I have a 2 year old german shepard that my wife and I have been walking on a pretty consistant basis. We have been using a dog harness, one that attaches aroiund her chest and behind her shopulders with the leash attachment at the top of her shoulder blades. I hope thats a decent description. Any how, she is still pulling something fierce when we walk. I went and bought a choke chain on the advice of my dad and we used it a few times this week but it didn't seem to phase her. Any advice???
My female Rottie responded to none of the harnesses, choke collars, pinch collars.
I tried a shock collar and within a week she completely turned around and now is fun to walk.
Some strong willed dogs need different stimulation to submit to your will.
You need the choke chain with the teeth that go into the neck if the dog pulls.
We used to have a German Shpehard that pulled, got the chain and he started to pull on it. My dad gave it ONE jerk, the dog yelped and learned fast NEVER to pull again.
Go to a good petshop and get the leash that goes over the dogs muzzle ... they cost about 25.00 but they work.
There are some simple training techniques that come on the insert.
It seems harness' and chokes actually cause a dog to pull which is a natural reflex.
FYI, I'm using this leash w/ good results on my 2 Standard Poodles.
This is actually what is known as a pinch collar, or correction collar. We use one whenever we do anything with our bulldog Winston. They do no permanent damage or injur to the dog. They pinch, not choke.
Shock collars are for extreme cases, and should be very carefully used.
I am no expert, but I have been in a dog training class since July 5th. I have learned ALOT about dogs!!!
I had a regular collar on my 90lb. Black lab mix, tight enough so it would'nt pull off. When he starts to pull, hold the leash in both hands and jerk it back hard enought to lift his front legs off the ground and stop him. You will hurt him, but no permant damage.When he pulls, you pull. Do this 15 to 20 times and you can train him over a 20 minute period.
Another hint. If your dog jumps and puts his front paws on you. Grab and hold his front paws while stepping on his hind feet, apply enough weight to hurt, but no to do perment damage. Do this a dozen times or so and he'll stop jumping on you and everyone else. Worked with both of my dogs.
Take a dog training class. The problem is not with the dog. The problem is with the owner(s). A dog training class teaches the owners who then know how to train the dog.
Once I used a choke collar and a long (12'-15') leash. I held the loop of the leash in my right hand and had all the slack bunched up in my left, with the dog right at my left side.
When the dog would start to pull I'd let go of the slack and turn in the other direction, pulling. When he ran out of slack it would jerk him around. After a few times with that experience, when he'd start to pull I'd give him some slack and he'd stop.
As noted above, dogs are like people in that there are individual differences and you have to find the technique that connects with yours.
Jerk back, slap with loose end of leash, and scold. Reward good behaviour with a Scoobie Snack.
Real fine piano wire works good too!!!
A choke chain alone will not help you, you need to put your back into into it to break your dog's 2 years of bad habits. The choker is not magic, it requires your effort as well. As you probably know, a harness is the last thing you want on your dog if you don't want him to pull, as a harness encourages pulling.
Take the choke chain, make sure it's on the correct way so it releases after a correction when the dog is on your left side. (let me know if I need to elaborate)
When your dog starts going it's own direction, do an about face. Hopefully the dog will get jerked about pretty hard. This is benificial, don't worry about your dog, he will not be hurt by this. You need to get his attention and little pecks and muttled "no don't do that" aren't going to work for you. 2 years is a long time for a dog so keep that in mind, you need to reverse 2 years.
Keep in mind it won't happen overnight. Give the dog 10 minutes max per training session. If you can, give him 2 sessions a day.
If the choke chain doesn't work, as mentioned before you may need to graduate to a pinch collar. Don't go there yet, try the choke chain first. If that doesn't curb the pulling after 2 weeks, im me and I'll help you with the pinch collar. It is a whole new ball game, you need to remember it only takes about 25% of the energy with a pinch collar to recieve the same result as with a choke chain.
Electronic collars are fine in some advanced off leash work, hold off on that for now. I use them often because my dogs work well off leash, sometimes they just need a little reminder that Dad is still in control. LOL
As far as those Halti-collars and other stuff you wrap around the dog's muzzle. STAY AWAY from that crap. It teaches the dog nothing, it simply masks a problem that will always be there unless you correct the problem with compulsion. Again, these Halti devices appeal mostly to animal right's whackos who think anything metal or scary looking shouldn't go around the dog's neck.
Let me know if I can help in any way.
Choke chain and a short leash. Depending on how stupid the breed is you're going to have to hurt the dog one or more times. When the dog pulls away from you a short sharp jerk on the leash administers a correction - make sure you have the choke chain on correctly - backwards is gentle while forwards is sharp and correct.
It took me two corrections on my bitch to get her trained. After they learn not to pull on the leash you need to walk box patterns while teaching the dog to sit at your heel when you stop. The training should be done in an empty school yard where they won't be distracted. Once trained you introduce distractions in and still have the dog obey you.
After three or four half hour lessons mine was on a long rope and a couple of more and she didn't need one at all as she auto-heels and won't stray from my side unless I give her the command to. She doesn't bark unless she's told to or someone is coming down the walk to my home.
Having a well trained dog is a pleasure.
Try the halter type collar, the one that goes over their muzzle.
Our Rotties can still pull against a choke or pinch collar, and it doesn't faze them a bit.
The halter is called either a Halti, or a Gentle Leader.
It does not hurt the dog, but they will not pull against their own muzzle.
Try it, I bet it works.
take it from a guy who trains retrievers and K-9's.
several things are needed here..
several things that have been brought up here are very true..
1- get a good double ply 6 ft lead.
2- get a good pinch/prong collar with heavy spines. take the rubber tips off..and dont get one with a safety release.
how you use this is critical. it will not hurt the dog..but the basic flow of healing and stopping/sitting must be maintained all the time.
pay critical attention to slack lead.
keep the handle of the lead in your right hand and vary the slack of the lead to thru your left hand.
your left hand is the control hand. reading when to correct the dog and how much slack to lead out the dog for correction.
email me or i'll continue later after i get in from work..
Use a neck colar. As soon as they start to pull snap back on the leash (make it hurt) and say "Heel!" everytime. When they fall back tug on the line and say "Come!". Pretty soon they'll know the diference and find that walking beside you is where they should be.
Never continue the walk if the dog is adsolutely refusing to obey. The walk is a reward, and doing it right will make it pleasent for them, so dont make it pleasent if they are not doing what you want them to.
Get their attention and let them know you're boss. They should be concerned with what YOU"RE doing, not what's going on everywhere else.
The whole idea is not the uncomfortableness they feel when they disobay, it's the idea that when they obey they get a reward of a walk w/ your approval. Dogs really want to please their owners.
You may have a tough time with this because it sounds like you've waited until your dog is 2yo. Just be patient and set boundaries, use rewards and inforce your authority.
The Halti head collars work wonders. My youngest boxer was a puller. Didn't matter if it was a choke chain, pinch collar,harness, flat buckle or what, the halti was the only thing that worked. I'm no animal rights wacko but I use what works. she now walks with a lose lead with any collar I put on her.
Just to clarify, I haven't just recently started taking her on walks. We started when she was about 8 months old. I guess I really didn't know how to train a dog. She is my first one, excluding the labs my parents had when I was a kid. BTW that's her in my avatar pic.
lvgunner777 and muddydog it sounds like you guys have done a lot of dog training. If I undertand you right I should avoid the long walks until she "learns to walk". There is a school yard a few blocks from my house, would that be a good place to train her or should I use my garage for a bit? How long should the training sessions last?
Also I have read a few guys saying to make sure the choke collar is on right? Can you clarify the right and wrong way of having the choke collar on?
The SEC learned to walk on a leash by.....Oh, never mind.
what you want to do is take charge..
a 2 y/o GSD is nothing to take lightly. most people have no idea of the force behind one of their lunges..
i've had 2 seperated shoulders and some arm/back problems from training dogs..from K-9 use. i have not found a choke chain yet that can control a untrained dog. a prong collar is power stearing..
i practice tough love..the dogs never get hurt..
they only learn quicker and sharper. i move things along in training. a well bred dog can learn alot pretty quick.
my routine is for several times to give the dog some really good slack and say a command for whatever you want to use for the dog to follow you. then make a quick right turn as you say that..and POP the hell out of that slack.
if you can get the dog to swap ends..thats even better..
this unnerves dogs will make them realize..that things are about to change.
after a couple of sudden changes..the more force, the quicker more human training will be done.
you'll notice the dog isnt heading quite so far out..gradually with enough force..the dog will find his/her sweet spot next to you.
ideally..the dog should pay attention to your knee. that will be is guide. do not let the dog crowd you and watch for subtle hints of avoidance behavoir..like..
looking away from you as you talk..
putting a paw on your foot..
leaning into your leg..
brisk correction should be made. but you;d better be giving out a heck of a lot of "good dog" and petting..the petting will gradually wean out of the picture..but the "atta boy" stuff should always be there.
the amount of normal slack in your lead once the dog gets the hang of it..should be watched.
i like a "U" shaped slack in my lead.
this gives the dog a sense of freedom..but allows for control when needed.
i use parks and streets for heeling drills.
i just walk random right angles and straight lines. i watch for things of interest to a dog that i can set up a controlled correction.
tons of starting/stopping.
the dog should sit automatically when stopped. ease up on thelead to tighten the collar. you can also get a 2.5 foot stock crop for your right hand to swing it behind you to tap the dogs ass end..to sit. more pressure can be used to quicken the process.
use the right commands at the right times every time.
you teach a dog..by learning..the more a controlled environment..the easier the learning process.
uncontrolled correction..rarely is useful. your just glad the kid on the bike didnt have a wreck..
another thing about obedient dogs..and public.
the more you expose the dog..to daily life..
the less hassles you'll have.
i would want NOTHING less than a double ply lead and either a heavy prong or heavy rectangular choke chain on a large dog.
i have seen incredible "rodeos" with a halti..as well as cheap nylon collars with snap buckles and such.
dog gear is alot like CCW gear..you;d better plan for a problem..lawsuits and vet bills from an incident are all too real.
get KOHLERS book of obedience training. i highly recommend using prey drive..kong toys as a training tool. its makes a happier/sharper dog and eases training. you'd be amazed at the peppiness of a dogs attention once a dummy/kong of some sort is used. we call these fun bumpers.
any dog can be trained on 10 minutes a day..
you just have to be consistant and demanding.
remember..your commanding the dog..not asking politely.
voice inflection is very important.
dont take a dog offlead for a walk for 6 months to a year..depending on the average dog.
i start pups on leads at 8-10 weeks with nothing corrective..but have them off lead solidly by 1 year.
all of my dogs are hunt test competition dogs and but my personal K-9 a GSD was by far the sharper and snappier OB dog i've trained. those people who have had the good chance of owning a fully trained working dog can vouch for this.
a good GSD is a master at work..be firm..and take your time.
Muddydog has given you some very sound advice, I agree with everything he has written.
When I referred to having the choke chain on correctly I was referencing the fact that if you put it on backwards, when you pop the choker, it will not release.
Hold the choker in front of the dog ready to go around it's neck it should form the letter "P". Again, the reason for this is when you have the dog on your left side and you pop the collar, it releases right away. Remember, a choke chain doesn't actually choke, it is supposed to give a lightning quick pop and make a loud noise. Both of which get the dog's attention back on you and off of whatever distracted the dog in the first place.
As far as training areas go, use a quiet place with no distractions at first. Your garage will be fine but not for too long. This will become child's play for your dog in no time. Once you feel the dog is starting to get it, take him to the park where there are different smells and things that will get his attention off of you. Always do things in baby steps with your dog, a dog has no idea what the end result is supposed to be in the beginning. You have to lay it out for them like you would lay out instructions for a 3 year old. Training sessions should last no longer than 10 minutes for a while, you don't want to burn your dog out. Also, if you are at the 9 minute mark and your dog does something amazing for you, STOP. Always end the session on a good note, the dog will be much happier to work for you next time around if the last experience was a positive one.
Also, to answer your question, long walks are fine. They should be used as a reward however. When you start the long walk, start it out as a training session of sorts. Give the dog the "heel" "fuss" command or whatever you want the word to be. The dog should be on your left side. Use the techniques already described here how to get your dog to stay on your side. After 10 minutes or so of the dog doing well, give the "break" command, now the dog can go be a dog if he wants to. He can sniff the grass and trees, whatever he wants. The trick is to be able to give that "heel" command at any point during the walk and the dog should return to your side. Don't worry, this will come with time, it won't happen overnight.
Also, when your dog learns the meaning of the word "heel" and he starts focusing on you more. You can try holding his favorite toy at your chest while you train him. This will get the dog focusing up at you nicely. If the dog is not ball motivated, try some tiny pieces of hot dog meat, everytime the dog gives his attention for 5 paces or so, throw him a piece of hot dog. The idea is to throw the treat to him so he can eat it without taking his eyes off you. In other words, you don't want to throw the treat on the ground so he has to stop heeling to get his treat.
Again, give the choker a little time, if the dog is just oblivous to it, get the prong collar as described earlier. You will not regret.
Again, any questions, just ask.
By the way, I always reference the left side, this is not important, you pick what side is more comfortable to you.
muddydog, I have tried to get my dog to walk bsedie me and she pulls very badly then and also leans into my leg. Does this type of behavior mean that she wants to do her own thing and not listen? Should I allow her to walk a few steps in front of me or should I begin making her walk at my side?
lvgunner777 thanks for the tip on carrying a treat or toy. She loves tennis balls; so I should toss it to her after she focuses on me for 5 paces or so? Then do I take it back right away or do I let her play with it for a few paces?
I appreciate everyone's help! Overall my GSD is a very good dog and she listens very well to me except for walks. For some reason she gets a case of the dumbs, but I know realize that that is my fault. This is all very new to me, I apologize if these questions or borderline annoying. Thanks again!!
I have a german shepard too. Tj pretty much got it, except I never hit my dogs. Ive never had to train dogs any older than 1 or so though.
Jerk the leash, say "WALK!". Do it enough times and whenever you say "WALK!" they will stop running/pulling and just walk.
This also works with "DROP". They pick up something, grab them by the scruff, grab it out of their mouth and say the word.
Two years old? Didnt you walk her when she was smaller? lol.
One way to keep the dog firmly to heel is to have a particularly tasty snack in your left pocket. Many dogs will learn that THIS is the place to be, and it works for them even when you stop carrying the snack.
My dog sometimes gets in to a pulling mode, and when she won't stop it, we turn around and go straight home, walking in the middle of the street where there's little of interest to smell. As she loves going for a walk and smelling what's there to smell, this change is punishment for her. She likes long walks at the sidewalk, and being marched back rapidly in the middle of the street isn't fun for her. She gets into her disobedient mode less and less often now.
I'm very tough about her staying at the heel position. If she moves forward just a few inches, the leash gets a sharp tug and I give the command HEEL in a moderately loud voice, and I do it as often as needed, which is less and less often these days. She's stubborn, but she's very smart and is getting the picture.
to correct the leaning..into your leg,
make a left turn and be prepared to knee her softly into her head..
remember your knee should be her focus point in heeling.
you follow my advice with a prong collar and drills and she wont be ahead of you.
keep this in your head..
YOUR IN CHARGE..not the dog.
another vote for the Gentle Leader. We have a lab that would pull on a choke chain all the time. She would almost choke herself out when walking. I went to the pet store to buy one of those Pinching Choke chains. The guys told me to buy the gentle leader instead. So I took his advise. Im happy I did. It has worked better than I could have imagined. It goes over the muzzle of the dog and around their head,yet they can stil open their mouth. The leash attaches at the nose of the dog. The dog "will not" pull against its own nose. Try it you will not be dissapointed. The trick is to make sure its not too loose on their head.
Yup...Someone mentioned underlying causes WTF!
This works and works quickly. If it doesnt work return it.
Yeah, I did walk her when she was smaller, but it wasn't on a consistent basis. We have been walking pretty reguraly for the last 6 months or so. I have just let her develope bad habits and I didn't know what notto let her do when walking.
Get a muzzle leash. When it tried to go you pull back and it force the dog head to turn back
Your missing the point. The halti gentle thingys mask a problem, they don't fix it.
I'd like to see your dog walk in the heel position without the halti collar on, can he do it?
I guarantee he can't, because it doesn't teach the dog anything.
Using positive reinforcement with treats and toys, combined with compulsion, the dog is LEARNING what the word heel means. Therefore, after a while, the choke/pinch collar and treats are no longer needed.
My dog will heel OFF LEAD all day long, this is because he knows what heel means. You dog just knows when it has that silly thing wrapped around it's nose it's uncomfortable to pull you. Take that thing off and the dog is out of control, I guarantee it.
Its better to teach your dog what you want rather than mask the problem, that was my point.
ignoring a problem and masking it out of sight is pretty much a waste of time.
if you want to train a dog and yourselves you'll use time proven/fundamental training tools and techniques.
i dont want to come across as crass or unswayed.
i get 3-5 phone calls a day from people regarding training dogs. I'm lucky..I'm a medical professional and dont have to rely on dog training for paying all of the bills. i can be choosey in clients from the start.
when someone is paying you their hard earned $$, you'd better get quality results as quick as possible with NO SHORT CUTS in training. every short cut in dog training will set you back at least a week in training down the road.
any professional trainer worth his/her weight in salt uses the same methods..
there might be a little deviation here and there. the the core will be the same.
a dog is an animal ready and willing to be molded like clay, if the trainer is willing to break the dog into a worker and pleaser.
once the dog is shown who the boss is..it readily becomes a submissive and a willing student.
praise, fun bumpers and stern/quick correction along with a very consistant behavior are the main keys to training a dog.
90% of the time when a client first shows up at my door, that dog has him whooped into a "GOLLY I JUST LOVE MY DOG"..
they wonder why the dog just wont pay attention to anything they command, plead, beg them to do.
one serious training tool is a dog crate..
a little isolation before training will help the dog become more willing to do anything to be around you.
another one is the use of styrofoam lids about 2 inches tall that are staked into the ground.
this will help you teach a dog to "stay", dogs are very hesitant to move off a barrier- if introduced properly.
all dogs here ge atleast 1-2 hours of crate time before working out.
all dogs are also are broken will old school methods adn can readily walk out and be done as is or be introduced to a E Collar and advanced work.
i do not use food or treats as tools either.
only fun bumpers and praise.
I think you said it yourself. " you dont know how to teach the dog ".
The advise from lvgunner777,muddydog is right on and my hats offs to both of them.
I do think you and your dog would benefit from a training class at a local training school. This not only helps the dog but it will train you to train her and every other dog you will ever have. The best way to find a GOOD school is work of mouth. Ask your vet or look for a high end breeders of Shepherds in your area and give them a call.
Class gives you many perks you don’t get by training alone. It helps the dog by being around other dogs and having a set time to perform. The dogs will know when he get to school he is training not just going for a walk and then when you go for a normal walk you work on what you both learn in school.
Two years old is a very common time to see dogs in class.