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My Best Friend The Puller

July 23rd, 2008, 11:35 PM
I have a 100lb lab who has been to more training classes than I can count. He is great inside, an awsome dog who plays well with children and seniors alike. He is great in the car, when I travel and when we have visitors.He listens to me well BUT.... as soon as I go out with him for a walk it is a very different story. I have used a haltie but he floops around like a fish when it is on. I have been told to continue he will get used to it...well, two years later that has not happened. He floops around so much that we spend our entire walking time starting and stopping, flipping and flopping. I have tried a harness, choke collar and one trainer finally put a pinch collar on but I discontinued using it because he would pull so hard I was afraid it would pierce his neck. Having it on didn't even break his stride. All the trainers could say was that he "my lab" was extremely head strong. I have tried the umbilical leash and it is great "IN THE HOUSE" but outside he can practicly take me off my feet. In the past he has run ahead of me and almost as a second thought would stop to see where I was. He only got away from me twice in his 5 years and both times he panicked when he relized I wasn't beside or behind him. He is really submissive and acts like he knows I am boss when we are in the house but he seems to forget that when we go out.....I'm really not sure what to do now....

July 24th, 2008, 11:47 AM
A lot of labs are pain insensitive which is often why training tools are useless with them but it sounds like your dog really takes this to the next level.:crazy:

Pulling will never be "cured" so long as your dog is allowed to self-reward... Everytime he pulls, he is solidifying the behaviour - if this has been going on for years, you likely have months of work ahead of you.

The best thing you can do to combat pulling is physical and mental stimulation.
Getting involved in weight pulling can help because it provides your dog with an outlet for pulling/excess energy. Skijoring or bikejoring are also excellent activities for chronic pullers (of course a certain level of obedience is required - particularly for bikejoring). A safer alternative may be to simply bike with your dog on a springer
Other than that, take your dog to off-leash parks so you can burn the excess energy BEFORE working on loose leash walking. If it all possible, stop all on-leash walks (UNLESS you are training) - let him drag a long line when you are walking to and from your car or bike so you can easily keep control but not allow pulling.

Sometimes the best way to teach loose leash walking is to do so without a leash... Reward for the position you want your dog in and you will quickly have a dog who FIGHTS to get into that position (rewards can mean toys, food, praise, petting, freedom to play etc...)
But if you'd rather, you can do the same thing but with a leash... Initially, it would be best to start when your dog is tired... if he can keep a slack leash indoors amongst tough distractions (like children playing, food on the ground, dogs etc..) - move to the yard with those distractions (if the distractions are too much - remove them completely until he is ready). Make sure there are lots of turns, speed changes, stops etc... If there is ANY pulling, you must immediately shut down - as if someone has turned off your power. The dog doesn't exist - no corrections, no eye contact, no tension... NOTHING. Eventually, there will be slack in the leash at which point you MARK and reward (clickers are the best for things like this but you can use a verbal marker). Basically the idea is that you add distractions until he is bombproof indoors or the yard... You cannot address pulling on walks if your dog cannot keep a slack leash in a less distracting environment.

Teaching your dog to target your hand or a target stick will also help. It gives him a job to do and is an incompatible behaviour (he cannot pull if he's touching your hand).

Lastly - be aware of the exact moment that your dog starts to pull. Oftentimes, closing your eyes can make you realize that your dog is pulling a lot sooner than you realize...

Good luck!

July 24th, 2008, 12:27 PM
Have you considered this type. I can say they work very well!! others here have used them and can tell you they work!

They are the illusion collars


July 24th, 2008, 06:57 PM
ditto to winston.

see my post in the general forum.

July 24th, 2008, 07:18 PM
We have two pullers that we've been working on for 4 years (yep, that's right, 4 long years ... I think my arms are 6" longer than when I started) to stop the pulling.

On the days that we don't feel like going thru another 'training' round we put on the body harness made by the Gentle Leader folks. It is a body harness with the d-ring in the middle of the chest. Works like a charm!!