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Old July 26th, 2008, 03:37 PM
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LaurenBev LaurenBev is offline
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in need of help making my coonhound stop pulling

I just adopted a rescued Bluetick Coonhound yesterday, and i already love him a lot, but his amazing strength has be scared for his wellbeing and mine. When he's on a leash and a bunny or other small animal happens to hop by, he goes berzerk and chases after it with such force that I am unable to stop him and he literally drags me behind him. So far, nothing terrible has happened, but I'm afraid he's going to pull my arm out of its socket, or get away from me and get into danger - there is a busy road nearby. Is there anyone who's used one of those 'gentle leaders' on their coonhound? Is it effective, or is there nothing I can do to discourage my otherwise wonderful dog from dragging me all over the place? Any advice? I'm kindof scared to take him out for walks, given his brute strength and my inability to control him when he's in 'hunt mode'
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Old July 26th, 2008, 09:59 PM
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Lissa Lissa is offline
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Originally Posted by LaurenBev View Post
I just adopted a rescued Bluetick Coonhound yesterday, and i already love him a lot, but his amazing strength has be scared for his wellbeing and mine. When he's on a leash and a bunny or other small animal happens to hop by, he goes berzerk and chases after it with such force that I am unable to stop him and he literally drags me behind him. So far, nothing terrible has happened, but I'm afraid he's going to pull my arm out of its socket, or get away from me and get into danger - there is a busy road nearby. Is there anyone who's used one of those 'gentle leaders' on their coonhound? Is it effective, or is there nothing I can do to discourage my otherwise wonderful dog from dragging me all over the place? Any advice? I'm kindof scared to take him out for walks, given his brute strength and my inability to control him when he's in 'hunt mode'

Congrats on your new addition and thank you for adopting a hound!

How old is your hound? Have you looked into training courses? Do you have places to walk him that are safe (ie: fenced in)?? What are you walking him on right now?

Since you've had him for such a short period of time, I am sure you both have a lot of settling and foundations to lay. It's also likely that he was understimulated for much of his past, so wildlife is a HUGE thing right now but may gradually lose its appeal. Obviously, a hound is always going to be pretty prey drive but you can easily "harness" that drive with patience, consistency and motivational training!!!

While head harnesses tend to take immediate effect (quick fix) you need to be prepared to do additional training to ensure that it doesn't become a permanent fixture! If you are worried about him slipping away, you may want to look into a martingale collar or a well-fitted harness. If you choose to use a head harness, I'd encourage you to use 2 leashes - one for the head harness and one on his collar or harness so that you don't become dependent on the head harness alone. Either that or "aggressively" reward all loose leash walking on the head halter so that you can fade it quickly!

Dogs pull because it works... So really the simple way to cure pulling is to never allow it. The dog doesn't get to walk unless he is walking on a loose leash! It's definately easier said than done but it is truly the only way to ensure that pulling is no longer self-rewarding. A head harness can help with this because it gives you rewardable behaviour.
It's important to start with baby steps - so start walking your Coonhound around your house, where there are minimal distractions and therefore more chances at earning a reward (and learning what works!). When my hound turned 9 months, his loose leash walking went out the window - most sessions I couldn't get out of the driveway without him pulling! I had to get pretty creative about exercising him without allowing any pulling!
I prefer to teach loose leash walking as a position - so working without a leash can often be far more useful (because you have to engage your dog and learn how to motivate him, rather than rely on the leash to keep him in position!).

It is also important to work on self-control behaviours - especially since he is so prey driven. Work on "leave it", "watch me" and "stays" and also teach behaviours that redirect his focus elsewhere like "touch" (your hand) or a "front" command (where he turns into you). It may also help to set up a "tempting" situation but keep it easy enough that you can still reward him. For example, place a stuffed toy in the distance and walk towards it. Make sure you stay for enough back that your Coonhound doesn't get overexcited. Reward for any and all calm behaviour - if he is a star, move closer. If he isn't phased at all, you may need a volunteer who can help you rig a realistic situation that your coonhound falls for - but that still allows you to maintain control and set him up for success.

Probably one of the best things you can do right now is simply spend time with your dog. Observe him and learn what motivates him. If your hound is anything like mine, exercise and especially sniffing/hunting is VITAL so you need to ensure that he has plenty of time for all of that, on top of his mental stimulation.

Good Luck!

BTW - I cannot wait to see pictures!
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Old July 28th, 2008, 02:55 PM
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LaurenBev LaurenBev is offline
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thanks Lissa

Thank you for your suggestions. I think we're going to enroll in some obediance classes to get started. Leo (my sweet coonhound-pic attached) seems to have had some sort of training in his past, because he is very well behaved in many ways, (doesn't beg, doesn't jump, perfectly housebroken) he just doesn't seem to know any commands except 'sit.'

I think that obediance classes will help us a lot, and will be great for bonding. I get the sense that he's very smart and I'm looking forward to being able to work with him to get some basic commands down. I'm just unsure of how to get started - he doesn't seem to be the least bit interested in obeying me unless I've got food in my hand. So, classes will benefit both of us.

He does have a VERY difficult time listening when we're outside - I can't even get him to make eye contact. He's way too intrigued by the sights and scents all around him.

I walk him twice a day but we haven't been able to go to the dog park yet because he isn't registered yet - i'm still awaiting the arrival of his papers, by mail, proving he's up on all his shots. Our yard is not fenced, and I don't feel safe letting him off leash.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 03:05 PM
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Luvmypitgirls Luvmypitgirls is offline
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Oh he's stunning

Obiedience classes will be great for you and your dog. I wish you all the very best!

Thank you for adopting him, stay positive, training is a process, don't give up on him and I promise he won't give up on you!

Did I say he's stunning...oh yeah I guess I did...
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Old July 28th, 2008, 03:14 PM
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Dog Dancer Dog Dancer is offline
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Leo is gorgeous - you're both lucky to have found each other. I agree that obedience training is the first step. It's hugely beneficial to bonding and respect. It teaches you more than the dog. I have a lab X who loves to pull and we use a halti and lots of treats. I keep cookies in my pockets to distract her in extreme situations, and it works well. Leo will get the idea of paying more attention to you as he settles in to his new life. Right now it's all just so darn new and interesting - how could he not be totally fixated on finding out all about it. Your patience will be rewarded in time. Thank you fo rescuing him, you'll never regret it. When looking for an obedience class, ask to go and watch one in progress. Some store settings are awful, the trainers are just staff and have no training experience, and any class that isn't entirely positive reinforcement is not a good plan.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 06:36 PM
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LaurenBev LaurenBev is offline
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obediance class

Thank you - we also think he's a very handsome boy. We just love him - he's got such a personality. Thanks for the advice on training class - I will def visit a class before I sign us up.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 07:57 PM
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Winston Winston is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurenBev View Post
Thank you for your suggestions. I think we're going to enroll in some obediance classes to get started. Leo (my sweet coonhound-pic attached) seems to have had some sort of training in his past, because he is very well behaved in many ways, (doesn't beg, doesn't jump, perfectly housebroken) he just doesn't seem to know any commands except 'sit.'

I think that obediance classes will help us a lot, and will be great for bonding. I get the sense that he's very smart and I'm looking forward to being able to work with him to get some basic commands down. I'm just unsure of how to get started - he doesn't seem to be the least bit interested in obeying me unless I've got food in my hand. So, classes will benefit both of us.

He does have a VERY difficult time listening when we're outside - I can't even get him to make eye contact. He's way too intrigued by the sights and scents all around him.

I walk him twice a day but we haven't been able to go to the dog park yet because he isn't registered yet - i'm still awaiting the arrival of his papers, by mail, proving he's up on all his shots. Our yard is not fenced, and I don't feel safe letting him off leash.

First off! gorgeous!

Welcome to pets.ca!!

Classes is a great place to start! Best moeny I ever spent! have to tell you though its not for the dog its for you! really you will see! Did you say food motivated!! they all are!! no thats great because thats what will be happening in obediance classes..lots and lots of treats! Outisde you are on his turf! thats one that will come afte he learns some basic obediance! its tough till then! (my guy used to dig up my plants and prounce around the yard with them in his mouth all so proud! and I couldnt really run after him cause he would think its a game!!!! )

If he is not making eye contact then that probably means he knows where he stands in the pecking order! or perhaps he is just not sure yet! alot of dogs do not like to make eye contact! thats a great one I learned in class...getting the dog to look at you! I hear ya about off leash! I cant bring myself to do it unless its fenced yard! I could not forgive myself if my dog got away!


Enough rambling! Good luck!
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