August 3rd, 2007, 12:05 PM
we started out with a simple leash and collar. he was walked every time he went outside for the first 5 months here. we had a situation with our neighbor and chose to not walk him on a leash to go potty (i dont even want to go there).
we would take him for walks to the end of the drive way or in the side yard for practice but as he got older we had some issues with pulling. whatever was OVER THERE was way cooler than the same old boring walk with mom and dad. so we switched up his treats for each walk, varied his walks more... no go. i think some of it had to do with the fact he was getting large enough to physically be the boss. so we got the Gentle Leader Easy Walk Harness. pinches the chest together and turns them around. it worked for a month or two but when we graduated to the next size (and boy was he ready for it!!) he started using it as a pulling harness. we have had no success what so ever with distraction training.
so we picked up the Gentle Leader for the nose. the thing absolutely terrifies me. i adjusted it correctly (99.99% sure correctly), took almost 5 minutes to get the thing on it (he was so gullible!) but once i got it on and tightened so he couldnt pull it off he went ape. i got him to respond sort of to some freeze dried liver enough to snap on his leash. the movement to the door got his attention but only for a moment. of course the thing got him out the door easily enough. he waited for me but was still struggling with the GL. when i got him outside he would walk with me grudgingly (even with lots and lots and lots of yummy treats). we walked around quite a bit with lots of love and attention and tummy yummies. even still, each time i stopped he would thrash without hesitation. i could get him to sit or lay down or give me his attention if we werent moving. even when we WERE moving it was hard to get his attention. this time around there wasnt an opportunity to praise him for not tugging but there were good moments where he was walking with me (as in not totally struggling to get the thing off) of which i praised him for.
for those of you with dogs using GL for training or those whose dogs didnt take to it... were there any mistakes you made? things you wished you had done differently?? at what point do i toss in the towel? im afraid at this point that we are putting a horrible feeling with walking and training. i havent tried to get him in it a second time but i do not want to make any mistakes i will regret in a few months.
we have our first training class next wednesday. with as violent as a reaction we have had, will i be able to use the GL for his training classes next week? or is it pretty likely he will hurt me or himself with it regardless on how much we work with it?
is he just too young for training? i feel like im forcing him to do somethign he just doesnt ahve the attention span to pull off.
i told my husband last night that if this GL doesnt work Mister will become a home dog. period. we will use a vet that makes house calls.... no more trips out, maybe to try again when he is 3 or 4 years old.
August 3rd, 2007, 12:26 PM
Boy, sounds like you have your hands full...
consider this: when you first put a collar or leash on a pup, what do they do? Freeze, panic, roll around, try to paw it off, or run away from it. It's a new sensation, a weird one, and they don't like it, but they get used to it. It may just take some time with the GL...
Have you considered trying a prong collar for your big boy? Used properly, they're great for pullers (our gal had the drill figured out in one lesson with a trainer, it was a miracle!) You should have someone show you how to use it and put it on (high on the neck), though, because the dog should not be allowed to pull against it...it can't work properly that way. The idea is that you want them to NEVER EVER pull on the leash, no pressure at all, so as soon as they start to pull, you can correct without them strangling themselves on the collar or you breaking your arm trying to keep them in place.
Hopefully the training, and a good tool (collar, GL) will help get this stuff under control!
August 3rd, 2007, 12:29 PM
Are you using The Gentle Leader® Headcollar which goes over the dogs nose? Or are you using Gentle Leader® Easy Walk™ Harness?
We used a headcollar on our family dog (70lb german shepard / chow mix) who hated it. He would also pull on the leash and once this thing went on his nose he would spend so much time pulling it off! It never did work for us.
On our new dog, the teacher at our training class recommended a harness like the Easy Walk Harness since he pulled like crazy and pull hard enough to lift his front paws off the ground and stand straight up.
We did 2 things to help with the pulling. We had the harness adjusted correctly by the teacher (a good fit is crucial to these things working) and then we practiced walking in the house to a treat or toy across the room. Everytime he pulled, we said pull, and then stood still until he stopped pulling, and then took another step. It would take us 20 minutes to go across the room, but after a week inside doing this, and another week outside, he only pulls about 2 or 3 times when out on his walk. And when we say pull, he immediately stops if we have stopped. (the good thing about this is when crossing streets, we can say pull immediately and he will run like mad across the street with us)
The other thing is are you using a retractable leash? If so, try getting a fixed length one. The retractable ones let the dog control how far he is from you and encourages pulling - once he is walking properly, you can go back to it.
I hope that helps!
August 3rd, 2007, 12:36 PM
I use a head harness - not the GL though, I use the black dog head harness... as it's designed to not ride up into the eyes and irritate the dog.
that said, the way I did it w/ my trainer.....
put the harness on, immediately offer TONS of treats. I gave my dog a few handfulls of SMALL cut up hot dogs, cheese, and chicken. (high value) after the initial shock, and treat-fest, we started walking BRISKLY around the room. when i say briskly, I mean at such a good pace that the dog almost trots to keep up - so there is no time for fidgeting and trying to pull it off. just GO GO GO!!!!! once a pace is established - add the treats back in... GO! GO! GO! TREAT! GO! GO! be happy and walk fast .... yes, you will feel ridiculous.
the next step was to put the harness on at home, inside the house even if we weren't going anywhere. put it on, treat, praise, take it off. repeat often for a few days.
then make sure to use the harness often, and always keep it positive.
August 3rd, 2007, 12:37 PM
Ashley ~ you are not "da boss" ~ yet. No offense kiddo ~ you know that. You are doing a good job. Get thyself to the obedience training as planned and ask the trainer what s/he thinks is the best collar for the booger. And just an fyi I've used Gentle Leaders but think the Newtrix collars are superior.
August 3rd, 2007, 05:15 PM
What Jessi said is exactly correct. Yes, they will fight it at first, like they will a new collar or anything that feels strange and a bit scary. Put on just the head collar ony for a while, feed high value treats, get him used to wearing it and associating it with yummy things. Leave on in the house for 10 minutes and then remove. Put in on and off again for a few days. When you do walk with it, as Jessi said, go fast, no nonsense allowed. Keep the leash VERY short, so he is tight to your body and moving at a brisk pace by your side. The rolling and rubbing are very typical reactions. It took my first dog a good month to adjust and it took my second dog only a few days, so every dog will be different. The bigger issue is to make sure it's fitted properly and then to see if it helps you to gain alpha status and see improvement in your situation. If this head collar doesn't work, try another one. I would not try a harness, but try the various head collars and see which one works best for your situation. Training should be a huge help over time as well. Just remember, it all takes time. There is no one magical solution that will instantly transform your dog. But with the right head collar and good training, it is completely worth the time and money to have a happy well-behaved dog!
August 3rd, 2007, 06:34 PM
haha i tossed whatever dignity i had out the window the first time i cleaned up his puppy pee pee mess!!
thats what i did when i put it on him earlier, got out those freeze dried liver bits he goes nuts over. it was tough but possible to get his attention. i dont think my legs are long enough to keep him trotting but we were pretty close.
when i put it on him i had to be clever abotu it.
its the head collar. we tried the Gentle Leader Easy Walker (adjusted by a trainer) but.... i dont know. it just wasnt working. he would pull against it without using his front legs at all.
no retractable leash, we were actually using the fixed leash in his GL Easy Walker along with a rope tied to his collar for a two pronged effect because i didnt feel comfortable taking him out of his fence or out of the house. the lady came out to the house thought this may make us feel more comfortable.
when i do ANYTHING with him its with the assumption everythign will go along perfectly. it really helps with him to know that i have complete confidence with what im doing. i think thats the ONLY reason ive gotten this far.
as for the leash and collar... he is always excited to see his leash, collar only comes off if he gets a bath... also quite exciting.
a prong may be the next step. im not sure what to do if he refuses the GL.
i so know im not the boss!! we ahve been working on my approach on feeding him, his toys are MINE, his kennel is MINE, his food is MINE. everythign... is mine. i like the newtrix. if this doesnt work, i will be ordering one of those. when i went in to get the GL the trainer was there and he suggested it over the Halty. ill take each of our leashes, collars, harnesses, head collars... etc when we go to classes next wednesday.
thanks guys!! this helps considerably. any other advice?
(sorry if this is a little disjointed... gotta go make some food!)
August 3rd, 2007, 07:07 PM
Honestly ? It appears you are cat-person with an uber-alpha dog. The training will do you well.
August 4th, 2007, 07:27 PM
I used the GL for one day after a trainer put it on and it rubbed his nose raw and bleed.after it heeled i went to the halti.which i like much better for training.and for walking i use the newtrix
August 4th, 2007, 07:46 PM
A co-worker of mine has a dog that HATES HATES HATES the GL...So I suggested he try the Halti Harness.He now has a dog that doesn't pull....:)
August 5th, 2007, 06:48 AM
Cally (adult rescue) was a big time puller, to the point of choking himself, on walks. I got the Halti, put it on him for the first time, gave him about 5 seconds & then said "Wanna Go for a Walk?" off we went - he took to it great - resisted a tiny bit but because I put it on for the first time right before a walk resistance didn't last long. Once he realised he wasn't walking w/out it & pulling wasn't an option he never did again & I would occasionally go for a short walk around the block w/out the Halti, but honestly I was more comfortable with it on, no food pickup, great attention direction & also shows the dog more easily which direction you want to turn instead of yarding on the centre of a collar.
Personally I think a harness should only be for pulling unless on a very tiny dog or cat :)
I've never had any experience with a martingale collar but I've heard on this board that it works for some.
As for attention span - he's knows you're a sucker for "doggie doesn't like that, can we stop doing it now" so he's getting what he wants not what you what him to do. Many people fall prey to the cute/sad puppy face that goes along with this. :D Be strong you are alpha-dog not him, he just doesn't know it yet.
Personally I think now is the time for the training not in 3 or 4 yrs - he may be "set in his ways" then & much harder to retrain (though Cally was 6 when I got him & the Halti he was easy to train - eager to please & Very food motivated)
Good luck with the training, hope you find a halter/collar that works for you & him soon - don't give up