How do you handle puppy pulling on the leash while walking?

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newtodogs's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-28

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How do you handle this? Blade (13 weeks) most of time is excited, especially if there are other dogs in our pack, and wants to run (pull). I do not want him to learn to pull, nor I do want to jerk him every time.

We have stayed behind, to leave a big enough distance between un and other dogs, so that Blade do not rush towards them and pull.

What's you best practices? Does pulling come with puppy age? Does it ever stop, or does it become a bad habit and continue?

KevinK's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-15

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If he pulls, just turn around and go the other way.  Do it EVERY time he pulls.  If it means you never leave the front of your house for 2 months, then that's where you walk.  

cisco9510's picture
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Joined: 2010-11-10

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Are you putting him in a heel? If so make sure you are holding the leash (this per my trainer- Cisco is still pulling for me when I walk both of them and cant do a proper heel with him) looped around right wrsit and hold it in your hand as well- slack leash across your body but always hold in your left hand a couple feet up from pup- when he is pulling just give him a little "pop" upwards - not too hard. Raven walks beautifully now... only a few pops and she stopped all pulling...  The about-turn (probably what Kevin is talking about) works too- just w/ no warning do a quick turn and go the other way...

Are you going to do any classes? If so you will learn things- He is still so young if you think about it- Cisco is 6.5 old and is finally getting things- It will all come together just work at it!

newtodogs's picture
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cisco, we started puppy classes last Monday, but teacher got stuck in traffic and we sat in the older dog class. We are going today for another class.
 It's click & treat method. I am just now learning to hold everything in my hands- clicker, baggie with treats, single treat in hand that's ready to give and  leash with pup. It's a handful, I tell ya.

Thanks Kevin, I will try that.

Wolfgirl_121's picture
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Joined: 2010-11-08

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I do the Victoria Stillwell method... FANNY PACK!! lolz

I carry a small purse and hook the leash to my belt, that way I only have to hold the single treat and clicker, but still have the baggie and leash readily available.

When walking, Skye has a harness until she figures she's not supposed to pull. Mandy's method of "heel" is what I use... idk if there is any other way.

DJ's Dad's picture
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Joined: 2010-10-04

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There are several different methods to getting your pup to stop pulling.  Kevin mentioned a really good method. Another method would be to just stop dead in your tracks until he stops pulling and leaves some slack in the leash.  Other people use a treat in their hand to coax the dog to stay close beside them while walking.  With Ziva, I had to end up going to a prong collar to keep her from pulling on the leash.  There are times when we go for walks 'just for her' and I allow her to roam, sniff, stop, to her heart's content and dont insist that she walk right beside me.  I let her have the full length of the flexi lead and we just mosey along soaking in all the surroundings.  Other times, we go walking "just for me" and when I put the prong collar on her, she knows that playtime is over...it's serious walking now.  Usually after about 10 minutes of walking w/ the prong collar, I can switch the leash clip over to her flat collar and remove the prong and she is still in the zone.  Different dogs sometimes need different means to approach the same problem, but I'm sure that if you're already enrolled in classes, your instructor can give you some good advice, too.

sweetpea's picture
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Joined: 2010-10-25

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There is actually a really great thread on here that describes how to do the "about face" method, i believe it's called "koehler method for pay attention."  It's from a book called the koehler method of guard dog training, and it works really really well!  I've been meaning to get that book but it's pretty expensive.  The thread actually describes how to leash train an older pup or dog who has exhausted all other methods of heel training and is a real trouble case.  It might sound a little harsh but I used a "gentler" version on Dakota and she had it down within 2 days after pulling terribly before!

On a side note - I've mentioned before that she doesn't have the greatest leash manners, but that's my fault for not being consistent enough.  It's easy to get lazy, especially when you're in the country and can generally let her go off leash.  But if I practiced this every day she would be a perfect darling! 

Paisley's picture
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Joined: 2011-01-30

I had issues with Paisley pulling, and I tried EVERYTHING (except corrective collars). I was about to give up and use a pinch/choke collar when I was taught to clicker train a loose lead. She had it down by the end of the first practice. Not to mention that it was FUN! I wasn't frustrated with turning around, and turning around, and turning around or waiting, and waiting, and waiting. She picked up on it SO fast! Now, I only have minor problems (when we're over her threshold, but she's getting SO much better with practice!)

Here is how we did it, start without distractions and slowly move your way to having the other dogs around (distance at first, then closer) and you'll have success. Use a high quality treat too. I use cut-up hot-dogs ($.87 baby! Oh yeah...):

1. Find some kind of markers for yourself and collect about 5 of them (I use old butter-tub lids, but it can be anything that stands out to you).

2. Place these markers approx 3'-4' apart (at first) depending on the stride length of your puppy.

3. Give a start command. (I use "lets go").

4. Begin walking at a fast pace but STOP at the first marker and click/treat.

5. (this is important) AS THE DOG IS EATING say "lets go" and continue walking at a quick speed.

6. Stop at the next marker just long enough to click/treat and say "lets go".

7. Begin walking again AS THE DOG IS EATING. Don't wait.

8. At the end of the markers, make a u-turn and go to the next marker. Click/treat if your dog looks at you while turning.

8. Click/Treat EVERY time your dog looks at you during this excersise. You want to teach her that while your walking loose-lead, she should be paying attention to you're stopings and goings. She should stop with you, walk with you, and keep from zoning in on anything else.

You'll be amazed at how fast they catch on to this little game. The key is to start spreading the markers further and further apart as she catches on (and slowly add distractions...i.e., other dogs). So you can walk the route about 3 times and she's doing perfect? Up the annie and move the markers from 4' to 6' or 7'. The markers are for YOU, not your dog. It marks your progress. Keep moving them apart until you don't need them anymore. Eventually, she should be walking without them. It just takes daily practice.