5 Months: Jumping, Lunging, and grabbing arm - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-17-2019, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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5 Months: Jumping, Lunging, and grabbing arm

Stuart (very high energy/gets bored easily) has started Lunging more lately on walks and when excited.

Grabbing my arm and clothes part: I think he does this to get my attention (grabbing my arm). I am doing the stand like a tree with my arms cross up high until he calms down.

Walking issue: If my Wife gets in front us he will pull very hard to get caught up with her, he wants to be in front of her.

Walking alone is not issues on a simple short leash or the retractable. Only when I walking with someone or in an excitable public place, aka downtown with people making eye contact and talking to him. I have try No Pet vest with no luck, people still do it.

I have develop a medical condition with my right arm from falling on the stairs landing on the upper arm. The arm will not heal up because Stuart keeps pulling on the leash in a lunging motion. I just re-injury again tonight. I try to remember to use my left arm which has rebuilt wrist, falling apart here.

My concerns beside arm injury is Stuart hurting him self with the collar when pulling so hard.

I am currently using the Control Collar from Petco thinking this will keep Stuart from hurting himself but give me control: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcos...-collar-in-red

Is a Prong collar advisable and safer then the current collar, or will this stage pass quickly.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-17-2019, 10:13 PM
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I would not be using a retractable leash, especially with a young dog that you are still training - I prefer a 6 foot leash or less for plenty of control. Sounds like he gets super-amped on social walks - I have/have had dogs like this . First, obedience training, with LOTS of self-control exercises (stays, leave its, a touch to hand to help him refocus, etc.) - great age to practice. The more self-control he can start to practice the better. Bring treats on all social walks - you are training the entire time on each one as these are tough for him. Second, have you tried actually giving him some exercise BEFORE the social walk? Depends on the puppy, but some almost need to get the edge off when they are displaying the type of behavior you are describing. A few ball rolls n the yard? Third, perhaps bring a toy to place in his mouth when he's getting too excited instead of an arm? This sounds like retriever mouthiness...takes some patience before it gets better. Finally, have you tried a harness, like the Balance harness? While I like to train a dog to walk nicely on a collar, I realize a young dog still needs walks before their manners are fully developed and for that, I will sometimes use a harness, to minimize pressure on the neck. I would not use a harness that restricts shoulder movement, though - look for one of those recommended by Dr. Chris Zink, for example.

Also, if you are really struggling physically, can another family member or even a well-vetted and trusted dog walker do some of the heavy lifting so that you can heal?

Best of luck!

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Orion https://www.k9data.com/pedigree.asp?ID=114323 (always in my heart 7/13/03-11/30/17)

Last edited by Rion05; 03-17-2019 at 10:24 PM.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 08:40 AM
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Are you enrolled in obedience classes with Stuart? These issues are mitigated with obedience training and proper exercise. It really is time and training, he's still a big puppy.

I strongly agree with the above advice about retractable leashes, Stuart should not be on one at this point. They are a major safety hazard and with a big strong dog who is unruly they are a recipe for disaster. I know of too many stories where the line snaps, or the line wraps around someone's finger or ankle and causes an incredibly deep cut. Also know of a girl who lost an eye when the line snapped, and multiple stories of dogs getting hit by cars when the owner mishandled the safety catch. Stuart is not a good candidate for one at this stage of his training.

A prong collar is an obedience tool that is perfectly safe when properly fitted by an experienced person and used correctly by the handler. However, it's unfair to use it on a puppy if he has not been formally trained with consistent attention to leash manners. I will say that if you have had him in classes and been working with him on proper leash manners on a consistent basis it is better to use the collar then to risk further permanent injury to yourself.

I suggest that your wife walk Stuart and work on his leash manners so that you are not at risk. Eye contact, speaking to him, rewarding good behavior and keeping attention with treats are all part of that approach. A good trainer can help with this and is worth every penny if you're not attending classes. A firm, no nonsense approach to the arm biting is needed. That needs to stop immediately, he's playing but it's not acceptable.

You may want to take a look at exactly what kind of exercise routine you have for Stuart. He has hit the age of needing more work than he did as a puppy. A minimum of 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise that leaves him tired and panting every single day will help him with his self control. He needs the outlet to be a good dog. Things like formal retrieving, swimming, kicking a soccer ball around, play dates with a nice young dog of a similar size and energy level so they can play tag and wrestle, off leash hikes in a safe location. It's difficult to exercise a dog this age without a plan. I am afraid leash walks are not sufficient exercise for young dogs. Mental work is also helpful, training new tricks, obedience skills etc., fun games in the house can also challenge him and make him a bit more controllable.

It's a process, and it will be for the next year or so. Be sure to put your own safety as a priority. That is key.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 11:19 AM
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We used a pronged collar on Moe. He is the first puppy we've needed to use one with, but it made a world of difference immediately. We do have a professional trainer, field trainer. He normally checks in on our puppies every other week in the first couple of months we have them to make sure our training is going correctly. He wasn't happy with how Moe was responding on a leash and he wanted us to correct it. Moe is a very high energy pup. He is also the fastest Golden we've ever owned.

We did a ton of letting Moe walk out on the leash (6 foot) and then, with the pronged collar on, making him follow the commands HERE (with a slight tug of the leash) then HEAL to get him by our side and SIT to have him sit nicely facing the direction we were walking. It didn't take any time at all and he had it down. We did it alternating sides for him to heal at the left or right side, but that's more for field work. We did it three to four times a day for about 20 minutes a session at 4/5 months old. The only time we would do a quick tug is if he didn't immediately turn to face us and start to come on the HERE command. We did this never leaving our yard. I want to make clear it is not a snatch, just a quick little tug and release.

I don't think I would have ever been comfortable doing this without hands on instruction. We also had to buy different sized pronged collars between 4 and 7 months of age, and add/take away links. You have to make sure it is fitted properly. The sizes of the prongs are different between the small, med, and large collars. We started with the smallest prongs and then as he grew we went to medium. The prongs on ours were also covered with little rubber tips.

Doing all of this also saved us a month of expense and time when he went to stay with our trainer for some of his more formal field training. He was a full month ahead of all the other puppies going at that time.

One other note is that Moe is pretty head strong and has had to be crate rested a lot due to some ortho issues. We ended up having to use the prong collar to keep him at a slow paced walk in the beginning of his rehab. We don't need it now at all, but he definitely knew if he had it on or not. If he didn't he was willing to try us a little. I think it's a tool, but it's not a replacement for hours and hours of training.

If you put the time and attention in now you will never regret it. Moe is 11 months old this week and we just returned from a trip to the campground at Disney. Tons of people and distractions and we had a perfectly behaved puppy on a standard collar and leash. He also doesn't require a leash in a safe environment.

I also can't agree more with the comment about exercise. I don't think people understand how much exercise these pups need. Our rehab program for Moe is four 40 minute walks a day, now two 30 minute free exercise times (off leash running around), and many other exercises, and this is a REHAB program from one of the leading Rehab Specialists on the East Coast. We are hoping we can go back to our training schedule after our visit next week.

A good puppy is a tired puppy. If you don't think so crate rest an 8 month old field golden for a month.... shew!!!

It will get better with a little work. Best of luck!
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 12:05 PM
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Hi there,

First, this isn't a stage: it's a training issue and it won't pass on its own - you have to put in the time to train proper leash walking. And second, the prong collar isn't a good idea for a puppy, period, and it's not something you can just use like that in any case. If ever you do use it, you need to have it fitted by someone who knows what they're doing, and more importantly, you need to be trained in how to use one. In the Canadian province where I live, prong collars are not illegal, but they are on the list of training tools that can lead to cruelty charges if they are not used properly. And third, the advice to ditch the retractable leash is spot on. In addition to the dangers they present, retractable leashes actually teach dogs to pull.

Having said that: I feel your pain and sympathize with you. I have severe arthritis and I know how difficult and painful it can be to walk a dog that pulls. Walks are supposed to be fun for everyone, including the human portion of the equation, but it's hard to enjoy an activity when you're being dragged around by 50 lbs or more of undisciplined adolescent dog.

In your post you don't mention training. As Nolefan said, the problems you describe are improved drastically by formal training. If you're not already enrolled in a good basic obedience class, my first suggestion would be to do so. Look for a class that teaches humans how to train dogs, and that uses positive methods. And when you start the classes, make sure you do your homework. I figure we did at least two hours of practice at home for every hour of class - and probably more for the more difficult exercises like loose-leash walking. As well as showing you how to train your dog, the classes will change your relationship with him, from one where he does basically as he likes, to one where he does what you want. This will help with the grabbing and biting, but it won't cure it. If my dog was grabbing and biting me, I wouldn't just stand there, I'd command him to lie down and would keep him down for a short while by stepping on the leash if necessary. If you just stand there like a tree, he's able to keep up the behaviour for as long as he wants without a consequence, and he only gives it up when he's had enough. If you want to signal that the behaviour is unacceptable, you need to get him to do stop the behaviour immediately, on your terms, and replace it with a behaviour that's acceptable to you. In other words, you need to be in charge, instead of letting him be in charge.

For the loose leash walking, the system that's worked for me over the years is this: fill your pockets with kibble - feed your dog his meals like this - and set off on a walk. At first, feed the kibble constantly, one piece at a time, to keep the dog by your side on a loose leash. If he pulls (tightens the leash), do a 180 degree turn, keep walking and reward him with a piece of kibble when he catches up. The first few times you might not even get out of your driveway, because your dog has developed the habit of pulling. But gradually, with this method, he'll get used to walking next to you. Once you're getting in a few paces before the 180 degree turn, you can start spacing out the kibble a bit. You should walk quickly and be very upbeat - make it into a game. Talk all the time. Make yourself more interesting than anything else in the environment. Don't ever wait for the dog. When you do the 180 turn, it should be quick, and you should keep walking at the same fast pace so he has to run to catch up. Add in some brief (20-second) training sessions by giving stopping occasionally to give a short series of commands (sit-down-sit, stand-sit-down, spin-sit-heel, etc.) and reward generously. At the end of a half-hour walk, both you and the dog should be exhausted!

Once a dog has learned to pull, it isn't a quick fix. You may have to do the kibble thing for a period of months, gradually spacing out the pieces of kibble until you're only feeding occasionally during your walk. And you have to be consistent, and never allow him to pull. But it does work. My Golden is from performance lines and is full of life and energy, but last year, when I had a total knee replacement, I was able to take him out for a half-mile walk in our neighbourhood just four weeks after the operation. I was still using a cane outdoors and wasn't very steady on my feet (to say the least), but I was 100% confident that my dog wouldn't pull or lunge or do anything that might hurt me - and I was right. He was a great walking buddy throughout my convalescence. Those early months of intensive training paid off.

As for the lunging at people, my suggestion would be to stop all greetings during walks. You have to be strict with people you meet - tell them he's in training and he can't be petted, and leave. And teach your dog a "focus" command. At home, have him look at you - I use "watch me" as my command. I start by rewarding the dog when he looks at me on his own (I use a clicker for this, so he knows exactly what is being rewarded). Then, when he starts doing it more, to get the treat, I add in the "watch me" command. It didn't take long: he quickly learned to look at me in response to the command. Once he was doing this reliably at home, I started using the command outside. These days, when I say "watch me", he will look at me even if there are squirrels to be chased, or if we meet other dogs during our walks, and so on.

These are the things that have helped me over the years. As Rion suggested earlier, one thing you could try right away, until the training starts to work, is a front-clip harness. Choose one that doesn't restrict the dog's shoulder movement. Many dogs pull less on a harness than on a collar.

Goldens are terrific dogs, but they are big, strong dogs that were bred to work, and they are difficult as adolescents. Formal training isn't an option, as it is with some breeds: with a golden, it's essential if you want a pleasant walking companion. Best of luck, and I hope things improve for you!


Ruby 13-01-2007 to 18-03-2015.
My dog of a lifetime. I'll miss you forever.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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We are in obedience classes he is learning quick, very quick, getting ready to start the next level. My wife did not want to enroll in the next level, but I insisted we keep at it.

I will get my wife to walk him when he is to excited, to give my arm some down time to heal.

Exercise, we are walking 1 to 1.5 miles a day with no issues with no body else on the road with us in the country. He is very high energy.

I can walk him loose leash by my self with short leash. He gets excited with visitors at the house and on the street when he sees other people.

I think I will have my brother come over daily around lunch. I will leave some training treats on the porch and let my brother have him sit before he comes in. Try that with different visitors. Maybe the same thing on the streets.

Meanwhile I will hire a professional trainer to help me with the sidewalk walks in crowded areas. Stuarts loves people and being petted.

My last Golden was somewhat like this but not to this extreme, she grew out of the pet me stage.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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I switch to using my left hand for loose leash walk, this is helping my right arm to heal. Stuart does have a no pet vest in public now, this only works on some people.

Finally got the jumping and lunging under control using treats, we are doing 4 to 5 walks a day. He sits as soon as I stop walking, and watches me closely. I give him a lot of good boys between treats.

We will try some downtown training Tuesday night after Obedience class. We start the second obedience class Tuesday, we just completed the first puppy class. This second class will focus on leash and attention focus exercises.

I might still hire a trainer to go with me downtown to see if we keep train Stuart not to be to excited downtown. Meanwhile we are headed to Atlanta to pick up my camper this Saturday, I think this will be very excitable for him.
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arm grabbing , jumping , lunging

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