Why can't he walk correctly? :( - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-16-2012, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Why can't he walk correctly? :(

Hi everyone! I am new to this forum and am so excited to get to know other golden-lovers..and get some advice! My baby, Dexter, is 9 months old and my husband and I are still having trouble getting him to walk correctly. We bought a harness for Dexter to wear, which helps to control him a little bit...but now that he is so strong {almost to 70lbs!} it's not helping much.

Our typical walk consists of Dexter pulling very hard to get to whatever grabs his attention - a blowing leaf, a noise, a wrapper on the ground. If my husband is walking him he doesn't get pulled too much but if I am walking him I end up running because I can't hold him back to me anymore since he is so strong now. The walk is generally okay despite the pulling... until we get half-way through and/or on our road to come back home ... Dexter will zig zag back and forth, jump up and bite the leash, growl, snap at us and try to bite us..it's very frustrating. Recently we were both walking with him and Dexter put his mouth around my husband's ankle trying to bite him. Once he starts doing this we say "NO!", make him sit and stay {he knows those commands pretty well} for a few minutes until we continue walking but once we start to move again he will do it again. It's gotten to the point where my husband will pick him up over his shoulders and carry him to rest of the way home...I don't walk him alone anymore because I can't lift him up..

What's strange is he NEVER jumps and does this crazy act if we come down our street on the opposite side from where our house is and on the left ... if we come home any other side of the street or direction, he does this. Sometimes he does it in the middle of the walk but more often than not it's at the end. I read that he might be doing it because he doesn't want the walk to end, but we always walk him for half an hour or so at a time and we try to go twice a day weather permitting. And once he starts doing this, the walk ends as fast as it can because we are so frustrated. On our walks we usually take him to the enclosed baseball field and play fetch with him and let him run off of the leash for a while to burn more energy but he will still zig zag and go bonkers at some point on the walk...

Has anyone experienced this? We tried treat training initially and that didn't seem to work with him .. unless we did it wrong .. We know how important exercise is for him but it's getting really, really hard to do it.. Please help! I want to be able to walk with him all of the time!!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-16-2012, 01:42 PM
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Be consistent and give it a chance. Issues with Tayla and walks are famous. She jumped and bit (agressively mouthed) since we got her at 4 months. She will be 1 on Saturday and in the last 2 weeks it has stopped. I can't tell you the number of times I came home from a walk in tears because of her antics and the number of times I said why doesn't she get it. The number of times I was so humiliated because people saw us and I know what they thought. I would tell her the same thing every time. Well, it looks like she finally got it 2 weeks ago. An especially bad age for us was around 8 months. She was terrible. Just be consistent. Give him something to do like you are with the sit and it will eventually pay off. What type of harness are you using. We used a front hook harness for a time with Tayla as it works to eliminate pulling. Good luck and it does get better.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-16-2012, 03:46 PM
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If its a regular harness they make pulling even worse. Try a gentle leader. Also obedience class or at the very least start working with heeling exercises. Diverting his attention when he acts up is a good thing. Walk the other way, teach him to "watch me" (praise, treat him when he looks at you and you can say "watch me").

Also, take a new way home if you can or just simply make coming home a BIG ordeal and fun so he looks forward to coming home. Lots of praise, treats, toys and playing when you get back to your house. If all the fun stops when you get home why would he want to go home!

If he tries to stop walking make it a game of catch me or just be silly and run for a bit. Better than you standing there and trying to pull him along. Good luck and hopefully it will get better, he's just being a stubborn puppy but they are smart and know how to get things there way! Lol

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-16-2012, 04:06 PM
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I'd second some of the above advice. The gentle leader works wonders. You have to make sure it's properly adjusted for your dog and may take a little time for the dog to accept it but it's worth the effort. Changing up the route for the walk seemed to help for us, as the antics always seemed to be occurring at the same spots particularly where we'd turn around or right before coming in the driveway. Also wondering if your dog gets a chance for any offleash exercise? I see you're in NY, if that's NYC offleash exercise might not be easy to arrange but it'll burn off more of that energy. I'm also a fan of formal training and more training.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-16-2012, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions so far, everyone! Your babies are all so beautiful

The harness we have now is just from Pet Smart...I think it's just a regular harness. It allows for the leash to hook on his back which we like more, but regardless it doesn't seem to help him. I've never heard of a gentle leader..I am going to have to look into that!! Thank you for the suggestion!!

@ Tayla'sMom -- I'm sorry you went through the same thing! I have been in tears from walking him, as well. Thank you for sharing your story. It is giving me hope that *someday* Dexter and I will get walking down so we can enjoy a lot of long walks together!

@OnMyWay2MyDreams -- I hadn't thought of that before...if playing stops when we come home, why would he want to?! That makes total sense!! I wouldn't want to, either lol. We are going to have to brainstorm some fun games to play right after walks so he wants to come home..

@TheZ's -- Right before the driveway can be a trouble spot for us, too! We noticed he doesn't do it if we come down our road on the side opposite from our house and from the left..since we noticed that we've been coming home that way..it's like he doesn't realize where he is for some reason. It just gets really hard when he does it in the middle of the walk...
We usually take him to an enclosed baseball field and take him off of the leash and we play fetch with him or just run around with him, and sometimes our neighbor comes with us and our puppies play together. He loves it! We do try to it on every walk, unless it's been raining and it's too muddy.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 10:48 PM
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ever since we got rose I made a habit to eat a piece of fruit or cheese as soon as we got inside and share it with her. She knows that inside means the fridge door will magically open. .
She is 5 1/2 months and we are still working with her on patiently walking to the car, the dance studio, the vet or the store. She is fine once inside but she is way too anxious to get there. Sometimes it seems like it takes forever to get from the parking lot to wherever we go. Baby steps, go back, baby steps once again go back to the car and so on and so on. grrrrrr

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behavior problem , jumping issue , leash walking , walking

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