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Old August 25th, 2009, 12:33 PM
lady247 lady247 is offline
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my dog, the ultimate puller

I almost forgot about this wonderful forum, and have been reading a lot of posts related to the issue I'm experiencing with my dog: PULLING! Although advice is plentiful, I’ve tried a lot of the methods and haven’t found anything that has really stuck to my dog. I was hoping to receive more advice on my individual case...

My pup:
-Husky-golden retriever mix
-1 year and 3 months old
-75-80 lbs
-highly distractible
-tons and tons of energy, usually most energetic when pulling during walks!

“Tools” I’ve used:
-martingale collar (currently in use)
-gentle leader (not in use, as he started to pull with it on = very straining on him)
-nylon 6 ft leash (currently in use)

Methods I’ve used:
-taught the heel command
-feeding his dinner kibble as rewards for heeling, treats as well
-stopping immediately when he pulls, not budging until he comes back
-changing direction of walk without any warning
-changing routes frequently so he can’t anticipate the next move
-“touch” command to refocus his attention (rarely works outdoors, only indoors)
-play in backyard prior to walking – this often makes him more energetic! Like a warm-up..
-method of weaving leash across his chest, behind one leg, and through the collar (apologies, i forgot what this method is referred to as)

Some other info:
-he’s fine in offleash parks, where he will return when his name is called, and never strays too far
-a major issue seems to be distraction, as he will pull if you go 20 steps forward, but once you turn around and walk those same 20 steps back to your original location, it will be loose leash! (although not always)
-he understands the heel command, as he returns to our side (usually by walking backwards until he reaches us) but only when he “feels” like doing so!
-this was less of a problem when he was younger, as he didn’t know his own strength. Now he knows how to use his strength, and each method we’ve used only works for about 1-2 weeks now!

I’m hoping that this forum will give me some advice on
a. How to maintain his attention on me during walks/reduce his distractibility
b. How to gain control over his strength, as I am 115 lbs and if he really wanted to pull me across the street, he could!
c. methods that have worked for your dog, perhaps some info on short-term professional training, long leashes, etc?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I love the concept of walking my dog, but enjoying the walk has become a totally foreign reality for me!
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Old August 25th, 2009, 12:51 PM
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Welcome! I have seen the Cesar Millan Illusion colllar and it works fantastic! I have a very strong dog and I use a prong collar. However I am just trying a new Martingale to see if it helps.

Good Luck!
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Old August 25th, 2009, 01:18 PM
friend2animals friend2animals is offline
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Huh... I've never heard of the prong collar. I have a HuskyX, who has strong tendencies to pull. I have used harnesses in the past that have worked.

As long as it doesn't cause any pain or discomfort to the dog, then I am all for it!
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Old August 25th, 2009, 02:39 PM
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Melinda Melinda is offline
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I use the gentle leader harness and use the front clip on it, so when she pulls it sort of tightens across her chest and turns her a bit, to get his attention on you, talk...a lot to him, I use to say "watch me brina" and when she'd look at her I'd treat her....over and over and over again, time and patience will win out
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Old August 25th, 2009, 03:31 PM
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Is it possible for you to see a trainer in your area? It sounds like you're trying a wide variety of methods, which is great, but sometimes a proffesional can pinpoint what we're doing wrong and help us further, even when sometimes we don't realize it or think we're doing anything wrong. Even our posture can affect how a dog views us, as well as if we speak to the dog too soon, or attempt to correct him too late.
If your dog knows the heel command, that is a great step, but obviously his attention is easily redirected when he gets bored of whatever you're doing and wherever you're going and thus is easily distracted by other things (dogs/people, etc.)

Being obedient inside your house and being obedient outside the house are two very different things.

I'm a huge fan of the martingale collar (as probably everyone here knows) but it HAS to be used properly, just like any training tool. It's a fairly forgiving collar when you don't know how to use it to innterupt unwanted behavior, but it's VERY effective when you can have someone show you how to use it properly and safely. Like any collar/harness, if you're unable to learn how to redirect unwanted behavior, you're essentially not going to have success. And of course, your goal is to not have to rely on these training tools in order to help your dog.

Huskies are known for their high energy, so is it possible for you to go biking/jogging with him, or put him in classes like flyball or agility? Generally huskies need a lot of energy-burning excercises, and the best way is to work their mind as well as their body.

Are you able to have a proffesional come meet your dog, even for a few starter lessons to get you back on track?
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  #6  
Old August 25th, 2009, 08:13 PM
lady247 lady247 is offline
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Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone!

I will be looking at each, although I am leaning towards getting a private lesson or two with a professional trainer, who I hope would be able to recommend the proper combination of tools and methods for my particular dog.

Does anyone have a ballpark rate for how much these lessons would cost? It's my understanding that they are usually rated per hour. For reference, I live in Toronto.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 09:25 PM
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It's completley different from trainer to trainer. If you have a price range, call a few - make sure that you're checking references and ensuring that they'll be training the way YOU believe a dog should be trained. There are many different methods, so don't just jump on the first trainer you see. Many local rescues or vet clinics can usually refer you to someone reputable.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 09:57 PM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melinda View Post
I use the gentle leader harness and use the front clip on it, so when she pulls it sort of tightens across her chest and turns her a bit, to get his attention on you, talk...a lot to him, I use to say "watch me brina" and when she'd look at her I'd treat her....over and over and over again, time and patience will win out
That's how we do it with our guys. I just wish they made the harness in Lucky's size .

We also do allow our dogs to sniff and wander ahead, behind, alongside of us. Only we've put a command to it and have designated spots and they know to sit before they head off. Walking directly beside a human doesn't come naturally for all, if not most, dogs and takes lots of concentration on their part to learn. I think there's nothing wrong with breaking up the lessons during a walk to allow them to de-stress and do what dogs do, use their noses to read what's happening in town .
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Old August 26th, 2009, 08:21 AM
lady247 lady247 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckypenny View Post
That's how we do it with our guys. I just wish they made the harness in Lucky's size .
is this the gentle leader harness you are referring to? http://www.premier.com/View.aspx?pag...uctdescription


we do let him sniff around on the grass and don't expect him to be by our side all the time, but what is particularly difficult is when he is REALLY curious about something, he knows he is strong enough to pull very hard to that particular area. that's when walking him becomes very stressful! thus, a way to control that abundance of energy during those super curious times would be helpful.

if anyone is reading this thread and has worked with any trainers in Toronto for this issue, please send contact info my way!
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Old August 26th, 2009, 08:41 AM
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I personally would not use a harness for my dog but thats because of his strength and size. When Winston pulled me across a busy intersection to see another pupper I decided then and there that he would never do that again for his safety and mine. So the prong worked much better at the time. If a prong collar is properly used it can be very effective.

I think the harness (which we have used) just gives the dog tha ability to use its chest to pull...just my opinion.

So have you tried a halty? and a martingale collar?
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"UNTIL ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, PART OF THEIR SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED"
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 August 26th, 2009, 08:48 AM
lady247 lady247 is offline
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I am currently using a martingale collar and have used the gentle leader halti/head collar

I don't know a lot about prong collars at the moment. Can you elaborate on how you use it effectively, in order to gain some control? I'm looking to gain control to increase the effectiveness his training.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 08:53 AM
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Melinda Melinda is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckypenny View Post
That's how we do it with our guys. I just wish they made the harness in Lucky's size .

We also do allow our dogs to sniff and wander ahead, behind, alongside of us. Only we've put a command to it and have designated spots and they know to sit before they head off. Walking directly beside a human doesn't come naturally for all, if not most, dogs and takes lots of concentration on their part to learn. I think there's nothing wrong with breaking up the lessons during a walk to allow them to de-stress and do what dogs do, use their noses to read what's happening in town .
brina is 70 pounds and we only use a medium, I used a large on a st bernard, how large or small is Lucky?
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Old August 26th, 2009, 08:56 AM
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The style of the martingale is the same style set up as a prong but the prong collar has edges that form a circle and when pressure is applied it is applied as a pinch so to speak. Its not a collar made for pulling a dog, dragging and proper use of corrections are a must. But what I have found is that I have never had to correct Winston with it. It applies enough pressure for him to immediately slow his pace and not pull. Here is an article and a picture but please read the link as it explains it better than I can.

Funny now that Winston is almost 10 he is slowing down and he rarely pulls anymore so we are going back to a martingale. No matter what people say about a prong collar or how it looks it really ishow you use and it and what works best for us. I have had a few people comment on it and it because of how it looks but I have control of my dog and he doesnt walk me..I walk him....and most importantly is doesnt hurt him. I think choke chains are worse than the prong.

ANyway enough of my bable here you go:

http://www.fsas.ca/DogInfo/Training/...Collar_Use.htm

Cindy
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"UNTIL ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, PART OF THEIR SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED"
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 August 26th, 2009, 11:30 PM
SbrbnHstlr SbrbnHstlr is offline
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Martingales can be used as an effective training tool. You'll have to seek for someone to teach you how to use it in a correct manner. All the tools you have listed are effective training tools. You just need some proper instruction on how to use them.

I personally don't believe in prong collars, as they definitely do not "pinch" so to speak. When the dog pulls or the handler pulls the prongs in the collar press harshly against the dogs neck. I'm not against corrective training methods by any means, but the prong collar I find to be excessive.

I'm not sure if the Oakville/Mississauga Border is too far for you to attend classes. But, BRB K-9 will solve your pulling problems guarenteed by the end of your 6 week course.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 12:40 AM
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MyBirdIsEvil MyBirdIsEvil is offline
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You've already gotten some good advice.

Your dog is still very young. I wouldn't expect him to calm down until about 4-5 yrs old. High drive breeds can be VERY persistent pullers.

Have you thought about actually gotten him into some kind of pulling activity? He can learn that there are appropriate times to pull when in certain equipment but not when on leash. It will also help to exercise and calm him down rather than using the walk for exercise which is what's going on now.

It's really really really super hard to wear out young high energy dogs. And think about it this way, huskies are bred to pull for HOURS so what you think is a good amount of exercise probably isn't.
When Walnut was around that age we could go to the river and she'd swim in the current for about 6 hrs before she got worn out and decided to quit. She can still swim for hours without getting fatigued.
Swimming is a really good activity btw, it's good cardio without stressing the joints.

Quote:
-play in backyard prior to walking – this often makes him more energetic! Like a warm-up.
Yeah, you would have to be doing a very strenuous activity for a fairly long time to wear a young high energy dog out enough to prevent the pulling.

Have you tried running with him? Sometimes it helps to just speed up the pace a little bit, and then after he's a bit winded work on the not pulling at a walk again.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 07:34 AM
lady247 lady247 is offline
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As with every situation, there are limitations that I wish didn't exist! For example, I would love to let my dog swim and run around for hours, but my current neighbourhood in the suburbs is not suitable for either (lack of dog beaches, lack of offleash parks). However, any chance I get I do drive him to beaches/parks and let him expend his energy. But I definitely agree that it'll be hard to significantly reduce his energy and the urge to pull, but I will keep trying! Suggestions like jogging and pulling activities are very interesting and I will definitely look into it, and will be glad to receive any more tips on activities that wear your dogs out!
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Old August 27th, 2009, 12:52 PM
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I totally understand that sometimes our urban lifestyles make it hard to accomodate our dogs needs. But as was suggested, there could be other options for you. Are you able to put your dog into some agility classes? Hire a dog walker? Put your dog into daycare for an afternoon/morning/or entire day, at least once through the week? Just remember you have options out there - don't let yourself get too overwhelmed at the prospect of being his sole 'energy burner'.

Also, wearing your dogs energy out, will be ten times more effective if you can also wear his *mind* out. When dogs have to think while they excercise, they become tired twice as fast. You can also play interesting games with your dog inside your home - obviously they won't burn his energy to the extent even close to what you need, but with a high energy breed like the husky, it's great to keep them occupied. You can play games of hide and seek, having him sit/stay in a room while someone watches him as you run and hide yourself - or one of his toys. We try to play this game with our two dogs after their evening walk, and by the end of the night when we're all ready to settle down and relax - so are they!
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Old August 27th, 2009, 01:04 PM
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I also used a prong for my dog, he was 80lbs when we got him at 6 months old and pulled like a mac truck. If used correctly they are a great training tool, now he hardly has to wear it as the training with it carried over to whatever collar he wear now, with or without a leash. Now I only have to put it on him when we are going into high stimulus areas like a street fair or something. But thanks too the prong I now get looks from people when they see me walking my 150+lb dog and correcting him with a finger tap on his back.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 01:26 PM
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Melinda Melinda is offline
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another way to use up extra energy is to get a backpack for your dog, make sure to put even weight in each side, for your dogs size I'd start with say...two bottles of water on each side, more if needed, and on a side note, my martingale collar is part chain, I love it, just the quick "noise" of a jerk reminds her to stay in line.
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Old August 28th, 2009, 07:58 AM
lady247 lady247 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melinda View Post
another way to use up extra energy is to get a backpack for your dog, make sure to put even weight in each side, for your dogs size I'd start with say...two bottles of water on each side, more if needed, and on a side note, my martingale collar is part chain, I love it, just the quick "noise" of a jerk reminds her to stay in line.
Interesting suggestion! I've seen a handful of dogs with 'backpacks' but have never thought about using them as a way to expend energy. Does it help much, and how do dogs generally like carrying things on their back?

I tried something different yesterday night with my dog. Instead of playing hide and seek with him on the main floor only, as we typically do, I allowed him access to the basement as well, so it was a 2-floor game. Going up and down the stairs AND using his brain to find me resulted in a dog that was definitely more tired! after resting a bit, we went out for a walk and though pulling was present, it was less 'urgent' and only minor reminders were needed. at least i know this is an effective way to burn off some excess energy!
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Old August 28th, 2009, 10:41 AM
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Yup brain games are great...good for those rainy or really cold days. I've noticed with my dog when we start something like that, no panting but by the time we're finished she's panting, almost like she'd been for a run.

I have a husky/shepherd mix and she can pull me off my feet if she wants to!! She's 3 now though and one thing I've found with her that works well (this of course depends of where you are when walking) is a long line. She knows how to heel but she likes a little bit of space, so if a give her a bit more line, say 10 ft or so, she walks along nicely.

Two things I've taught her is 'come back' and 'wait' Very useful if I've given her the whole length of her line. If you teach come back before they hit the end then you don't get your arm pulled out of it's socket!!
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Old September 7th, 2009, 05:35 PM
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I personally don't like harnesses for walking, especially for dogs that don't know how to heel. You cannot really correct the behaviour, and harness encourages the dog to pull.

I do love prong collars for larger dogs, ONLY when they are used PROPERLY. When not used PROPERLY they are ineffective!

This is how they should be fitted:
http://leerburg.com/fit-prong.htm

If the collar slips down the neck, another link has to be taken out. In no way it should be used to hurt the dog or stop him from pulling, it is used to CORRECT! Which means you you don't let the dog pull while wearing a pron collar, but rather correct the unwanted behaviour by a sharp movement of the hand and relax the hand. There should never be tnetion on the leash. If the dog behaves, reward with treats and praise.

It looks intimidating and to some even cruel but it is a great training tool when used properly. It's purpose is to correct, not to punish, not to cause pain but to CORRECT.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 06:11 PM
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While I agree (mostly) with everything you've said, I also believe that Prong collars should be used as an extreme last resort. And even then, I personally try to avoid it at all costs and have never ever had to use one on any dog.

There are MUCH more effective ways to teach a dog how to correctly walk on the leash without resorting to the prong, in even the hardest cases with dogs where pulling has become a learned behavior.

Not to mention that some harnesses do NOT encourage pulling. (Your basic flat harness will, especially with certain breeds, yes.)
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Old September 7th, 2009, 09:54 PM
undo undo is offline
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While I agree (mostly) with everything you've said, I also believe that Prong collars should be used as an extreme last resort. And even then, I personally try to avoid it at all costs and have never ever had to use one on any dog.

There are MUCH more effective ways to teach a dog how to correctly walk on the leash without resorting to the prong, in even the hardest cases with dogs where pulling has become a learned behavior.

Not to mention that some harnesses do NOT encourage pulling. (Your basic flat harness will, especially with certain breeds, yes.)

I personally don't see the prong collar as a last resort, but rather as a training tool. I don't only use it for walking but obedience which does include heeling, later on moving to regular flat collar and off-leash training. What it does for me, is let the dog know that if the first command is ignored a correction will follow, which results in dog that will obey the command without repetition. And owners of breeds with high prey drive cannot afford a dog with selective hearing.

I do agree with you that there are differen methods, and I have nothing against that. As long as the dog is corrected properly when it is not behaving appropriately, it doesn't matter what is used. But it's much easier to properly correct a larger dog with a prong collar, as larger breeds, dogs with longer coats, bully breeds have higher pain tolerance, and a correction with a martingale collar or a choke collar (if used properly, more often than not, it's not) will not have the same effect.

I don't think there is one right way which is more or less effective, what might work for someone with one dog, might not be appropriate for someone else with another dog. Some dogs enjoy working with people despite the distractions, other dogs are more independent, some have higher prey drives and have harder time focusing on the person when there is a distraction.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by undo View Post
I personally don't see the prong collar as a last resort, but rather as a training tool. I don't only use it for walking but obedience which does include heeling, later on moving to regular flat collar and off-leash training. What it does for me, is let the dog know that if the first command is ignored a correction will follow, which results in dog that will obey the command without repetition. And owners of breeds with high prey drive cannot afford a dog with selective hearing.

I do agree with you that there are differen methods, and I have nothing against that. As long as the dog is corrected properly when it is not behaving appropriately, it doesn't matter what is used. But it's much easier to properly correct a larger dog with a prong collar, as larger breeds, dogs with longer coats, bully breeds have higher pain tolerance, and a correction with a martingale collar or a choke collar (if used properly, more often than not, it's not) will not have the same effect.

I don't think there is one right way which is more or less effective, what might work for someone with one dog, might not be appropriate for someone else with another dog. Some dogs enjoy working with people despite the distractions, other dogs are more independent, some have higher prey drives and have harder time focusing on the person when there is a distraction.
I totally respect what you're saying. I absolutley agree that the prong collar is a training tool (when properly used) but I do think many people use this tool if overwhelmed by their dog, especially when attempting to train a large breed dog, or those (as you mentioned) with higher pain tolerance.

I disagree however with the thought that it makes training these breeds 'easier'. I've seen many dogs spin and snap while wearing a prong collar and that gets only more dangerous the larger the breed. Not to mention, I've also seen many owners use the prong to mask their dogs behavioral tendancy to pull while on the leash, which is simply not getting to the root of the problem and can lead to other problems like leash frustration, which can eventually turn to leash aggression.

While I respect people who use them and find that they work for them and their dog, I can't support the choice to use the prong collar on the basis that they have a 'big strong dog' that pulls, especially when no other training methods have been tested with consistancy, dedication, and patience.

It's just my personal opinion that regardless of a dogs tolerance for pain, or distraction levels, or prey drives, or size, or breed, that we can find alternative methods to get the result we want without having to pinch the skin of the dog in order to achieve that 'distraction' or 'innteruption' for training.
Which is why I stand by my statement that the prong should only be used as a last resort, and at the reccomendation of a trainer who can show the owner how to properly use it.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by lady247 View Post
is this the gentle leader harness you are referring to? http://www.premier.com/View.aspx?pag...uctdescription


we do let him sniff around on the grass and don't expect him to be by our side all the time, but what is particularly difficult is when he is REALLY curious about something, he knows he is strong enough to pull very hard to that particular area. that's when walking him becomes very stressful! thus, a way to control that abundance of energy during those super curious times would be helpful.
Yes, that is the harness we use on our dogs.

When our dogs really want to sniff something, we ask them for a sit, then ask them to heel until we reach it (the dog has to be taught the heel command first). If they continue pulling, then the other way we go. Chances are the next time we come across something they really want to see, they wait for my ok and walk nicely towards it alongside us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winston View Post
I personally would not use a harness for my dog but thats because of his strength and size.
The Easy-walk is not a regular harness that clips on the back (Lucky would pull like a dog on a mission with one of these on too). IT clips on the chest so when a dog pulls in one direction, it actually makes them go in the opposite direction. So what they learn? Pull, and you'll be directed elsewhere. But, even this harness is just a tool...the handler, not the tools used, had to teach the dog to walk nicely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melinda View Post
brina is 70 pounds and we only use a medium, I used a large on a st bernard, how large or small is Lucky?
He has a very deep chest. Medium is too small, and large is too big .

Quote:
Originally Posted by undo View Post
I personally don't like harnesses for walking, especially for dogs that don't know how to heel. You cannot really correct the behaviour, and harness encourages the dog to pull.
Again, not the Easy Walk. And you use corrections with a prong ? We have a strong dog with a super high prey drive...using harsh corrections would have him obey me out of fear of pain...not because he respects and understands what's being asked of him.
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  #27  
Old September 9th, 2009, 07:13 PM
SbrbnHstlr SbrbnHstlr is offline
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I agree with Bailey that a prong collar is overkill. I am by no means against correctional collars on the other hand. To me a prong is a lazy way of training a dog.

LuckyPenny:

If trained properly with corrections, the dog is not obeying out of fear. Correctional training falls in with the dogs natural inhibition of correction. The dog while growing up, received discipline from it's mother through biting of the neck. This can be imitated with a correctional collar, and should be combined with physical praise. Which is why alot of PetStore/PuppyMill dogs react so negatively to a correction. Because they were never taught this method of thinking by their mothers.

It is important to never use your hand while correcting a dog. This is how a dog gets the idea to bite someone. If the dog has NEVER known physical touch as correction(even using your hand to push on the dogs butt to make him sit), he will never fear the physical touch.

I've known dogs who have been trained with/out treats and/or with/out corrections, who have bit people. 95% of the those dogs owners, had admitted to using the hand/physical touch to correct the dog in one way or another.
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  #28  
Old September 9th, 2009, 07:17 PM
SbrbnHstlr SbrbnHstlr is offline
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lady247:

I feel first post was overshadowed a bit by the other discussions going on in this thread. If you have your own means of transportation I'd highly recommend you check Sherri Davis @ BRB K9.
Shes located 30 minutes outside of Toronto in Oakville.
I and she will as well, guarantee a dog that doesn't pull at the end of your course with her.
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  #29  
Old September 10th, 2009, 07:33 AM
brecker brecker is offline
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I will probably guess at two issues.

-The dog isn't getting enough exercise coupled with the notion that you are not the Alpha in this relationship. Anything with Husky in the blood needs constant exercise.

I will guarantee if both of these were met, the dog would walk perfectly. Good luck!!
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