Pulling on lead and fell flat on my face!!! - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-17-2013, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
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Pulling on lead and fell flat on my face!!!

Hi, my darling boy is 17 months old and up until recently hasn't been too bad on the lead. Over the last few months he has progressively got worse and now pulls and barks so much that last week I fell flat on my face and did severe damage to my knees, hands and face.

If he sees people or a dog, or if we walk by a house where the dog barks as we walk by, he pulls and barks to the point where I can't hold him back.

I used to love our walks but now am petrified he is going to pull me over again. I even lie to my husband by saying I've taken him out when I haven't as my husband says he's okay and he doesn't have a problem with him!

I purchased a halti collar as people advised me they worked a treat but he either constantly claws at it or sits down and will not budge an inch until I take it off.

He also has started making a bolt for it as soon as we open the front door when one of us is going out or coming in, he pushes through and escapes and will not come back no matter what we do.

We have to keep the blinds closed too as when someone walks by or when someone comes to the door he barks and barks and barks. It's a nightmare.

The sad thing is he's a loving dog and we love him to bits but we're struggling with him and its not much fun at the minute.

Does anyone have any advice for me or is a professional my only way?

Thanks in advance for any help!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-17-2013, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westeraw View Post
Hi, my darling boy is 17 months old and up until recently hasn't been too bad on the lead. Over the last few months he has progressively got worse and now pulls and barks so much that last week I fell flat on my face and did severe damage to my knees, hands and face.

If he sees people or a dog, or if we walk by a house where the dog barks as we walk by, he pulls and barks to the point where I can't hold him back.

I used to love our walks but now am petrified he is going to pull me over again. I even lie to my husband by saying I've taken him out when I haven't as my husband says he's okay and he doesn't have a problem with him!

I purchased a halti collar as people advised me they worked a treat but he either constantly claws at it or sits down and will not budge an inch until I take it off.

He also has started making a bolt for it as soon as we open the front door when one of us is going out or coming in, he pushes through and escapes and will not come back no matter what we do.

We have to keep the blinds closed too as when someone walks by or when someone comes to the door he barks and barks and barks. It's a nightmare.

The sad thing is he's a loving dog and we love him to bits but we're struggling with him and its not much fun at the minute.

Does anyone have any advice for me or is a professional my only way?

Thanks in advance for any help!
I would take him to a positive reinforcement trainer. My boy is a puller and I have to say, taking him to a professional was the best thing I ever did. She showed me the right way to handle and train him. I had previously taught him loose leash walking, but after a week at the beach I came home to him pulling again. Arg!

If you don't want to go to a professional, I would do this...
Have a bunch of treats, take a couple steps forward, and treat. If your puppy starts pulling right when to take a step forward, you could hold them in front of his face. Lots of praise! Your puppy will soon realize good things come when it stays near you. Does he have a favorite toy? You could also bring that along. I think me making our training sessions fun really makes a difference with how my boy behaves. One thing I've done that has made my training so easy is popping him treats whenever he stays by my side. He has learned to WAIT for me, and not make everything on his own terms.
I suggest purchasing the SENSE-ible harness.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-17-2013, 09:44 AM
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Hank was a puller and not being a large person, I had a hard time walking him. The Sporn Non-pull Mesh Harness worked best for us. You can get them online and Petsmart. It made a huge difference from day 1.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-17-2013, 10:07 AM
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It seems to me like he has extra energy built up in her and she doesn't know how to burn it. Have you asked your husband to help you with the walks?
What I have found with Rose is that if she is overly excited before our walks it is a call for disaster. I take about 15 minutes before we go out and tire her mentally with commands and marks around the house. I guess that also puts her in the "listen to mom" mode.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-17-2013, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westeraw View Post
I purchased a halti collar as people advised me they worked a treat but he either constantly claws at it or sits down and will not budge an inch until I take it off.
In one class I took, there was a rottie who was pulling like crazy. The trainer went to get a gentle leader and the dog settled right down. She explained to the owner that he shouldn't just put it on and go for a walk, rather he needs to desensitize the dog to it. Have the dog wear it for meals, and just around the house, give the dog treats while wearing it, etc...

You will still have to train loose leash walking, but at least this will prevent injuries to you while you work on that.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-17-2013, 10:57 AM
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So sorry that you were hurt, and I certainly understand your not feeling comfortable walking your boy.
If you haven't taken him to basic obedience classes, it would be a good place to start. Teaching, rewarding, and generalizing a solid foundation of basic obedience skills can help a dog become more calm and well behaved - he knows what you expect from him and he knows how to do it.
Bolting out the door. Start by preventing him from doing it, put a leash on him everytime you are going to open the door. (A bother yes, but he is being rewarded by freedom every time he gets out).
Work on door manners. You can start with an 'inside' door if you choose, to teach him what is expected of him, but you will also need to practice with the door he usually goes out. Have him on leash near the door, cue him to sit, reward with treat or praise, reach to open the door, if he gets up, say 'wrong' and wait for him to sit again, praise when he does.Repeat until you can open the door, wide and he remains sitting, then immediately, calmly release him to go through. Practice in short sessions, once he understands he is to sit and wait for release, gradually increase the time you ask him to wait before releasing him to go through - this helps build self control. Be patient and consistent, it is important that your hubby follow the 'rules' (for the dog) as well.
Practice Nothing in Life is Free - ask your dog to do 'something' (sit, down, shake a paw, make eye contact) before he gets anything.
Practice and reward his attention on you. If he is not paying attention to you, he is not 'listening'.
Reactivity, barking and lunging (pulling towards) other dogs and people can be over excitement (lack of self control) or can be fear based, ( a fearful dog will make lots of noise and 'posture' to try to 'chase off' the 'offender') if at all possible, suggest enlisting the help of an experienced behaviorist/trainer who uses positive reinforcement, to work with this. It is key to understand what is going on, so that you can manage and work with it properly.


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-17-2013, 11:21 AM
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Definitely look for a training class. When Remy was a pup and started pulling I tried a gentle leader to no avail. He still tried to pull and I was worried about snapping his neck. I ended up trying a pinch collar and after one correction he shaped up and stopped pulling. He only wore it for a week or two before I never had to use it again. If you get one, though, make sure you ask someone or research fit and how to properly use it. Pinch collars are often used wrongly and then either don't work or can hurt the dog.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-17-2013, 11:39 AM
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Ellie is a puller, and she shies away at things with her anxiety, so we started using an Easy Walk Harness.....it's made by the Gentle Leader company. I bought both the harness and the Gentle Leader, and she's taken to the harness a little better. But, I'm doing this in conjunction with a positive reinforcement trainer.

Good luck! It's no fun walking a puller for sure!
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-17-2013, 01:13 PM
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There's some good suggestions above especially from Charliethree. I've found the gentle leader to be very effective. We don't really need it much anymore but I've been using it when there's ice and snow. For us it was more effective to control pulling than the easy walk harness.

Unfortunately dealing with the kind of problems you're having requires consistent training by everyone who works with the dog and resolution takes time. As someone else mentioned, it sounds like your dog has pent up energy. Does he ever have an opportunity for off leash running that would use up some of that energy?


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-17-2013, 06:37 PM
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Keep trying with the halti or gentle leader. Eventually he'll want to go and get moving. Here's a video that might help in the initial stages:

Go walk with your husband see if you can figure out what he's doing. I walk my dog on the gentle leader, but I don't let my husband. That's because my husband tolerates more pulling than I do. My husband walks Casper on a martingale with a flexilead. (I think the flexilead is the root of all evil.) They have their way with their equipment, and it's doesn't mess up my training.

Search for "relaxation protocol overall" to find a very detailed set of sit-stay exercises that will work up to sitting calming while you open the door.

There are some good bits in "Control Unleashed, The Puppy Program" that you can apply to the lunging and barking at things. I've been working on a sort of "Look at that" game with Casper, and we've made huge progress around bunnies. As a result of that work, I had no problem pulling him off of a possum. Of course, the possum was helping by being generally offputting.

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