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Old January 23rd, 2013, 07:45 PM
Gentle Dad Gentle Dad is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Potomac Falls, Virginia, USA
Posts: 1
Smile training a puppy to walk on a lead

After losing our wonderful yellow lab of 16 years, we decided to get a puppy. He's a 3 month old yellow lab puppy. I am having real problems with him walking easily on a lead. I have read Caesar Millan, the Monks of New Skete and Jan Fennel to no avail. I have been inducing him with treats as the books say. I induce him with a treat and he will walk until he gets it, then he sits down again and refuses to budge until offered another treat.

Am I just expecting too much from a 12 week old lab puppy? I am using a standard nylon flat collar with a 6 foot nylon lead. I don't want to resort to a choke collar.

This behavior is worst in our neighborhood near our house. He just doesn't want to leave his territory. He is a confident and stubborn little rascal and doesn't appear to be fearful. If I drive him to a park he is better but still a challenge. Does anyone have any suggestions or know of any really good books on puppy training?
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 07:54 PM
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Winston Winston is offline
Mom of 3 precious Angels
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Hamilton Ontario
Posts: 7,300
Welcome Gentle Dad! sounds like you have a typical puppy! Have you ever looked into a Halty or some folks call it a Gentle Leader. I use one on my pup and it worked very well. In the beginning most dogs dont like it because it goes over their nose but most settle with it after a few walks. My goofball tries to rub her nose on the ground to get it off. They do work very well. Just google either one and see what you think.

She is far too run for a choke. Also dont move forward on your walks if she wants to pull. She will soon realize that you only walk when she doesnt pull. Your on the right track with Ceasar he has some great shows you can watch. I dont recall if he covered the structured walk on his puppy show or not. If you havent seen that one it is awesome to watch. He raises 4 different breeds of puppies and it is great to see how they all interact.

Good Luck! oh and we are a little bit picture happy here so anytime you feel like posting a pic of your puppy we would love it!!!
Tabitha April 10, 1995 - August 23, 2013
Bomber April 10, 1995 - July 12, 2010
Winston Nov 15, 1999 - September 15, 2011
Sophie Aug 30, 2011

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 09:23 PM
kitona kitona is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Calgary
Posts: 86
I'm dealing with a 3 year old Shep/Lab cross that's totally new to civilation and does the exact same thing. He was rescued from a very rural place, brought to the big city and has no idea what a leash is all about. If he sees something like a strange person, dog, machinery or gets too far from my place, he won't budge. I'm thinking it's just a whole lot for him to take in at once. He's not fearful, just overwhelmed by all the sudden changes in his life.

We started with walks around the yard and having lots of ''fun'' with that. No yanking or pulling, just fun and some treats when he walked with me. Next, we went out of the yard and just looked around the alley. Again, fun treats and praise when he came along. Now, after 2 weeks, he's walking nicely around the block with lots of sniff breaks when he finds sonething interesting. As we progress, the treats become fewer because of his growing confidence and interest in his new environment. It's my ''job'' to be the most interesting thing in his life and worthy of his trust.

Another thing to keep in mind is the importance of lots of socialization before she turns 16 weeks. If you can, find a really good, positive reward trainer in your area that has puppy get-togethers. If nothing is available, see if you can find people you can hang with that have steady minded adult dogs that your pup can interact with safely. And also introduce her to as many different people and places you can. In the long run, doing this NOW will will serve both of you very well.

Wish you the best with your new pup!
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 11:36 PM
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tenderfoot tenderfoot is offline
Senior Contributor - Expert
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Posts: 1,249
Dogs learn to pull against the leash because people GIVE the leash to them to control. The dog steps ahead of the person pulling on the leash and the persons hand goes forward towards the dog and the person takes a step in that direction. So the person just taught the dog to pull them where they want to go. OR the dog pulls back refusing to move forward and the person stops in their tracks and gives the leash back to the dog so the dog learns that "I stop and the whole world stops with me". Whose leading the dance?

You would never walk holding hands with someone if they were pulling you down the path or forcing you to drag them down the path. Why do we permit it with our dogs?

It is our responsibility to TEACH our dogs how to walk with us - not because we are forcing them with devices or keeping food in their face, but because they are learning how to walk with us and to give to the pressure of the collar/leash AND create their own loose leash.

Begin ALL drills in the house - it is too exciting outside for your dog to focus. The first step is to face your dog with the leash attached to each of you - give a little pressure on the leash as you encourage the dog to come towards you. The heartbeat the dog takes one step towards you (giving to the pressure of the leash) release the leash pressure and praise him. Practice this until you give the tiniest pressure on the collar and the dog happily comes right towards you.

Now place the dog at your side and ask him to join up with you as you apply a cue of pressure on the leash so the dog readily comes along. Take 2 steps and stop abruptly. If the dog stops beside you then relax and praise. However if he starts to cross your toe line you need to stop his forward movement with the leash and abruptly turn into him and go in the other direction 2 steps and stop again. Repeat this pattern until he consistently stops with you at your toe line. If he stops at your toe line he has earned more forward movement. Then you can expand your steps to 3, 4, 5 and quickly you are heeling throughout the house and soon you will practice on the driveway and then down the road. But your dog can't go for a proper walk until he can show that he can stay nicely by your side on a loose leash.

Oh, and puppies should only take walks long enough for them to handle - the formula is 5 minutes per month old. 5 mo = 25 minutes. You can do several 25 min. sessions a day but don't jam them all together into one long session. It does too much damage to their joints.

Better to have a plan - instead of going to the park and back or around the block, take that same 25 mins and do a walking lesson with your dog. You are both moving and getting exercise, but you are engaging your dogs mind and that is more tiring and WAY MORE BENEFICIAL than a 25 min pulling fest.
Love Them & Lead Them,
~Elizabeth & Doug
Dog Training the Way Nature Intended
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Old January 24th, 2013, 09:52 AM
minmin12 minmin12 is offline
banned user
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: winnipeg
Posts: 153

Every dog must have a soul
Somewhere deep inside
Where all his hurts and grievances
Are buried with his pride.
Where he decides the good and bad,
The wrong way from the right,
And where his judgement carefully
Is hidden from our sight.
A dog must have a secret place
Where every thought abides,
A sort of close acquaintance that
He trusts in and confides.
And when accused unjustly for
Himself, He cannot speak,
Rebuked, He finds within his soul
The comfort he must seek.
He'll love, tho'he is unloved,
And he'll serve tho'badly used,
And one kind word will wipe away
The times when he's abused.
Altho' his heart may break in two
His love will still be whole,
Because God gave to every dog
An understanding Soul!

I forgot about the Halty and he has the same issue I too lost my precious Zorba
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Old January 24th, 2013, 05:21 PM
doggirl doggirl is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Ontario
Posts: 153
Congratulations on your new addition. It's great that you're doing research...unfortunately you've ended up with the wrong mentors.

Switch Cesar Millan, the Monks of New Skete and Jan Fennel with Sophia Yin, Ian Dunbar and Jean Donaldson. Millan is not respected whatsoever by the behaviourist community; the Monks do have some good ideas but lots and lots of dated and old school methods (it was the Monks who came up with the horrendous and now completely debunked Alpha Roll); Jan Fennell has some good stuff but is very much a "you're not alpha, that's why you have problems" person, promoting the alpha training methods that all behaviourists advise against.

Sophia Yin has a ton of good videos. She is considered one of North America's top dog trainers and veterinary behaviourists


Ian Dunbar has written a lot and has a lot of free info online, including specifically teaching to walk on lead


You'll see that the experts all recommend simply stopping when a dog starts pulling, til he stops and checks in with you. I do this and it does work - some dogs are slower to pick it up, but the thing that may make this fail is not the method or the dog but the handler. Some people want instant results. Instant results usually come only with aversion-based methods which virtually all behaviourists adamantly advise against.

There is one TV show that uses an actual qualified behaviourist, not a dog walker or self-certified "expert" (very easy to read up on the methods some of these guys use - google their names with "abuse" and see all the videos and stories). Victoria Stillwell has a great clip below discussing the two schools of thought re dog training, and there are a ton of other good clips there as well.


There are great books out there, and while I realize you're asking about pulling onlead, the biggest issue is getting in the right place with your dog, and being able to communicate with him. So really the best place to tackle this is in basic training and obedience. Educating your puppy to want to listen to you (as opposed to instilling in him fear of you). When you have that relationship, each individual issue (pulling, mouthing etc) is a minor technical issue as opposed to huge deals that you hear from so many - it's not that the dog is just pulling onlead - it's that the dog has absolutely no respect, won't listen to anything, barges past anyone, is out of control, etc. In those cases, pulling onlead is the least of your problems.

Here is what the experts in animal behaviour think about Cesar Millan and other alpha training methods.


And a great read to really open your eyes about people and dogs, by Jean Donaldson:

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lead, leash, puppy training, walking

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