beating!

jawert1
December 10th, 2005, 08:34 PM
I've actually used an old lead rope with a longer length of chain - my horse was a 17.3 Warmblood with a slight temper - to start training with Peaches since she did the same thing. And she wasn't Mensa material either (I died laughing at that!). Since the chain was long, but still had nylon lead material attached, my hands didn't get brutalized at all and after rubbing the chain with bitter apple, she stopped that fast. Now if there's a bunny around, nothing's gonna stop her from taking me across the golf course - if not her, then my pointer, but most places like PetSmart will have horse equipment and I found it to be an alternative to the prong collar and she didn't like chewing on em after that :) Good luck!