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Old 11-17-2012, 09:37 AM
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Teenage Behaviour - Frustrated!!!

So Liberty has been to Basic Manners Class and she was excellent. So well behaved. She graduated from that a month or so ago. Now we are doing a Competitive Obedience Class. She is doing okay in that, not great, but getting by. She has become very stubborn! She is not listening and doesn't seem to be "bribed" by those yummy treats anymore. I've even tried cheese! She has a large variety of treats - at least 7 or 8 different types, so I don't think she's bored with the treats.

My problem lately is with walking her. She's become a pulling machine. I had been using a Gentle Leader with her and she was doing great. But the trainer we are working with for the Competitive Obedience class says that is just a bandaid. I tend to agree since it's not really teaching her anything. So we've been working with just a regular flat collar and a 6" leash. She wasn't too bad at first with the pulling, but instead of getting better, she's getting worse. She is distracted so easily and I can't even tempt her with treats. Today she nearly pulled my arm off when a squirrel ran past. I told her to "leave it" to "sit" and she wouldn't do either. I'm trying to do what the trainer told me to do which is if she pulls, turn around and pull her the other direction. Show her who is in charge. Well, I do this, but she is still constantly pulling. It takes us 40 minutes to go one block because we are constantly turning around and going back, then forward again. She just doesn't seem to be getting it. I thought by now (about 10 days of this) she'd realize that if she pulls, we are going the other way. I thought she was starting to get it, she was starting to walk better. But now, she's worse than ever. I'm so frustrated!! She goes for two 40 minute walks a day and play ball with her in the yard for 15-20 minutes a few times a day. She's never been a high energy dog - she's always been quite mellow. But maybe now she needs more exercise. Thoughts?
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:16 AM
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Have you tried the clicker? Molly got it instantly with clicker training. She was 6 months old or so when she started walking politely. I was also using a harness as a crutch while I clicker trained. One day I took the harness off and I was surprised she no longer needed it. I also used a 4 ft leash. Two feet makes a big difference when you have a puller or lunger.


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Old 11-17-2012, 10:20 AM
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Dogs have what is called 'opposition reflex' which means when you pull, they pull back. Pulling her around because she is pulling you, will not teach her anything, and is plain frustating for you. Rather than turning around and pulling her when she pulls, try planting your feet, stop dead, and wait. When she looks at you to see what happened encourage her back to you. Get her into a sit beside you and start off, reward her while she is in position beside you, and use lots of praise to encourage her to stay there. If she gets ahead, let her know to slow down ( I use the cue 'easy' to let my boy know when he is too far ahead, and if he pulls, I stop). Keep in mind that it is easier for her to learn, if she is not having to deal with all those distractions. Work on loose leash walking, in your backyard, or house to teach the behavior, before adding to many distractions. Something I have also found very helpful is rewarding 'offered attention', and 'name attention', any time my dog 'checks in' with me (looks at me), I praise and reward for it. It takes some practice, but over time he has become more attentive to me, and less distracted by other things.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:22 AM
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Mine used to pull but at 6 mos. I took the flat collar off and I now use a pinch or prong collar they are the same thing and after a couple of self correcting lunges Nugget learned to walk nicely with me


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Old 11-17-2012, 10:36 AM
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I do use a clicker as well - forgot to mention that.

She is fine in the backyard. Walks nicely - doesn't pull. The problem is when there are new scents and distractions.

Charliethree - I will try that. thank you!
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeychick View Post
So Liberty has been to Basic Manners Class and she was excellent. So well behaved. She graduated from that a month or so ago. Now we are doing a Competitive Obedience Class. She is doing okay in that, not great, but getting by. She has become very stubborn! She is not listening and doesn't seem to be "bribed" by those yummy treats anymore. I've even tried cheese! She has a large variety of treats - at least 7 or 8 different types, so I don't think she's bored with the treats.

My problem lately is with walking her. She's become a pulling machine. I had been using a Gentle Leader with her and she was doing great. But the trainer we are working with for the Competitive Obedience class says that is just a bandaid. I tend to agree since it's not really teaching her anything. So we've been working with just a regular flat collar and a 6" leash. She wasn't too bad at first with the pulling, but instead of getting better, she's getting worse. She is distracted so easily and I can't even tempt her with treats. Today she nearly pulled my arm off when a squirrel ran past. I told her to "leave it" to "sit" and she wouldn't do either. I'm trying to do what the trainer told me to do which is if she pulls, turn around and pull her the other direction. Show her who is in charge. Well, I do this, but she is still constantly pulling. It takes us 40 minutes to go one block because we are constantly turning around and going back, then forward again. She just doesn't seem to be getting it. I thought by now (about 10 days of this) she'd realize that if she pulls, we are going the other way. I thought she was starting to get it, she was starting to walk better. But now, she's worse than ever. I'm so frustrated!! She goes for two 40 minute walks a day and play ball with her in the yard for 15-20 minutes a few times a day. She's never been a high energy dog - she's always been quite mellow. But maybe now she needs more exercise. Thoughts?
I am glad to know I'm not the only one having difficulty with pulling.
I think Liberty and our Phoebe (almost 8 mo) are about the same age. You would think that having THR last month would have slowed her down. She is feeling better and wants to GO!
In addition to the pinch/prong collar, we are supporting her with a sling when we walk.
The walks are brief. Mostly, to allow her to 'take care of business' and only in the backyard. Everything is a distraction! The grass, the wind, leaves, smells whatever you can imagine.
She is tired of confinement and would like nothing better than a period of full blown zoomies!
I'm trying really hard to curb her activities and keep her safe. Myself as well!

I do like CharlieThrees suggestions and will try to implement next trip outside.
I am not familiar with the clicker. Would that be something we could try now or would it be advisable to wait until she is cleared by surgeon?
She is dealing with an awful lot right now. Any thoughts?
BTW, Liberty is an absolutely stunning girl!

Dale
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njoyqd View Post
I do like CharlieThrees suggestions and will try to implement next trip outside.
I am not familiar with the clicker. Would that be something we could try now or would it be advisable to wait until she is cleared by surgeon?
She is dealing with an awful lot right now. Any thoughts?
BTW, Liberty is an absolutely stunning girl!

Dale
thank you Dale.

the clicker is a fairly cheap and easy tool. It just tells them that they are doing the right thing basically. So, you can buy them at any pet store. To start, just click and give a treat, click and treat. Then tell the dog a command like "sit" and when they do it you click and treat. You MUST click right when they do the action. Then the treat. It eventually marks when they have done the correct behaviour. Libs knows when the clicker comes out I mean business lol
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:02 PM
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Thanks so much. I did a search here and have read a few posts.
I don't think i could manage a clicker, the leash, the sling and treats right now!
She had completed 9 weeks ( 2 levels) of training before her hips went to hell in a hand basket at 6 months.
I'll keep at it.
D
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:34 PM
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It is hard to hold a leash, the clicker, the treats and stop her from pulling. Sometimes I get so caught up in concentrating on what I'm doing that I forget to click her or treat her lol

What happened to her hips?
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:17 PM
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There are a lot of different methods to teach loose-lead walking (which I distinguish from heeling). For Casper, we've got loose-lead walking on gentle leader, loose-lead walking on flat collar, and heeling on flat collar.

When going for a regular walk, I use the gentle leader on Casper. In the morning, he gets a *very* short loose-lead training walk on the flat collar. The reason I'm doing that is because he puts up with the gentle leader, but hates it. Maybe eventually he can have his regular walks on the flat collar. It will be a while before I teach him to heel on the flat collar. It's at least a couple more intro classes before we get to the Rally class where we need to do an official heel. And, for Casper, heeling will always be, I think, a two-minute exercise in the obedience ring. He's still young, we'll see.

I just finished reading a book, Bonding with Your Dog. The leash walking section starts with "Ah, leash walking. The most challenging, frustrating, potentially annoying behavior in the basic obedience handbook. ... The challenge is that it isn't easy to untrain a committed puller." And "It's unfortunate, but leash pulling has a fairly high relapse rate after training." Well, finally someone admits it. I have tried several different leash training methods. And given each of them a solid, good try. We don't have perfect walking, but we've managed to keep Casper from being a committed puller. At least this week. Now that most of the bunnies have gone into hibernation. Now he's faking me out on the bunnies. He used to take off after them the second he saw/smelled them. So we'd be a good distance away working on sit/stay. Now he trots nicely as close as he can get (no tip off to me), then whoosh! he's off. Somehow that seems like an improvement.

I did try the turn-around method. But I got dizzy. The method in "Click Your Way to Rally Obedience" worked for a long time for us when I was walking Casper on a Wonder Walker. I tied the leash to my waist. (Might not work for a committed puller.) Then I had one hand for the clicker and one hand for the treat. And it also prevented me from using the leash for corrections. On the flat collar, I'm using the method from the Bonding book, which is basically that when the leash gets tight, you stop, wait for the dog to turn back and look at you, then click and treat at your side. The idea is for the dog to turn around as soon as he feels pressure. So far so good, but we only go around the block. And there is still work to do so that he figures out not to just run to the end of the leash, then pull, turn around, and get the treat.
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