I'm having some problems with my Australian Cattle Dog cross. We got her from the shelter a couple of months ago and she's now about 8 months old.
Obviously being an active breed we need to make sure she gets plenty of exercise. So we (my wife and I) have been taking her for long (4km+) walks every day. The problem is she has no focus when on the lead. Any slight distraction and she's looking over there, trying to jump at people/motorbikes/cyclists going past, completely ignoring me.
I've tried the whole stop moving when she's pulling on the lead and wait until she looks at me, but that just results in me standing on the footpath in the same spot for 10 minutes looking like a ********. This doesn't happen all the time though, at times she will happily walk beside me and look up. Like this evening, I attempted to take her out, went about 800m down the road with her on a loose lead, got to the corner, stopped and stood there for 10 minutes without her looking at me once. That usually just results in me getting pissed off, cutting the walk short but I still need to get her home and by that point I can't be bothered so no doubt I'm reinforcing bad behaviours there.
In the backyard she is pretty good, will sit, stay, bring back a ball and drop it somewhere near me (given enough encouragement). Won't dare to touch her food before I say so.
The catch-22 part of this is that if we don't take her for a long walk every day she is highly likely to destroy something overnight or in the early morning. Previously it has been washing, the other day it was her bed. Also there is barely a garden any more (although to be honest there wasn't much left after an Adelaide summer anyway).
What I don't understand is how it is possible to get an 8 month old dog to walk on a loose lead and focus while still getting in a long walk. She clearly can't focus for that amount of time, but if we take her for a longer walk then that to me seems like reinforcing bad behaviours.
Shorter walks more often might be a way to go, but that becomes more difficult to fit in time wise (since one would have to be before work, where a 10 minute mexican standoff could be an issue). Other than that, any suggestions? I'm not sure I have the patience to put up with this for too much longer.