My dobie constantly pulls when being walked + sometimes won't come back when running freely!

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Bonez's picture
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My 9 month old dobie (diego) is fantastic. He's really loving, excellent at listening to basic commands, very friendly to other people and dogs (and cats) but...

9 times out of 10 he is really bad for pulling when on his lead , especially in the snow where he seems to get over excited, which makes it worse for me and my partner as he ends up pulling us over on ice etc. Also, the older and stronger he gets, it is becoming more difficult to control him.

Also when I let him off in the field or on the beach he loves it but occasionally refuses to come back on the lead and it he starts to think it's a game of chase or something and it can be a nightmare. Due to this my partner doesn't really like letting him off at all but I'm aware he needs the exercise... and that's a double edged sword for her as it means more pulling.

I'd really appreciate any advice or tips.

Dan

DJ's Dad's picture
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Welcome Dan and Diego. Your problems aren't uncommon, and your sweet little (little?  HAH) doberman can be trained to walk better on a leash AND you can teach a good recall, but both take a lot of patience on your part, and a lot of consistancy in training.  If Diego is food/treat oriented, training can utilize treats to persuade him to comply.  Teaching the 'no pull' or 'loose leash' is sometimes difficult, especially with a very determined young, strong doberman that up to this point has been allowed to pull.  My Ziva was one of those hard headed dogs that thought pulling was much more fun than walking nicely.  There are several approaches to training for a loose leash, or at least better control.  One method is to tell your dog 'lets' go' or whatever phrase you use to begin your walk, and the moment he starts to pull against the leash, you immediately turn the opposite direction and make him follow.  You might have to do a lot of about-turns in succession, but this can make your dog pay attention to you and not so much to everything else.  Another method is similar to this, except you come to a complete stop.  Freeze.  Dont move another inch forward until your dog stops pulling, loosens up the tension on the leash and looks at you.  This is where a good tasty treat comes in handy....as SOON as he looks at you and stops pulling, you pop a small treat in his mouth and tell him what a wonderful guy he is.  Repeat over and over and over again.  Of course, there are training devices that some people opt to use, such as a Gentle Leader head halter, which works on the same principle as a horse halter---where the head turns, the body follows.  You have to be careful using the Gentle Leader, though, and not EVER allow enough leash for the dog to be able to run ahead just to be stopped in his tracks by his head being snapped back in your direction---they have long slender necks and that could do unimaginable damage to their necks and nervous system.  If you use a Gentle Leader, always keep the leash so short that the dog cant possibly move out in front of you.  There is also a prong collar, or pinch collar, but these also should be used after knowing the proper way to put them on (there is a right way and a wrong way) and the correct way to use them.

About the recall---if your dog does not come back when you call him, he should not be off leash in an open area.  Until you teach him to come when you call, you can always use a long line with a snap attached to give him some running space and still maintain control of where he is and keep him from endangering himself.  I've used 25 ft long clothes line rope with a heavy duty snap tied to one end before just to give my dogs some extra room to run until they know how to come back when I call or whistle.  Recall can also be taught using very tasty treats, or his favorite toy if he isnt food motivated.

Good luck.  There are numerous threads in the training section of this forum that you can research to find out what works for others, also.

Lady Kate's picture
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Welcome Bonez and Diego. So glad you're here and you've certainly come to the right place for guidance and wonderful suggestions for just about any and everything Dobe related.

Ziva's Dad is spot on. ( Sofia and I have walked many a mile in one continuous circle) I've heard that the prong collar works very well.

I got a halter for Sofia and she never pulls when we're walking with it on. She's very proud of her royal purple "bustier". Although when we run her on the bike or the golf cart, she is able to safely run as fast as she wants while attached to a long lead.

Good luck with Diego. He's a gorgeous guy!

Bonez's picture
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Thanks a lot 'diva's dad'. He loves treats... and unfortunately pretty much anything he can get in his mouth ha so I'll give that technique a try and also have a better look around the forum. I was considering the prong collar having read a little about it but it's obviously very important to use it correctly... guess we'll see what happens with the treats first.

 

Thanks again!

Bonez's picture
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Thanks Lady Kate!

 

Ziva (not diva, whoops) + Sofia are gorgeous dogs also, they look like characters as much as diego is!

jeshykai's picture
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Ziva's Dad hit it spot on!  Great training tips.  

For me, Steve was just too stubborn to care about how many circles we went in (woo, how much fun that was!) or how many times we stopped and he had to sit, before we'd continue on.  He'd pull himself senseless on the leash.  This started when we first started walking so it wasn't something he developed, he just wanted to go and go NOW.  I have used the prong on many dogs I was training in the past because I often train older dogs who haven't been taught any manners.  It took one quick snap of a correction with the prong and Steve looked at me, shocked, and then walked nicely without the correction again.  However, if I take him off the prong, and put the leash back on his normal collar, he pulls.  So I call the prong his "manners collar" and we use it a lot when I need him to focus on me.  

Do try other methods before you go to the prong.  I don't think if he pulls already the gentle leader will work.  There is another form of a gentle correction made by that company that's a "gentle harness" instead of clipping in the back it clips in front of the shoulders.  It is meant to force them to "break" themselves when you tug on it as it forces pressure against their shoulders.  It worked for me on a shepherd who would pull me for miles and miles.  The prong isn't hard to learn how to use but you have to be aware of its position on the neck, if there's any tugging, and how sharp of a correction and the release you give.

Steve was really good at come when he was younger, now he thinks its a game to run right up to me and past me.  So I bought a rope from the local feed store that's meant for lunging horses.  I take him out to the park and let him run out and then call him in.  As he's running, I'm collecting the leash to me so that when he goes to blow by me he can't and I reward him with pets.  He has no interest in food when we are out in the open space.  It takes time and I'm not sure I'll fully trust him off leash until he's older and a little more focused.  It might be the same with Diego.  

Good luck with the training, its all part of the fun and welcome to the forum.

Happydance's picture
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Hello and Welcome to the Forum!  Your dog is gorgeous!

I know that I'm going to get some flack for this, but Jes, one little point I'm disagreeing with.  Fancy was like Steve, pull pull pull.  She's not being dominate or anything like that, she's just SO happy to be out and about and curious about everything that I couldn't keep her attention, no matter what treats, tricks, whatever I tried (stopping, turning, the usual).  The other day at doggie school, the trainer tried a Gentle Leader on her.  She gave me very explicit instructions on how to use it-----NO CORRRECTIONS like you would with a chain, martingale etc.  I have to say the difference was incredible.  It was like going from riding a barrel racing horse to a dressage horse.  The correction is so subtle that you can hold the leash very gently.  I never ever give her enough leash that she could snap around, only enough to be able to walk without feeling pressure, unless she tries to pull, then it's an immediate release.  I dreaded trying to walk her, now it's a pleasure. She walks so pretty beside me I see smiles on faces of people driving by, and complements from people on foot.  I'm thrilled because now I can get busy with getting exercise myself with my sweet girl next to me.

Control_Freak's picture
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Hello,

we also had a lot of problems with Athena and pulling.  It didn't matter how hard we tried with a flat buckle collar she would pull and pull and pull!  We decided enough was enough and were determined to find a solution.  We put a halti on her and she freaked so then we tried the easy walk harness and it worked quite well but we would still struggle sometimes.  Not to mention that it rubbed her raw under her front legs....so then a trainer recommended a pinch collar and we opted for a plastic one without sharp prongs but rather plastic nubs and like jesykai we call it her working collar!  The other thing we just started using is a doggy back pack.  Not only are you putting a "load on them" you are also giving them a job to do or a purpose on the walk.  make sure you find something that fits well and is padded.  Start off light by putting one water bottle in each side then as you pup gets used to it you can start slowly increasing the weight.  To the dog this will make a 30 min walk equivalent to a 45+ min plus walk.  

 

Jesykai- thanks for the advice on the recall this is something we too need to work on!

 

Lady Kate's picture
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There are many ways to train just as there are many dogs who need training..

What works for one, might not be the solution for others..

The only thing I know for sure is consistency..

Trial and error and error and trial and more trial.. Gotta love it!

Found a new treat for the Diva;

CHEERIOS!! She loves them and will practically stand on her head for one little 'o'.

Now about that recall.....

jeshykai's picture
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Happydance that is GREAT that the gentle leader worked for you guys.  :)  I think it depends on the dog and the person using the tools and I am a firm believer whatever helps you communicate with your dog is the best option.  I'm not sure if Steve would do well on the gentle leader and at this point I've found what works for him and he knows he's working when its on so I wouldn't step back and change it up.  However, Fancy just proved that dogs think differently and that the subtle focus reshifting was good for her.  I have seen the gentle leader work wonders for dogs, I shouldn't have tried to come off like it was prong all the way.

Control_Freak -- Athena is so gorgeous!!  I found the lunge rope gave me the confidence to let Steve test his boundaries but gave me the control to dictate how he reacts when he has more room.  We worked with it in the snow and he was so utterly distracted but it was a step in the right direction.  I think we'll be getting him a backpack too, my friend does that with her jack russell (who was OUT of control) and he struts he's so proud he carries that thing.  Did you just pick one up at a Petco or something?  I haven't really seen any that stood out to me to buy just yet.

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Jesykai- Thank you!  The backpack we just bought is called "outward hound excursion dog backpack"  we got it at Petsmart for 40$  Today was the first day we used it and it really changed her whole attitude along with her being extra tired. 

 

 

jeshykai's picture
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I think I might just have to head back to Petsmart and get something other than Steve's chews tomorrow..! 

Control_Freak's picture
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I don't know how big Steve is or if you can take him with you but Athena is 67 lbs. and the alarge fits just fine with room to grow.

Here is the link to it 

 http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2753840

 

Good Luck!!!

 

Bonez's picture
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Thanks very much everyone for the welcomes and advice. I'm definitely liking the idea of a dog 'weights jacket' - I walked him whilst riding my bike last night and it was great.. on the straight parts but I nearly flew over the handlebars at least 3 times on the corners ha

Bonez's picture
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Also, Lady Kate I will give the Cheerios a go for a little treat haha

Lady Kate's picture
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BTW Bonez.. You might want to try a halter whilst riding Diego on your bike. Sofia has a really strong prey drive and if a rabbit or a squirrel comes into view, she will take off like a shot. The halter is a safer way to go so they don't' hurt their necks. RnD posted a while ago re: bike riding. there is a special devise you can get to keep yourself and your dog safe.. It's here on the forum somewhere, try the search button for 'bike riding".

Control_Freak's picture
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Be careful while running Diego on the hard pavement, he is still young and his bones and joints aren't fully developed.  The constant pounding on hard surfaces can cause damage.  I have heard that you shouldn't run them on pavement until they are 18 months old.  

 

Bonez's picture
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Thanks Lady Kate I will have a look at that device.

 

Control Freak, he does 99% of his running on grass or the beach - don't do more than a mile or so with him on concrete, so hopefully that's okay?!? It's sometimes easy to forget he's still a puppy and not fully developed as he is so big and strong ;-)

skye's picture
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Diesel is almost 3 and I have had him since he was 4 months old.  Walking on leash has always been a challenge for us.  I dreaded walks so much, I would take him to the ballfield and let him run for 45 minutes or so and then try walking, to no avail.  I have spent so much money on different collars, but the only one that works is the haltie.  I also put a backpack on him and booties.  I have been doing this for a few weeks now and this seems to keep him from pulling so much.  Good luck-it takes lots of patience, trial and error.  Now if I could just find him toys he cannot destroy!

Bonez's picture
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I saw something on the dog whisperer he used specifically on a dobie where he had a choke chain and applied it high up the neck on the narrower part and held the dog on a short lead / leash and that seemed to work on the programme... however when I tried it, diego didn't seem to associate choking himself with the fact that he was pulling and he started couching badly so I didn't have the heart to persist attempting it in case he injured himself.

Luckily for me skye, after a log walk - run and we head back home he has usually used enough energy to make that journey a bit more normal, sometimes not pulling at all - to be fair I've still yet to try a couple of suggestion that have already been made on here - but hopefully something will work...