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Thread: Training to Walk Without Pulling

  1. #1

    Default Training to Walk Without Pulling

    Hi all,

    I know this has been touched on before, but thought it was worth sharing my musings and having more valuable feedback.

    I have five dogs, as most of you know. When we walk, my daughter walks two and I walk three. Two of mine are the rotty x shepherd pups, who are now four months old and out and about. They are doing beautifully off leash at the dog park and on bushwalks.

    They tend to go haywire out on a leashed walk, zigzagging and so on. I have tried walking them solo, to give them a bit more of an idea of walking next to me on a loose lead, but they tend to cringe at any pulling on the collar (just a normal, thick webbing collar). To solve the group walk thing, they have normal harnesses and a double lead, which is like a V, with swivels, which then goes into one lead for me to hold. This has worked well as far as they are pulled towards each other, by each other and they seem much more relaxed with the whole body feel of the harness. Of course, as they have gotten more confident, they are starting to pull, which I want to avoid before it becomes a habit (they look like a really cute version of that three headed dog in Harry Potter, except with two heads, lol).

    My first thought is to go with a couple of harmony, or balance harnesses, which supposedly avoid the pulling issue of normal harnesses. I would still use a double lead going into one. The other choice is the sporn style harness, but I tend to think they will find the tightening and loosening effect disconcerting (they stop if they feel nervous). I don't think a check chain or combo check and web chain is a good choice for them either.

    I'd be really interested in what others think - especially what their experiences of walking/training multiple dogs has been. I am open to spending individual time with each pup of course. Compared to my other pup (five month old standard poodle), they seem 'slow' to get the walking on a loose lead at my side concept. It's probably down to me not having had dogs with this particular kind of response before.

    Thanking you all in advance for your thoughts,

    Cathy.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Kurrajong / Hawkesbury
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chisa View Post
    Hi all,

    I know this has been touched on before, but thought it was worth sharing my musings and having more valuable feedback.

    I have five dogs, as most of you know. When we walk, my daughter walks two and I walk three. Two of mine are the rotty x shepherd pups, who are now four months old and out and about. They are doing beautifully off leash at the dog park and on bushwalks.

    They tend to go haywire out on a leashed walk, zigzagging and so on. I have tried walking them solo, to give them a bit more of an idea of walking next to me on a loose lead, but they tend to cringe at any pulling on the collar (just a normal, thick webbing collar). To solve the group walk thing, they have normal harnesses and a double lead, which is like a V, with swivels, which then goes into one lead for me to hold. This has worked well as far as they are pulled towards each other, by each other and they seem much more relaxed with the whole body feel of the harness. Of course, as they have gotten more confident, they are starting to pull, which I want to avoid before it becomes a habit (they look like a really cute version of that three headed dog in Harry Potter, except with two heads, lol).

    My first thought is to go with a couple of harmony, or balance harnesses, which supposedly avoid the pulling issue of normal harnesses. I would still use a double lead going into one. The other choice is the sporn style harness, but I tend to think they will find the tightening and loosening effect disconcerting (they stop if they feel nervous). I don't think a check chain or combo check and web chain is a good choice for them either.

    I'd be really interested in what others think - especially what their experiences of walking/training multiple dogs has been. I am open to spending individual time with each pup of course. Compared to my other pup (five month old standard poodle), they seem 'slow' to get the walking on a loose lead at my side concept. It's probably down to me not having had dogs with this particular kind of response before.

    Thanking you all in advance for your thoughts,

    Cathy.
    S: Hi Cathy, its pretty hard to give advice with any accuracy without seeing the dogs and as there are multiple dogs, even harder, but having that said...

    The No Pull Harnesses in my opinion can be helpful, but I dont really believe they "train" the dog to walk on a loose leash, well not seasoned pullers anyway. I think they give you more leverage by unbalancing a pulling dog which can be very helpful.

    In our tests we found a number of dogs ended up with rub marks from many of the harnesses as they have narrow straps. Were working on a harness that will use wide straps which should avoid this.

    I prefer these way over a head halter of any kind.

    What I would do is train each dog separately to walk in the correct position, then train that under distaction of another dog etc.

    I would start by using a martingale collar that can slip over the head and will enable you to give a correction if needed.

    Let us know how you go...
    Steve Courtney, K9 Pro - The K9 Professionals

    www.k9pro.com.au

    Official Forum Trainer and Behaviourist

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks Steve,

    I really agree that one on one attention is important for having a dog that stops pulling and will continue training in a quiet environment towards that goal.

    I was interested to read that you had concerns about harnesses rubbing - I have the same thought.

    I originally used the thick strapped harnesses to avoid any rubbing or sharp pain, as the two pups in question have had to recover their coats and skin from mange and wounds when they were first rescued (at about five weeks. they are now four and half months).

    This was initially a good solution for when we walked all five dogs together, using a brace lead, as they at least keep each other side by side when they try to move in opposite directions!

    As they are now 20kg each, it is a different story and they are fast becoming a challenge, lol.

    I researched and rang around and this week have tested out the Jenny Ireland harness on them (similiar to a Sporn harness, but I don't like the fact that the rope like material under the armpits is not padded like the Sporn harness).

    It worked on the pups individually at the vet clinic I bought it from (I travelled for an hour with two spewing puppies so I could have the harnesses fitted, lol).

    But once we were back at home and out for a walk, if anything, it was worse. The harness was pulling it's tightest and the pups didn't even pause, even though I am certain they would have been caused discomfort by the tightening of a fairly thin rope type material around their armpits. I was trying to use a 'kind option' and I felt it wasn't that kind for them at all.

    I have avoided correcting them a lot with the collar as they hated collars at first, but after the harnesses, I bought thick, padded webbing collars and I am correcting them with a lot of success this way, even with them on the brace lead together. I am using much less force (my right shoulder is still sore from the previous days when using the new harnesses). I use the word 'wait' to ask for my dogs to come alongside me on a slack lead and the pups are getting this quite well with ordinary collars after all.

    I also have road-tested the front attaching harness on our dane x this week and I can't say I was terribly impressed. Again, I have multiple dogs which doesn't lend itself to constant half halts and turns for one dog, but the main issue I found was that he was able to ignore this harness a fair bit before he had to respond. he's the kind of dog that switches off and will just keep going through the stopping and circling thing many times without caring, whereas my two poodles will do anything to avoid that many repetitions.

    Funnily, I also hated the idea of Haltis, but our dane x works really well with one - he isn't able to ignore it. He has it taken off if he is going well, but it goes back on if he starts pulling, usually if my daughter is walking him. With me, he is good on a loose rein with the odd light correction on a half check chain. We used a Halti a few times on our five month old standard poodle pup, taking it off when he was going well and he hasn't really pulled in earnest since then, so he is on a normal webbing collar.

    I guess what all this shows is that dogs change, methods can be applicable for one dog and not another and that it's good to find what fits each dog. I was so keen on harnesses of some kind, but they don't seem to be the thing for us. Thankfully, I was able to get a refund on the harnesses, lol.

    You mentioned a martingale? I think I vaguely recall seeing these somewhere, but didn't know anything about them. Can you elaborate? Are they a collar or harness, or something different again?


    Cathy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Kurrajong / Hawkesbury
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    Quote Originally Posted by chisa View Post
    Thanks Steve,

    I really agree that one on one attention is important for having a dog that stops pulling and will continue training in a quiet environment towards that goal.

    I was interested to read that you had concerns about harnesses rubbing - I have the same thought.
    S: In the ones that we tested, the more serious pullers started to show coat marking on day two and by day 4 the chaffing was apparent so we stopped testing. On the lighter pullers we didnt notice anything but I guess they really didnt need the harness either.

    I researched and rang around and this week have tested out the Jenny Ireland harness on them (similiar to a Sporn harness, but I don't like the fact that the rope like material under the armpits is not padded like the Sporn harness).

    It worked on the pups individually at the vet clinic I bought it from (I travelled for an hour with two spewing puppies so I could have the harnesses fitted, lol).

    But once we were back at home and out for a walk, if anything, it was worse. The harness was pulling it's tightest and the pups didn't even pause, even though I am certain they would have been caused discomfort by the tightening of a fairly thin rope type material around their armpits. I was trying to use a 'kind option' and I felt it wasn't that kind for them at all.
    S: yes I agree, I have tested the styles that add pressure by tightening and really decided against that style for a number of reasons. The type I am talking about are the Front attach harnesses that destabilse the dog when it pulls.

    I also have road-tested the front attaching harness on our dane x this week and I can't say I was terribly impressed. Again, I have multiple dogs which doesn't lend itself to constant half halts and turns for one dog, but the main issue I found was that he was able to ignore this harness a fair bit before he had to respond. he's the kind of dog that switches off and will just keep going through the stopping and circling thing many times without caring, whereas my two poodles will do anything to avoid that many repetitions.
    S: Yes I have seen that too, I guess it will come down to the teaching each dog to walk correctly separately with the right method or tool for each and then add them back together.

    Funnily, I also hated the idea of Haltis, but our dane x works really well with one - he isn't able to ignore it. He has it taken off if he is going well, but it goes back on if he starts pulling, usually if my daughter is walking him. With me, he is good on a loose rein with the odd light correction on a half check chain. We used a Halti a few times on our five month old standard poodle pup, taking it off when he was going well and he hasn't really pulled in earnest since then, so he is on a normal webbing collar.

    S: The issue with the head halter is the risk of neck injury and the side effects it can have with dogs with fear based issuesm no doubt they increase leverage though.

    I guess what all this shows is that dogs change, methods can be applicable for one dog and not another and that it's good to find what fits each dog. I was so keen on harnesses of some kind, but they don't seem to be the thing for us. Thankfully, I was able to get a refund on the harnesses, lol.

    S: Good, and yor right I assess every dog i work with and choose a tool and method that works for the owner and dog.

    You mentioned a martingale? I think I vaguely recall seeing these somewhere, but didn't know anything about them. Can you elaborate? Are they a collar or harness, or something different again?

    S: Martingale is a half check, limited slip collar, we have them made from nylon and chain that work pretty well. They are great for safety as dogs cant back out of them.
    Steve Courtney, K9 Pro - The K9 Professionals

    www.k9pro.com.au

    Official Forum Trainer and Behaviourist

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks Steve,

    for clarifying the martingale collar - that is what we have on our dane x. I will certainly consider them for the pups when they get older, as they tend to pull back from the collar in certain situations and can slip out of an ordinary webbing one.

    Thanks too for pointing out the potential for neck injuries with haltis - I don't use harsh corrections with it myself, but I can see how easy it could be to twist a dog's neck when you have such strong control over their head. As I said before, I am not a hug fan of them anyway, but it seems to be a gentle, effective option for this particular dog.

    I am really encouraged by your advice and support.

    Cathy.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by chisa View Post
    Thanks Steve,

    for clarifying the martingale collar - that is what we have on our dane x. I will certainly consider them for the pups when they get older, as they tend to pull back from the collar in certain situations and can slip out of an ordinary webbing one.
    S: I successfully train many dogs to walk on a loose leash with them, you must have a method though or dogs just become desensitized to the collars.


    Thanks too for pointing out the potential for neck injuries with haltis - I don't use harsh corrections with it myself, but I can see how easy it could be to twist a dog's neck when you have such strong control over their head.
    S: Yes it usually happens if the dog lunges for any reason and the head is whipped around.

    As I said before, I am not a hug fan of them anyway, but it seems to be a gentle, effective option for this particular dog.
    S: It can often appear this way but often what your seeing is a partially shut down dog, look at this article I wrote some time ago.

    I am really encouraged by your advice and support.
    S: Thanks Cathy, your very welcome.
    Steve Courtney, K9 Pro - The K9 Professionals

    www.k9pro.com.au

    Official Forum Trainer and Behaviourist

  7. #7

    Default

    Steve,

    thanks for the info on shut down with haltis.

    Would you be able to outline your method on how you use martingale collars to train dogs to walk on a loose lead in order to avoid them becoming desensitised to collars?

    Cheers,

    Cathy.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by chisa View Post
    Steve,

    thanks for the info on shut down with haltis.

    Would you be able to outline your method on how you use martingale collars to train dogs to walk on a loose lead in order to avoid them becoming desensitised to collars?

    Cheers,

    Cathy.
    S: Not really, its temperament based which means there isnt one method I use, sometimes I use food, sometimes toys, sometimes clicker train it.

    It depends on the individual dog really...
    Steve Courtney, K9 Pro - The K9 Professionals

    www.k9pro.com.au

    Official Forum Trainer and Behaviourist

  9. #9

    Default

    Fair enough. Makes sense.

  10. #10

    Default

    Here's another question for you - how would you address puppies that bark excitedly when encountering other dogs and while playing with other dogs at the dog park or out walking?

    What is your intepretation of why they are doing this? Body language is excited, sometimes hackles up, some tail wagging. I have been correcting it by saying firmly 'quiet' or 'ah ah' and if it persists, putting the pup on lead and walking it away from play and returning in about 30 seconds when they are quiet. This was working, but now the barking just keeps happening on and off the whole time. Fortunately, they are playing with even tempered dogs who just ignore the barking.

    Cathy.

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