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Old December 3rd, 2009, 04:41 PM
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Sib.HuskyMom Sib.HuskyMom is offline
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So frustrated with leash pulling!

I am completely and utterly frustrated right now and I desperately need some help and advice.
My huskies are almost 16 months old. They've never been perfect on a leash, but acceptable. By that I mean, I'm fine with tension on the leash if their sniffing and checking things out, as long as they're not pulling.

Tonight however, all h*ll broke lose. I don't understand what's gotten into them. I didn't take them last night (which is very unusual) since it was pouring rain all evening. My husband isn't home this evening so it was just me with both of them.

They were pulling so hard at absolutely everything I felt like I had zero control over them and I'm sure everyone who saw me with them thought the same thing.

They've always gotten excited when they see other people or dogs, but tonight, they were going crazy over absolutely nothing. I tried having the leash so tight that they could not walk 1 inch in front of me - that didn't help. I tried stopping and making them sit every time they pulled - that didn't help (it litterally took me 12 minutes to walk past 5 houses).

I gave up and came home (almost in tears) after only 20 minutes. Usually their walks at night are well over an hour.

I don't know why there were suddenly being so defient, and clearly, I have no idea what I should have done about it.
I haven't talked to them since we got home, which for huskies, is like torcher to them.

Sorry for the long rant, I just really need some help. I can't deal with another walk like this - my limbs are going to come right out of their sockets!
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 04:55 PM
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Do you have a backyard to make them run a bit before their walks ?

I know how hard it is to walk more than one dog at a time.
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 04:57 PM
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just so you know.. its not you! its the breed! they are BRED to pull! and will pull.

I have a husky mix that i did so well in training him to walk beside me.. little did i know i'd get into sledding. and he would rather walk beside me then infront and pull it! lol

I'm not really sure what advice to give you.. i'll have to think about it for a bit
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 05:03 PM
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Dogs feed off eachothers energy, whether it is the kind of energy we owners view as good or bad. Dogs learn through patterned behavior, and sometimes - without us realizing it - they're constantly pushing our buttons to see how much they get away with.

My first suggestion is to start walking them seperatley. If your husband can't walk them with you, then you may have to start walking one at a time until this behavior can be more managable for you.

Quote:
I tried having the leash so tight that they could not walk 1 inch in front of me - that didn't help.
While this seems to be a quick fix for us, it actually only encourages pulling, and makes your dog lean against that pressure we're applying - not to mention it's terrible for your shoulders and can cause a lot of physical discomfort or pain for you. The dog generally will win when we try to reel them in and hold them in a position.

Quote:
(it litterally took me 12 minutes to walk past 5 houses).
This is okay! Sometimes we feel like we need to cover a lot of territory in order for our dogs to get a good walk, but let me assure you - working their MIND will also exhert their physical energy.
If you need to take half an hour, just to get down the street - do it. As long as you are remaining in control, that is the point.

It sounds like up until now, your dogs have led you on walks. Eventually, it was going to reach a point where they felt they could do whatever they want - so what you need to do is start from square one.

Do not walk OUT your door, without feeling like you are in complete control of your dog. That means you should be able to open the door wide, without your dog barging out in front of you. If they do, they are not ready to even leave the house.
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 05:25 PM
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Thanks everyone. I think I've calmed down a bit since we got home .
I actually walk both dogs quite frequently on my own, but I wonder if they were partially acting up because my husband's out of town for a few days? I don't know. Maybe they're just awful teenagers.
Regardless, I'm positive they were picking up on my frustration, which was just making things worse.

Surprisingly, they're actually quite calm when we're getting ready for walks. They'll sit nicely at the front door while I lock up, and they know to automatically sit and wait whenever we cross the street.
It was just all the in-between time that they were so terrible tonight.

I'll keep up with stopping every time they pull, as you suggested Bailey. Looking back, I probably gave up on that too quickly.

Perhaps another try later this evening would do us all some good.

Another thought, is there any collar in particular that is helpful for a breed such as them who love to pull? I have a canny collar for each of them right now, which was very effective in the beginning, but has clearly lost its touch.
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 05:33 PM
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Glad to hear it SHM!

I am actually a huge fan of the martingale collar. It's the only collar I reccomend for training. It's very safe (when fitted properly they can't slip out) and very comfortable for your dog, and you can use it for innterupting unwanted behavior. It's a very forgiving collar. Love them!
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 05:44 PM
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Thanks Bailey.
I was actually thinking about the martingale collar. A friend of mine has it and loves it. I'll have to look into it some more.

Man, their x-mas list just keeps growing and growing....
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 09:44 PM
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Are you trying to get them to heel or walk on a loose leash?

If they aren't lunging, the Canny Collar should still be ok. Personally, I prefer to use the Easy Walk harness that attaches to a leash at the chest: http://www.premier.com/View.aspx?pag...uctdescription

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sib.HuskyMom View Post
I'll keep up with stopping every time they pull...
I think that by stopping, you may be giving them the wrong message. "If you pull, I stop. You stop, I walk, you can pull until I stop again." See what I mean? It would seem like you're inadvertently teaching them to pull. Rather than stopping, how about changing directions? Doesn't matter if you walk up and down your street for the full hour. In a short time, you should be able to go longer and longer distances.

It would be a good idea if you rewarded them every now and again when they do walk on a loose leash (You can give them a treat when they are catching up and still behind you and change directions if they pass you). Rather than telling them what not to do, you're teaching them what to do .

Whenever you have time, you can practice for a few minutes with them individually. Even 5 minutes each, 2 times a day will get them learning quicker. Basement, backyard, front yard, hallway, wherever.
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Old December 4th, 2009, 12:36 AM
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I completely hear your pain. When we had only Luke & leia (when we first got Leia) I tried walking them together (alone). And they saw a dog across a street as I was bent over tying my shoe and they dragged me across the road on my stomach. I only weigh 100 lbs. soaking wet and each dog weighs over 70 lbs! So it was 140 lbs towing capacity! I had road rash on my chest, stomach and legs. It was horrible!

Anyhow I have since learnt my lesson and we are working with Leia (with leash fear aggression) and I walk each of my dogs seperately now. If DH isn't home then I walk 4 times!

What are you using? just a flat collar? I recommend either a Gentle Leader or a No Pull harness. This harness clips to the front of the chest and not on top of their back. Most dogs that wear harnesses that clip to the top of their back will pull.

I agree you should probably work on their leash manners before attempting to take them both out at the same time. Its hard to train 2 dogs at the same time. Good luck!
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Old December 4th, 2009, 05:44 PM
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Even if you use a normal harness - you can hook the leash to the hook on the dogs back and then loop the leash around the chest. When I walk both my newfie girl and my little collie mutt together, they can drag me pretty much wherever they want to go if they wanted to. Malone (the collie mutt) has always been a puller, and I had been looking at either a gentle leader or a halti, and one day he accidently got the leash looped over his chest. I noticed that as soon as he felt any kind of pressure from the leash on his chest, he quit pulling, so I started looping it there on purpose and it has worked like a charm. It even keeps Hazel (the newf) from pulling when I am walking them together since the tandem leash causes Malone to run into her if she tries to pull because his side is shorter when it's looped across his chest.
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Old December 6th, 2009, 05:15 PM
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Are they involved with any pulling activities/ jobs? they are working dogs and usually have a drive to pull. It might help them to learn when it is ok to pull and when it is not. "ok, with this harness on, I pull, and mom cheers, but when I just have a collar on, if I pull, mom busts her bum and fusses."
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Old December 9th, 2009, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sib.HuskyMom View Post
I actually walk both dogs quite frequently on my own, but I wonder if they were partially acting up because my husband's out of town for a few days? I don't know. Maybe they're just awful teenagers.
Regardless, I'm positive they were picking up on my frustration, which was just making things worse.
you also mentioned about not walking them the day before, that aspect would be more likely to have increased their energy levels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sib.HuskyMom View Post

Surprisingly, they're actually quite calm when we're getting ready for walks. They'll sit nicely at the front door while I lock up, and they know to automatically sit and wait whenever we cross the street.
It's not surprising at all, they follow your rules, which seem to be sit when leave the house or cross the street, and pull a bit when walking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sib.HuskyMom View Post

Another thought, is there any collar in particular that is helpful for a breed such as them who love to pull? I have a canny collar for each of them right now, which was very effective in the beginning, but has clearly lost its touch.
I hope you are not going to hate me ; in most cases, a different collar will only buy one some time before the dogs adjust to it...
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Old December 9th, 2009, 12:25 PM
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I would recommend walking them one at a time at first.

I would also recommend a prong collar. Save your breath, those of you who dislike the prong - I've been using them for 10 years, and in certain situations they are wonderful tools when used properly.

I use a simple leash around waist, and when the dog gets in front of me I turn around.

While Martingale collars are great for soft or moderately focused dogs, a dog in the throes of an instinctual explosion requires a tool that gets the point across in a very black and white manner.

Keep in mind that these are tools, and not solutions. They are simply there to provide you an opportunity to break a negative behaviour and attempt to reinforce a positive one.

These are large dogs that could seriously injure someone simply in play or excitement. If they were to ever get away from you and leap on an elderly person, you could find your insurance rates skyrocketing and your dogs labeled "dangerous".
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Old December 9th, 2009, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
While Martingale collars are great for soft or moderately focused dogs, a dog in the throes of an instinctual explosion requires a tool that gets the point across in a very black and white manner
I know you told us to hold our 'breath', but I couldn't after reading this sentence.

While I believe that prong collars when used properly can be an effective training tool sometimes, by no means would I ever resort to using one simply because a dog is difficult.

In fact, prong collars in the wrong or uneducated hands, in an attempt to deal with any kind of behavioral issue while on leash can do MUCH more damage than good.

I've trained hundreds of dogs, all of varying levels of anxiety - aggression - age - and behavioral issues; and have YET to resort to using a prong collar. In fact, most of the times, I'm taking the prong collars off of dogs on a first meeting.

If anyone is relying on a prong collar to get their point across to a dog in a black and white manner, they are trying to skip many steps BEFORE the walk even begins - therefore looking for a quick fix.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 03:32 PM
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I just wanted to give an update on J and T's walking habits.
I'm continuing to use their canny collars and have started the habit of changing directions whenever they start to pull.
My husband thought I was nuts at first - we must have walked back and forth in front of my driveway 10 times before we made it a few houses further However even he is now admitting that this seems to be working.

I don't really care about them walking at a perfect heel. I just want the leash to be relaxed. And I want them to learn that they're not going to get to go where they want by pulling.

It's actually quite amazing how their entire demeanor changes after only a few steps when changing directions. With Timber especially, it really seems to be effective.

So my husband and I are definitely going to be keeping this up.
While we still have lots of work to do, I've definitely noticed an improvement already in the past few days.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and words of encouragement
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Old December 9th, 2009, 03:35 PM
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oh yes, and if my husband has any more business trips in the next little while, I'll be sure to walk the boys individually
Saves my sanity that way
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Old December 9th, 2009, 03:37 PM
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Glad to hear it's working out! If you want a little trick to move the process along a little faster, drop a treat behind you (and your dh as well) as the dogs catch up once you've changed directions. Only every now and then and you'll soon notice they'll learn that staying close by is the best place to be.

Oh, and don't forget to use a marker word such as "yes" or "good" when they're behind you as well. You want them to know when they're doing the right thing.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 03:42 PM
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Good idea LuckyPenny.
I was going to bake up a fresh batch tonight anyway.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 03:48 PM
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What luckypenny said is great except that if you use treats, don't drop them on the ground, but give it to them every time they turn on their own. Just make sure that you signal in a way or another that you are going to turn, and reward them when they do. If you don't use treats, play with them, get them engaged one way or the other.

If you don't want to turn all the time, try changing the pace, from a fast to slow and vice-versa. If you make it into a fun game, they'll pay more attention to you (try signaling the pace change with a stomp or some movement that is easily observed by them).

What you do now with direction changes is exactly what you do when you tell them to wait for the door, it's you being the leader
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Old December 9th, 2009, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bailey_ View Post
I know you told us to hold our 'breath', but I couldn't after reading this sentence.

While I believe that prong collars when used properly can be an effective training tool sometimes, by no means would I ever resort to using one simply because a dog is difficult.

In fact, prong collars in the wrong or uneducated hands, in an attempt to deal with any kind of behavioral issue while on leash can do MUCH more damage than good.

I've trained hundreds of dogs, all of varying levels of anxiety - aggression - age - and behavioral issues; and have YET to resort to using a prong collar. In fact, most of the times, I'm taking the prong collars off of dogs on a first meeting.

If anyone is relying on a prong collar to get their point across to a dog in a black and white manner, they are trying to skip many steps BEFORE the walk even begins - therefore looking for a quick fix.

We're going to have to agree to disagree. It is my opinion that a few very black and white instructions beats several dozen weak corrections any day.

Before instilling the behaviour you want, you need to break or interrupt the negative behaviour.

I find that the prong collar, on certain dogs, is the most effective way to do this, and ultimately the most humane solution. A few moments of discomfort beats hours of frustration.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 04:18 PM
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A few moments of discomfort beats hours of frustration.
Or we can avoid aversive methods altogether. Don't want to join in an argument here, just want visitors to this thread to know that there are other alternatives to teaching dogs that cause no discomfort, frustration, punishment, etc.

Sorry if we're hijacking your thread Sib.HuskyMom .
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Old December 9th, 2009, 06:46 PM
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Well I will agree babysweet, that it's important to send a dog a clear and concise message. Confusion can lead to bigger problems in the long run.

Glad to hear about the progress SibHuskMom!!!
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Old December 9th, 2009, 07:08 PM
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Hey glad things are working out well. It'll take some work but eventually it will get there. And then if you want you can start walking them together again. I still have yet to do that (but now we have 4!!!) and probably will just continue to do 1 on 1. Keep up the good work
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Old December 9th, 2009, 09:18 PM
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I must look like a drunk in our neighbourhood - we often go for a long walk, but we don't get more than 400 yards from the house.
As soon as Bodhi starts moving in front of me (loses me from her peripheral vision), I change direction in the exact opposite direction. Also, if she shows any signs of being focused on something (ears forward, tail high, increasing pace), I will make a 180 turn. Sometimes I'm sure I look incredibly indecisive to people walking by when I'm twirling and spinning and zigzagging across the road. But ya know, it's made a world of difference in how Bodhi comes on a walk with us. I am not using treats in general anymore - just a major big verbal love fest, a quick rub under the chin, a very proud mom, and dinner waiting at the end of the walk. Bodhi probably feels that she's got very fickle leaders, but it keeps their minds very busy, which makes for a relaxed pup.

We also do the 'umbillical' treatment during the day, for an hour here and there... where Bodhi is tied to my waist and she simply has to go where I go, regardless of what she's doing. She's 74 lbs, and only just turned 6 months old, so we're making sure that she doesn't get into the habit of pulling or even remotely thinking she gets to decide where we're going when we're going.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 07:50 PM
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No Pull Harness

Hey, I'm new to this forum, but it sounds like you are doing pretty well with the leash training. I use a No Pull harness which clips on chest, and it has made a world of difference!

My dog is an Australian Shepherd, and because she's a house dog, she gets pretty energetic. I use the trick of changing direction and fast-slow pace, along with the harness, and she's learned to heel quite well.

It now looks like I'm walking the dog, not the other way around!

Keep up the good work with your husky!
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 07:53 PM
Etown_Chick Etown_Chick is offline
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Sib.Husky.Mom
I can totally relate..my Scruffy is a lot smaller than a husky and caused me a great deal of pain when I started leash walking him.
I now take him to the park for a run, THEN leash walk him. I know Cesar would disagree but there's only one of me and eleventeen of him....
Can only do so much, stopping, starting, changing direction, going around trees, standing still and igonring him while he chews the leash in frustration, stop/start/stop/start before we both go insane.
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  #27  
Old January 3rd, 2010, 10:28 PM
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Hmmm i might have another idea or thinking but i dont train my husky for leash walking at all! She is the only one allowed to pull, its her nature and i dont stop it BUT i do wear a special belt and have a special leash! That i also use to run with her and have my hands free! And no one of them gets walked with a collar, that they just wear for the tags!
Max we used treats and we or better i do it like that with Sky also, they do respond very well but i wouldn't let any of the of the leash!

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