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Old December 12th, 2007, 10:22 AM
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SolaMio SolaMio is offline
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Choke chain, correction collar vs harness revisited (sorry)

Hi all, I searched for both "choke chains" and "harness" in this forum so I know this is an issue that has already been discussed quite a bit. But I'm still confused.

My trainer strongly suggested that I purchase a correction collar for my 3.5 month old malamute/black lab puppy who is quite a "puller". Sola (pup) didn't seem to react much better using the correction collar (which was a nylon collar just big enough to go over her head, and tightens as she pulls, but can't come off). Is this the same as a "choke chain" other than the material difference (chain vs nylon)?

The reason I'm hesitating on this is a) Sola didn't seem to change her pulling, even though I realize this isn't an immediate thing, but we have tried a few times; b) I'm a pretty inexperienced owner and DO NOT want to hurt my pup, heard about potential tracheal damage etc. She was essentially choking herself last night, and I really didn't like it.

I'm wondering if harness training is just as effective? What about a halti (I'm not really sure what this is). I'm a pretty small woman myself, so I need to be able to control this dog when she is 80+lbs!

Sola listens fairly well already, comes when called (most of the time ) and can obey commands.

Anyway, sorry to breach this topic again... But any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance

S.
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Mom to:
Sola: 18 month old black lab/malamute
Luna: 2 year old Siberian Husky (rescue)
Millie: 2.5 year old tabby (rescue)
Layla: ?? year old calico (rescue)

Former mom to (RIP):
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Poncho: Degu
Bibi: Degu
Josette: St. Bernard, childhood pet
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  #2  
Old December 12th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Ford Girl Ford Girl is offline
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I am no expert either but at 3 months I put a martingale collar on Dazy cuz she was a puller and very naughty. She needed constant corrections. Martinagle means half material, half chain. Corrections are not meant to choke them, some dogs will pull until they can't breathe, I had a trainer show me how to use the correction collor, it's quick firm tugs to the side while they are doing the undesirable behavior, almost to snap them out of it, but they are not meant to be held in "choke" position while the dog is pulling at the end of their leash.

Is the pulling while you walk her? I would say learn a good walking technique that incorporates your collar so that if your dog pulls a quick correction can be made. When they are that little - if used properly, eventually the noise the chain makes will snap them out of it without a correction.

It's the same for a pronged collar, a training chin, martinegale - the purpose to put directed pressure on the neck to stop or discourage behavior, it doesn't stop them from pulling at the end of their leash and it will cause damage if not used properly. Barrel chested dogs like yours hold all their power in their chest and neck, once they start pulling and lowering their stance it's hard to get them not to pull.

Are you able to see a trainer to show you how to use your collar? I have never used a haltie or harness.
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Last edited by Ford Girl; December 12th, 2007 at 10:53 AM.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 10:52 AM
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breeze breeze is offline
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Hi Solamio.. It is hard to know whats best.
I have had a huskey (pulled all the time)
had a rotti mix hardley ever puled
a collie shepard mix did not need a collar at all

an we have Bree bernese small for her breed but pull OMG

I myself do not like the choker collar. with a strong breed they never seem to relize that they have it on!! (their throats are very strong)
I do like the halti unless they learn how to hit just the right spot to make your knee buckle and down you go..Bree learnt that when she was just a year old. most dogs do very well with the halti and never make your knee buckle..I use it with my rotti mix.. but never my huskey. she was the excape artist. It takes some time to get use to it, they can be excape artist, that is why you alway cick the extra clip onto her regular collar..
I have never tried he harness.
i now use a pincher collar with Bree,she has pull my shoulder out one to many times.. and I too am a small women.. with this collar you must find a good trainer to show you how to use it.. it is mandiory. other wise to loose or to tight can injure your pup !!!!!!
If our pup is 3.5 month you said.. I would problay try the halti first.. maybe a martingale. a martinale is like a choker but closes only so much...what ever works for you, and to make the walk more enjoyable...I have tried many different kinds and finially I have found the right one.. ..
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Old December 12th, 2007, 11:18 AM
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i would strongly suggest the halti/head harness. its just abotu fool proof if you can get it on them. we have a heck of a time getting it on Mister and we do some serious bribing. but it works perfectly.

-ash
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Old December 12th, 2007, 12:10 PM
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TeriM TeriM is offline
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IMO, a 3.5 month old puppy should not be using a halti or a correction neck device. The potential for injury at such a young age is just too likely for my comfort. The halti could end up whipping his neck around and straining his muscles and his neck is not strong enough for the choke. If you must use a head harness device then make sure you purchase a newtrix type as that works by tightening behind his head and not pulling the face around http://www.newtrix.ca/docs/index.php. An older dog would likely be fine in a head device but a puppy is still very excitable.

I would strongly suggest purchasing a body harness like the sensation body harness http://www.softouchconcepts.com/ or the gentle leader harness http://www.premier.com/pages.cfm?id=74 . They work by attaching in the front of the body and redirecting the pups energy around towards you. I found the sensation harness was the best fit for my large lab but I also bought the bigger version of the gentle leader and had it modified slightly to fit. It will depend on the shape of your puppy which would be best.

I did eventually go to a pinch collar as well but that was just this year when my dog hit 90 lbs and 1.5 years old. It was mostly the teenager attitude that caused me to convert from the harness as I wanted just a bit more control.

Good luck.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 12:14 PM
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want4rain want4rain is offline
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very good point TeriM. we used the GL body harness with Mister at that age (he swore he was a sled dog) and it worked really really well until he got to be about 65lbs.

-ash
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Old December 12th, 2007, 12:20 PM
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SolaMio SolaMio is offline
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Thanks folks for the advice.. We have a pretty limited selection where I live , but I'm going to try our only pet supply store and see what they have. I'm really tentative about correction collars so maybe I will try a harness and see how I make out. I think they did have a "gentle leader" brand harness, if memory serves. I'll keep you updated!

Sola does pull quite a lot now, and she weighs about 30 lbs. I've been trying to teach her the "heel" command but the results are just kind of comical so far.

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Mom to:
Sola: 18 month old black lab/malamute
Luna: 2 year old Siberian Husky (rescue)
Millie: 2.5 year old tabby (rescue)
Layla: ?? year old calico (rescue)

Former mom to (RIP):
Nicole: Maine Coon cat 1985-1999
Poncho: Degu
Bibi: Degu
Josette: St. Bernard, childhood pet
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Old December 12th, 2007, 03:28 PM
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dogcatharmony dogcatharmony is offline
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Are you looking for the collar just for the pulling while walking? Seeing your dog is a malamute mix, just from my experience be careful using a body harness because it can actually make then pull more. I have an Elkhound mix and we tried endless collars because of her pulling, when I got a body harness she figured out she could pull more by putting her whole body into it. After countless collars I tried something new, I put her normal everyday collar on her and leashed her to me, as soon as she started pulling i would turn around and walk the other way. Which ever way she wanted to go I went the opposite. It only took two walks and she caught onto watching where I was going instead of pulling me where she wanted to go.

Good luck.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 03:46 PM
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I agree with Breeze here! what she said about the pinscher is right on the money!

I am a pretty small women and have taken one too many undesirable pulls across the street almost being hit by a car! My dog is over 100lbs with the big barrel chest! He attempted to pull once with the pinscher collar and has never again! He is a good dog to walk now because of it! some will not agree..each dog is very different and so are the sizes of the owners...

I never liked a choke chain period, because you could never enjoy walking a dog that is practically dead by choking itself as it pulls!!

I also used a gentle leader when he was small and that was also good because it controlled the upper portion of the head as well but he quickly grew up and stronger!

Good Luck

Cindy
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Old December 12th, 2007, 04:37 PM
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Lissa Lissa is offline
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I must commend you for addressing the problem now instead of when your pup reaches her adult weight!

Some good points have been made so far... I agree with TeriM about it being a dangerous idea to use head halters or choke/prong collars on a puppy. But I also believe that at this age, no training tools should be necessary. Right now your pup is easier to handle and fairly eager to please/motivate. So if possible, avoid training tools!!! It's too easy to become dependent on a training tool (rather than actually training with it)...

I personally would never put a choke on my dog. I did put a prong on Dodger when he was a year old (for competitive OB) and I will never go near one again. I do use a halti when we're at trials/classes (he is reactive) - but it is not used as an anti-pulling device. I don't like using negative punishment to "train" a dog but its even worse with "pain insensitive" dogs.

So like dogcatharmony, I tend to either freeze or walk in the other direction when a dog pulls me. For some dogs, the reward is being able to walk again (once there's slack in the leash) but other needs a treat or tug to really motivate them. The secret behind laying the foundations of loose leash walking is engaging your dog. Keep them guessing (frequently change directions and paces), be more interesting than distractions, be consistent, set the dog up for success (so she can't self-reward), start small and progress in small steps (add distraction and duration seperately). It's also imperative that your dog is well-stimulated (physically and mentally) - if not, then IMO you cannot expect them to walk nicely.
Dodger had pulling issues as a puppy so I know how you feel and how slow the process seems.
As with most dog training issues, its the handler that's at fault, not the dog... For instance, I never realized how much Dodger was pulling until I started closing my eyes... I was amazed - with my eyes close I knew the instant there was the slightest tension in the leash - whereas with my eyes open, I'd let it become full-out pulling before redirecting (I don't correct, I redirect)... The point being that I was letting Dodger self-reward unintentionally - I was not being consistent and I definately was being passive about it (which meant I wasn't engaging him)... Doing everything wrong basically...

It can also help, especially with pulling breeds, to get them into carting, sledding or skijoring. Obviously your pup is too young to start now but it would be a great outlet in the future.

Good Luck and keep us posted! :-)
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Old December 12th, 2007, 04:41 PM
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white wrabbit white wrabbit is offline
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i use to have a husky/ shepard cross (he was 8 when i got him) a long time ago and the only way i could get him to stop pulling was with the halti, or head harness (they have so many names) it turns their head when they start pulling and they wind up not walking in that line that they were pulling.. i found it far more effective then any other collar i tried with him.. with Malamute in her she is designed to be a puller.. i would defiantly go for the head harness over a body one.. after a while when she gets her "heel" down then switch you can easily convert to a normal collar use but it helps when switching over to still use the head harness but attach leash to collar..

good luck
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Old December 12th, 2007, 04:56 PM
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SolaMio SolaMio is offline
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Back from the pet supply store

There wasn't enormous selection at the store, as I mentioned earlier. The owner of the store recommended the martingale collar (part material, part chain) as did my trainer. I also bought a 3-in-1 harness for in the car and walking, it hooks in as a seatbelt sort of thing. It doesn't fit Sola yet but should when she's a bit bigger. I figure if it doesn't work as a walking harness it can still be used in the car

I'm hesitant about the halti until she's a bit bigger as a few posters have mentioned, in case of injury. She's pretty inquisitive and darts around like any puppy.

I'm still a bit sketchy on the martingale and will read up on how to use it properly. The trainer who suggested it does have a great deal of experience (she has bred german shepherds and english springer spaniels for literally decades) so I don't want to discredit her advice... But I want to make sure I'm not hurting Sola of course. I will also try this in combination with the altering direction technique which was used in my puppy class this week.

Off topic--- she is also being socialized in this class, her new friend is a little cockapoo named Winston The dogs couldn't look more different.

Wish me luck! I need it!
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Mom to:
Sola: 18 month old black lab/malamute
Luna: 2 year old Siberian Husky (rescue)
Millie: 2.5 year old tabby (rescue)
Layla: ?? year old calico (rescue)

Former mom to (RIP):
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Poncho: Degu
Bibi: Degu
Josette: St. Bernard, childhood pet
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Old December 12th, 2007, 04:59 PM
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I also forgot to ask (this might be silly, I don't know); should I be clipping my lead to both the martingale collar and her regular one in case she can get out of it? Oh the logistics...
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J'embrasse mon chien sur la bouche!

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." -Unknown

Mom to:
Sola: 18 month old black lab/malamute
Luna: 2 year old Siberian Husky (rescue)
Millie: 2.5 year old tabby (rescue)
Layla: ?? year old calico (rescue)

Former mom to (RIP):
Nicole: Maine Coon cat 1985-1999
Poncho: Degu
Bibi: Degu
Josette: St. Bernard, childhood pet
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Old December 12th, 2007, 05:05 PM
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I have heard of people using a double collar type technique because they have dogs that can get out of a collar. I am just not 100% sure how the Martingale collar really works...I would say as long as you forsee no problem with it getting tangled or being dangerous? why not?

She's a cutie by the way!

Cindy
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Old December 12th, 2007, 05:06 PM
SARAH SARAH is offline
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With Dani and Sheba, I use haltis if I take them together. Separately I just give them a firm yet gentle yank on the choker and they get the message. I do agree though, a halti on such a young neck is not a good idea, but could be useful in 6-9 months!

I can't even count the number of collars my husky BROKE pulling. Strangely, he didn't pull as crazily when I put a harness on him, which is un-natural when you think about it. Maybe the lab in your malamute will stop him from pulling ... eventually.

Or you can try an obedience course!

With Sheba, the halti is not connected to her collar. She won't run away should she get loose. Dani on the other hand, has a short lead from the halti to the collar, just in case.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 06:09 PM
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white wrabbit white wrabbit is offline
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i missed the puppy part .. yeah don't do the head harness not a good idea.. best for older dogs.. puppy classes should help.. got a squeaky toy? i find in a pocket works great at getting there attention when they are not listening.. or in there own doggie world..
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Old December 12th, 2007, 07:38 PM
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SolaMio SolaMio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by white wrabbit View Post
i missed the puppy part .. yeah don't do the head harness not a good idea.. best for older dogs.. puppy classes should help.. got a squeaky toy? i find in a pocket works great at getting there attention when they are not listening.. or in there own doggie world..
Oooh good idea. I squeak a toy to get her attention in the house, why not on a walk? It seems so simple but I wouldn't have thought of using it for that reason
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Mom to:
Sola: 18 month old black lab/malamute
Luna: 2 year old Siberian Husky (rescue)
Millie: 2.5 year old tabby (rescue)
Layla: ?? year old calico (rescue)

Former mom to (RIP):
Nicole: Maine Coon cat 1985-1999
Poncho: Degu
Bibi: Degu
Josette: St. Bernard, childhood pet
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Old December 12th, 2007, 08:09 PM
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LavenderRott LavenderRott is offline
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If your martingale is fitted right, then your dog shouldn't be able to pull out of it so the use of a second collar is redundant.

Cindy - if you go to this link, it explains how a martingale works. (My pom wears one 24/7.)

http://www.collargirl.com/how_martingale_work.htm
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Old December 12th, 2007, 08:27 PM
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CearaQC CearaQC is offline
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LOL

I'm such an idiot!

Finally learned about the martingale collar. I have seen these on dogs, but always from a distance and I kept thinking, "Why do people get collars that are way too big for their dogs?"

Here's something I'm working on with Belle. Not only do I change directions if she wants to go another way during a long walk, I also take a few minutes during one potty out session to walk around and randomly change directions with purpose as added mental exercise. In addition, in my mind I pretend I'm doing all this on purpose and it's a very important thing to do and project that energy towards her. Then I close with a bit of a run back & forth and move fast so she has to keep up. The run part is really fun for her, so I kinda use that as a reward after doing the walking part first. I'm hoping further down the road, she will see that by hanging close she won't miss out on anything fun and then can be more trustworthy off leash. Then she's doing it of her will instead of food bribes.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 08:28 PM
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SolaMio SolaMio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LavenderRott View Post
If your martingale is fitted right, then your dog shouldn't be able to pull out of it so the use of a second collar is redundant.

Cindy - if you go to this link, it explains how a martingale works. (My pom wears one 24/7.)

http://www.collargirl.com/how_martingale_work.htm
Thanks for the link! That does explain it pretty well. We'll know soon enough how Sola and I like it
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J'embrasse mon chien sur la bouche!

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." -Unknown

Mom to:
Sola: 18 month old black lab/malamute
Luna: 2 year old Siberian Husky (rescue)
Millie: 2.5 year old tabby (rescue)
Layla: ?? year old calico (rescue)

Former mom to (RIP):
Nicole: Maine Coon cat 1985-1999
Poncho: Degu
Bibi: Degu
Josette: St. Bernard, childhood pet
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  #21  
Old December 13th, 2007, 06:10 PM
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allymack allymack is offline
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well just thought i would put in my thoughts..i would say get the martingale for now and have the leash around your waist and attched to just the martingale and we she gets ahead or starts going off a direction she isnt supposed to either stop dead in your tracks and dogs move untill she sit close enough to you for there to be slack in the leash or just go the total opposite direction. when she is about 7 months ( i know she isnt 7 months yet, i think 3. 5 months is a little to young for one) i think she would be fine to wear a head halter ( i use a gentle leader head halter) dont become dependent on it, when she is walking at a good heel try leaving the head halter on he but attaching the clip of the leash to her collar, that way you can eventually have her not wear a head halter but still be at a dependent heel, i hope this helps and good luck!
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Old December 13th, 2007, 08:00 PM
LuckyCricket LuckyCricket is offline
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My pit used to pull then I slipped the leash under her front leg (from back to front), after around 10 walks the pulling just stopped.
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  #23  
Old December 14th, 2007, 07:35 AM
Cory7 Cory7 is offline
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Hi Sola Mio,

We used the "choke chain" on our dog because this is the method that was used at the training school we went to. I too was very hesitant with this method because I thought it was way too severe.

Our trainer reassured us that it would not hurt our dog. If using this method a trainer should teach you how to do it. It's a very gentle tug not ripping his head off.

Thankfully our pup caught on quickly and I've never used it anymore. It's somewhere in the house but I haven't seen it in ages :-)

I was very IGNORANT when it came to training as this was my 1st dog and although my husband had dogs all his life never brought them to school. So this was new for us. Now that I know there are other ways I would not go back to this method.

By the way, are you from Montreal??

Cory

Last edited by Cory7; December 14th, 2007 at 07:38 AM.
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Old December 14th, 2007, 08:19 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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I think I may have a new suggestion, amazing, what with all the good ones you already have above. Do you feed kibble? We were told this at my first obedience class with my first puppy. I have think it was a Dr. Stanley Coren TV show too. The trick is to feed pup a few kibbles at a time throughout the walk. While walking you would give a kibble while puppy is in about the correct position. You try to do this on the go, just by dropping your hands down to her mouth and keep walking. You are lucky it is a large breed, this is much harder to do with the wee ones. Don't do it at correction time - it is to be associated with proper walking, not the correction. You just do it once in a while and try not to make a pattern. By deducting the kibble from the regular meal you are not overfeeding.
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  #25  
Old December 14th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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SolaMio SolaMio is offline
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I tried the martingale yesterday, and Sola pulled and pulled against it. I tried the switching directions and immediate kibble rewards but she didnít seem to catch onÖ I will keep trying though! It doesnít seem logical to give a quick tug when she is already pulling with all her might against the leadÖ Maybe I will try another location, since I only tried in my driveway (which is kind of long) to see how she would react before taking a real walk.

Allymack- Can I ask why tying the lead to my waist? Do you think this helps? Just curious.

Cory- No Iím not from Montreal, from Nova Scotia
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J'embrasse mon chien sur la bouche!

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." -Unknown

Mom to:
Sola: 18 month old black lab/malamute
Luna: 2 year old Siberian Husky (rescue)
Millie: 2.5 year old tabby (rescue)
Layla: ?? year old calico (rescue)

Former mom to (RIP):
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Poncho: Degu
Bibi: Degu
Josette: St. Bernard, childhood pet
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  #26  
Old December 14th, 2007, 10:00 AM
Cory7 Cory7 is offline
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"It doesn’t seem logical to give a quick tug when she is already pulling with all her might against the lead… "

I asked this same thing to my trainer. His response was that you should always keep some extra leash in your hands. This way when the dog pulls on his leash you release that extra that you have in your hand and then give a tug.

I hope I explained myself properly.

Cory
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Old December 14th, 2007, 10:07 AM
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SolaMio SolaMio is offline
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I think so Cory, thanks! I hope my little darling will eventually get the hang of it...

Does anyone know how long this should take? Weeks? Months? I'm still taking her on "trail walks" where she can run around more and explore-- will this spoil the other training?

As an aside, Sola had her 3rd needles last night, and was weighed. She is indeed 30lbs as I suspected- She put on 10lbs in a month!
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J'embrasse mon chien sur la bouche!

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." -Unknown

Mom to:
Sola: 18 month old black lab/malamute
Luna: 2 year old Siberian Husky (rescue)
Millie: 2.5 year old tabby (rescue)
Layla: ?? year old calico (rescue)

Former mom to (RIP):
Nicole: Maine Coon cat 1985-1999
Poncho: Degu
Bibi: Degu
Josette: St. Bernard, childhood pet
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  #28  
Old December 14th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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Ford Girl Ford Girl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SolaMio View Post
I think so Cory, thanks! I hope my little darling will eventually get the hang of it...

Does anyone know how long this should take? Weeks? Months? I'm still taking her on "trail walks" where she can run around more and explore-- will this spoil the other training?

As an aside, Sola had her 3rd needles last night, and was weighed. She is indeed 30lbs as I suspected- She put on 10lbs in a month!
If YOU are consistant, it won't take long for your dog to figure out you are in charge of the walk and what is expected of it, but you will need to walk this way all the time...they know the minute you ease up on your expectations.

I would keep the leash walking to a training session where you focus on how she should be walking seperate from your explorations walks so you don't confuse your pup.

What I do is a leash walk for a long while, then I end the walk in an off leash field, her reward for the nice leash walk is a romp in the field with the tennis ball I had on me the whole time.
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  #29  
Old December 14th, 2007, 03:07 PM
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SolaMio SolaMio is offline
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Originally Posted by Ford Girl View Post
If YOU are consistant, it won't take long for your dog to figure out you are in charge of the walk and what is expected of it, but you will need to walk this way all the time...they know the minute you ease up on your expectations.

I would keep the leash walking to a training session where you focus on how she should be walking seperate from your explorations walks so you don't confuse your pup.

What I do is a leash walk for a long while, then I end the walk in an off leash field, her reward for the nice leash walk is a romp in the field with the tennis ball I had on me the whole time.
Oh good that's sort of what I've been doing, keeping work and play separate so she doesn't get confused. Plus we both enjoy our fun trail walks so I would hate to see that spoiled (for both of us) by turning it into exclusive training time. Also I don't want to overwhelm her with training, after all she's only 3.5 months and it's obviously so new to her.
__________________
J'embrasse mon chien sur la bouche!

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." -Unknown

Mom to:
Sola: 18 month old black lab/malamute
Luna: 2 year old Siberian Husky (rescue)
Millie: 2.5 year old tabby (rescue)
Layla: ?? year old calico (rescue)

Former mom to (RIP):
Nicole: Maine Coon cat 1985-1999
Poncho: Degu
Bibi: Degu
Josette: St. Bernard, childhood pet
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  #30  
Old December 14th, 2007, 03:17 PM
Cory7 Cory7 is offline
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Hi SolaMio,

I agree with Ford Girl. You need to be very consistent otherwise you will indeed confuse your pup. He needs to know you're pack leader.

I remember it taking awhile for my pup to be trained.

We signed him up Mid or end of August and we were still taking him to classes in December (if I remember correctly).

Our classes were once to twice a week. We had our classes outside so depending on the weather (rain) our class would get cancelled. Also we had him fixed during that time so we missed some classes.

Also, I remember my trainer saying that pup's have a small attention span SO to train them for short periods of time otherwise they become frustrated and you won't get anywhere.

He did mention that YOU NEED to always practice!!

I remember taking 30 mins and work on only 1 exercise that's it. Then I would practice later on in the day but never for large stretches. And, always leave off on a happy note.

It's been awhile back but that's what I remember. Boy talking about this brings back all the moments I had with my pup.

It's hard I know BUT believe me and the others when we say it will get better. At some points I thought I wanted to quit because I thought we weren't getting anywhere. Now I have a good boy and you will too!!

Hope this helps.

Cory :-)
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