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Walk help- anything else I can try?

March 10th, 2009, 03:21 PM
I've posted here a couple of times (only when I need help- I admit it, I'm using you!) and I'm at the point where I need help/encouragement again.

My dog is a 95 lb 1 yr old lab/ great pyrenees cross. We've had some issues in the past, but this is unacceptable and kind of scary.

For awhile, Shiro used to bark, jump, and bite at us on walks whenever we didn't let him do what he wanted to do. With a lot of leash work, he hadn't done that for about 5-6 months, but now it's back. Last week I was walking him and we're crossing a busy 4-lane road when he starts jumping at me. I grab his collar, tell him "NO" sternly and get him into a heel position- he balks, and stops walking. I'm standing in the middle of the road blocking traffic so I try to pull him, and his collar slides off (has never happened before!) To make matters worse, I'm wearing my 3month old in a front-carrier when this happens, she wakes up and starts screaming. I grab Shiro by the scruff of the neck before he realizes he's loose and bolts; he instantly goes submissive on me and flops onto his back whining like I'm killing him. We finally got it sorted out, but it was stressful for a little while!

Since it first started happening, I've stepped up work inside the house- more training sessions, more long downs and sit-stays, NILF, sitting and waiting before he's allowed to go outside or come back in, etc.

Since this insane incident last week, I've been doing more work outside with the leash- sit/stays on a long leash, walking around things like garbage bins, and walking in circles, zig zags, etc, on quiet roads to get him to pay attention to me. Getting him to do ANYTHING outside is a total fight, he balks at a simple sit.

I would leave the baby with my husband, or have my husband walk the dog instead of me... but I dunno what's up with him, I swear HE has the baby blues. Not walking the dog is obviously not an option, he drives me insane if we're even an hour behind on his normal walk time.

If you have ANY other idea on things to try, it would be much appreciated. I don't know what I'm doing to cause this (maybe it's because of this melting? More smells, etc) or to make him more responsive when we're training outside would be fabulous)

March 10th, 2009, 03:54 PM
Read my last post on the recent border collie thread, don't worry, you're not the only one who's had issues like this... :)

March 10th, 2009, 05:04 PM
Hi ShiroPower -

First of all, good for you for not completley losing your cool in that kind of situation and ensuring that everyone remained safe. That must've been quite scary!

My first suggestion is that you absolutley need a new collar for your dog. Collars that 'slip off' when a dog resist, are so incredibly dangerous as you've unfortunatley found out from personal experience. I highly reccomend using the martingale collar - it's the only type I use for my dogs and my clients dogs.

The martingale collar is designed for safety and comfort, and will really help you and your dog when your dog decides he doesn't want to do something you're asking him. It's made especially so that a dog cannot get out of it, and is a wonderful training tool for the kind of exercises you've already been preforming with your dog (the running around obstacles, zig-zags, etc).

My suggestion is that when your dog starts to jump and nip at you - don't stop walking like you've been doing. This is actually rewarding his behavior, though I know that putting him in a sit/stay probably seems like it's not. In fact you're doing the opposite, telling him that when he nips and jumps that you will give in and stop walking. As you know, this is your dogs way of 'controlling you' and the situation, and is totally unacceptable behavior. What I would reccomend you to do instead - is to start running. Now, I know you mentioned you had a baby, so I don't mean a full-out sprint (especially if you live in an area with snow and ice right now) - but a little jog forward, and then backwards (without turning around) will really get his attention. (The faster you can run, the better, so if you don't have your baby and conditions are dry, then really book it!)
The reason I suggest to increase the speed, is because it gives the dog a wake-up-call. It says to them that you're going to change up the pace when they're trying to take over, and that they need to listen and watch YOU because YOU are in control.

Big breeds, especially those with lab in them, need a large amount of excercise and stimulation; or they will become bored and antsy, hyper and unattentive. Simply walking on the leash will be a huge struggle because your dog will be pushing for *more*. Do you take him to any off-leash parks?
(I usually do not tell my clients to take their dogs to off-leash parks as it's not a complete form of excercise. A dog still needs boundaries to work it's mind, which they do not get at the off-leash parks. While I think he needs to burn off some energy, you obviously still need to work with him constantly on-leash as you are doing, both in the house and outside.)

Keep us posted!

March 10th, 2009, 05:26 PM
We did discover an area used as an off-leash park (it's actually a school yard, but other people use it for off-leash) and have made a couple of doggy friends, but with the freeze/thaw weather DH hasn't been out much and I can't do it when I'm with the baby. So he was going once a week, but he hasn't been in about a month.

And the martingale- duh! I bought one for my parents dog about 6 month ago, but Shiro's still in his crappy Petsmart brand collar.

I'll try your suggestion of going faster when he jumps on me... He's going to be really confused is my guess :P

Lynne B- I read your other post, I'm TRYING to be more in control with him and I'm the only one doing the long (and short) training sessions, the play sessions, because he never acts up with DH (which seems horribly unfair if you ask me- the one doing all the work is the one with the problems :rolleyes:). I also know what you mean about not liking your dog much before. When Shiro had nothing but attitude problems, I regretted the day we ever got him. Now I can't imagine living without him and am already trying to talk DH into another dog sometime next year or so... I'm insane. Haha.

March 10th, 2009, 05:29 PM
Glad to hear it, Shiro! Keep us posted.

And just remember, do *not* introduce another dog into your home until these issues are sorted out with your current one. Any bad behaviors will rub off on the new addition. :-)

Good luck!

March 10th, 2009, 05:33 PM
Glad to hear it, Shiro! Keep us posted.

And just remember, do *not* introduce another dog into your home until these issues are sorted out with your current one. Any bad behaviors will rub off on the new addition. :-)

Good luck!

Oh, don't worry! A 3 month old, a poorly behaved big puppy, and a new dog- that's just what I don't need right now! I'd prefer to wait until we have a bigger yard and the baby is a bit older at the very least, not to mention getting Shiro's behaviour totally sorted out.

March 10th, 2009, 05:37 PM
For sure, just had to comment on it. :D How old is your baby now? And I just have to say, GOOD FOR YOU for being so consistant on training your dog. I know exactly how much work having a baby and a young dog can be, so kudos!!

March 10th, 2009, 06:22 PM
My baby is 3 months 1 week- growing so fast! Some days its hard to believe she's the same baby.

And thank you. There are days where it seems like entirely too much work but i wouldn't have it any other way.

March 10th, 2009, 08:37 PM
I second a new type of collar which can tighten under resistance especially on a backing dog. Collar slips are SCAREY! If your dog does have longer or lighter hair (due to pyrenees) I would suggest the non chain type which can save from coat damage and staining from the chain.

March 10th, 2009, 10:40 PM
Actually, cell, I'd be really careful using the cloth martingale, especially with dogs that have longer hair. The metal loops on either side of the tightening part can get hair caught in there, and it clogs up the space, and then the collar either loses it's corrective value, or it doesn't loosen after tightening. That doesn't seem to be an issue with the chain one. It depends on the dog of course, but my dogs hair is so thin, and he pulled so much, that it didn't matter whether he was wearing the chain or the martingale, he still had hair loss on his neck area until he stopped pulling.

March 10th, 2009, 11:08 PM
That's true - the chain martingale is much better for quick, safe, and effective correction training - whereas the cloth is thicker and results in much slower corrections which can throw off the timing entirely. They're ethstetically more pleasing, but other than that, I don't reccomend them for training.

March 14th, 2009, 08:58 AM
I put a prong on my Lab puppy when he was 8 months old and weighed far, far less than your dog. A cloth martingale just did not cut it for walks out in the neighbourhood and controlling him when there were loose dogs about or running alongside in their own fenced yard. I did use a flat collar in our training classes and the martingale got him through his CGN test, which he passed.

Prongs were viewed as intstruments of torture when I trained my first puppy but now most trainers accept that they are as good or as bad as the handler makes them, just like any other collar. I was advised to buy, fit and learn to use the prong through my trainer, which I did. My prong is a Herm Sprenger, the brand recommended to me most often and it is a martingale.

Something for you to consider? If you do contemplate using one I also strongly urge you to have a trainer or experienced friend help you fit it and learn to use it. 95 lb. of out of control dog, even though it sounds like normal puppy shenanigans, is not something to trifle with. He could hurt you, your baby, himself or someone else. In the situation you described above he could have caused a car accident and where I live you can be held responsible for car accidents caused by your dog.

March 14th, 2009, 01:14 PM
Something that might be useful in your situation is the Canny Collar ( In Canada it has the unruly name of Champ Walk Master Training Collar and can only be purchased through veterinarians. Here is a video of it in use: