Will it get any better? - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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Will it get any better?

Our Paisley is 14 weeks now and we are struggling with walking on a leash. She is such an intelligent and well-behaved pup, but she just doesn't seem to want to walk much. She is fine with the leash in general, but she puts on the breaks when we try to walk anywhere. She will generally just stop or try pulling the other direction.

We've tried many things: treats, toys, excited tones and praise, walking at different times of the day and night. Our local pet store suggested a head lead, but she just flails around when we try putting it on her which seems to make the situation worse. She is our first pup so I'm not quite sure what is normal for this age. Any help or feedback would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 10:40 PM
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Clicker training! It is life changing! The down side is it is awkward to hold the clicker, treats and leash - but worth it.

To prime Paisley, click-treat, repeat, repeat, repeat. You know you've got it when Paisley hears the click and looks for the treat. Make the treats very small and do this on an empty stomach.
Then ask for a behavior she knows, such as sit. As soon as she sits, click and treat. The treat must be given immediately. Move onto other behaviors she knows, just for reinforcement.
Banker sits to get his leash on, a pet peeve of mine. Rather than heel, I use "let's go." As soon as he moves, click, treat. Every couple of steps, click and treat. It makes the walks slow, but successful. With successful practice for several weeks, gradually start increasing the numbers for the reward.
Banker loved to walk on my right side, but I prefer him on my left, so "left" became a command. We added "slow" and eventually moved to "heel."

Hang in there. She is still a baby.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 10:45 PM
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When she puts on the brakes, just keep walking. Assuming you're bigger than her, she will have no choice to follow. Never go back to your dog when she stops, and never carry her.

The head halter was a disaster for us too. She just jumped around desperately trying to get it off. Some dogs have suffered neck / spinal injuries from those things. I guess they work for some dogs......

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 10:47 PM
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Also, watch this short video. It's pretty good.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 10:50 PM
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Will it get any better?

We use the Gentle Leader but I have to say it's become a crutch. I have not worked with loose leash walking as much as I should. I will have more time when my class is over in December so I'm hoping to wean myself from it. She doesn't mind it but it is hard to get her to cooperate if she doesn't want to. Once you get the hang of using it then it's not too bad, even if you get no cooperation.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 11:02 PM
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BajaOk gave great advice.... My suggestion was going to be to put her kibble in a bag and instead of dumping it in a bowl, hand feed her a meal on your walk. A bit of kibble every step or two. It will be tedious at first, but it will quickly sink in. And hang in there, she is a baby and it will pass.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-10-2012, 01:34 AM
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She's 3 and a half months old, she's a baby! Give her time, she'll grow up way too fast.

Max still grabs the leash sometimes when we walk - I tell him to take me for a walk and he will sort of trot beside me with the leash looped in his mouth, looking like he's the king of the world. And it makes me smile.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-10-2012, 05:50 AM
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Also, let her drag the leash in the house, and lead her to meals and fun things she wants anyway.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-10-2012, 06:54 AM
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Shadow went through this phase. We switched from a collar to a harness and brought lots of treats. When he would stop, we'd turn our backs to him and after about 30 seconds or so, he'd get bored and come walk with us (though we'd have to do this several times a walk).

Now at nearly 5 months old, he readily goes for a walk - well, most of the time.
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