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Help with training?!

August 30th, 2008, 12:36 PM
Hi everyone,
Oscar is a roughly 18 month mongrel, got him from a rescue home in October. I was told he's GSX; Husky colouring, Labrador ears and disposition etc etc... Very intelligent, very loyal, very handsome, very strong!

I absolutely adore him and up till recently I suppose I have spoiled him a bit - not corrected ill behaviour, been inconsistent with boundaries (sleeping on bed/outside door, sitting on couch) and just accepted his doggy faults.
It got so bad that in July I thought about re-homing him as he was totally ruling my house! But one of the potential buyers was a dog trainer - I spent about two hours with her, decided to keep Osc and she taught me loads of things about living with dogs.
Since then Oscar has been tons better, however there are a few things that I just cannot crack, that I'm hoping you wise people will be able to help me with...
(Here we go, take a seat, get up a cup of tea on, we'll be here for a while I think.....!)

First of all - he picks up things very quickly. I taught him to stand on his hind legs after about 4 one minute sessions! (Even now without treats!) He comes on command by word, action or whistle, from garden, another room, other side of room etc. However, whatever we work with in the house, he cannot (or will not) grasp outside! Very rarely anyway. Whether this is because he is too interested in new smells, other people and dogs etc I don't know.

Here are the two main problems:

1. I am having MASSIVE problems with him pulling on the lead. Since July I have started correcting his pulling (ie changed leads, stopping in my tracks until the lead is loose again, or he turns to look at me, and then rewarding him when he walks loosely) but it doesn't seem to be working. Oscar is so clever and I don't know whether it should be taking as long as it is. I alone walk him, so I know it's not like another person is walking him differently and being inconsistent. It does my head in so much - to the extent that it hurts sometimes and I sometimes don't exactly relish the thought of walking with him. What can I do!!!!

2. He doesn't do very well at recall - out of the house. When we're in parks I don't even let him off the lead anymore, as he will just run off... well he runs around which is fine, and every minute or so he'll poke his head out of a bush to make sure I'm still alive and within sight.
And if he sees another dog that's pretty much the last I'll see of him for ages, well at least until the other dog puts him in his place, or the other owner sees me following and patiently gets his dog to wait by his side until I can get Oscar (cringe)
I heard that Huskies can't be let off leads and I think I've convinced myself that he has Husky in him as he just runs off!

Do I just need to get over myself, be patient and keep rewarding him whenever he comes to me in other places so he knows to come back? Why does everyone else make it sound so easy!

Thanks for reading, sorry it was such a long ramble!

August 31st, 2008, 08:30 AM
Maybe a halti can help with the pulling. As for the off leash part I can't think of anything my dog is to small to be off his leash I am to afraid of others dogs hurting him. I watch the dog whisperer and feel that he teaches wonderful ways and handling different situations.....

August 31st, 2008, 10:40 AM
For walking, I use a harness with a double ended leash for my pooch, works wonders! They use them at the local SPCA to walk dogs and I can walk just about anything that comes through their door when they're got the harness and dble end leash on. The harness has two connectors and one end of leash connects to the chest part, other attaches on the back. There's not only no pressure on the neck that keys that doggie instinct to PULL but there's lots of information getting to the dog via both connections. I always think of horses when I use it, love it!

Photos (just found on the net, I don't know this store):

Another option: we recently attended an agility course and a lady started to use the easywalk harness half way through on her very energetic very large 2 year old dog - she was able to control without getting into a tug of war, really looked like it helped her BIG time.

As for recall, I can only suggest starting in small fenced areas and being completely excited whenever you want Oscar to come back. Be prepped with bribery food (some don't agree, but man, whatever works to train) and be super happy and excited so that you interest him in coming to you. If your voice or mannerisms are frustrated or angry, why would he want to come back, right? lol! I need to be more interesting than whatever has my Voodoo's attention and sometimes she still thinks that digging a hole is more interesting than me so it's a work in progress. :rolleyes:

Oh, and we use NILF in our house and she's easier to live with overall.

Good luck! :fingerscr

September 1st, 2008, 10:57 AM
Thanks both for your help!